***Attention!!!*** This post contains spoilers about my story A Christmas Alone. To find this story, click here.
I sit at Evelyn’s kitchen table with her beside me and open my laptop.
“What are you doing?”
I say nothing, but after a moment, Corporal Nesbit’s face appears. “I wanted to interview you both.”
Folding her arms, she huffs.
He nods to us both. “Thank you for allowing me to take part in this. Hello, Evelyn.”
“Evelyn, you seem upset with the corporal. Why is that?”
“Because he’s a liar, that’s why.” She rolls her eyes.
“I didn’t lie, Evelyn.” His voice is soft. “I’m not saying anyone has to believe me, but I won’t say I lied when I didn’t.”
“Sir, you have to admit that your story sounds unbelievable. What do you have to say to Evelyn, or others, who might not believe it’s validity?”
“I say that I can understand that, and if I hadn’t been there I might not believe it either. It did happen, though. I imagine people had a hard time believing it when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire unharmed too.” He laughs. “God seems to like to deal in the hard to believe.”
“What about the people who feel it was rude for you to tell her your story when she’d lost someone?”
“I’d kindly point out that I’ve lost people too, but that doesn’t make me any less thankful for being here and anymore likely to stop telling people what God has done for me.”
“Why do you preach? Every single time I talk to you it’s God this, and God that. Don’t you care about anything else?” She says.
“I guess you call it preaching and I call it talking about what I’m passionate about.”
“To Evelyn’s point, though, you do seem to keep talking about this when she clearly isn’t interested. Why is that?”
His eyebrows slowly raise and his eyes gently roll from side to side. “With all due respect, ma’am, you asked me. I haven’t talked about anything I haven’t been questioned about or given permission to. I don’t want to shove my will down anyone’s throat. God doesn’t even do that and He’s the only one who sits high enough to.”
“Did my mother put you up to this?”
He sits silently.
“What she said.”
Taking a deep breath, he scratches his head. “She said you were struggling when she sent me your first letter and that you had lost the light of life.”
“Why did her mom contact you, specifically?”
He shrugs. “I can’t honestly say that, ma’am. Other than she’d maybe heard my story and hoped I and Evelyn could be useful to each other.”
She scoffs, repeating his words. “How would I be of use to you?”
“It helped me a lot to know someone back home knows my story and was thinking of me. Even if only for a little while.”
“Do you not talk to your family?”
“No, ma’am. Not really.”
“Why, do they know you’re a liar too?”
“They’re mad I survived.”
The moment the words leave his mouth, his eyes widen in panic, but he seems to realize he had indeed spoken out loud.
“What do you mean?”
He looks at his hands, hesitating. “The buddy I told you about, wasn’t just my friend, he was my identical twin brother. He was the good twin and I’m not. I’m the screw up who forgets his gun the second he gets scared.”
Her posture uncoils as she leans a bit closer to the screen. “Why didn’t you mention that before?”
“You know that ache each time you say your husband’s name?”
“I still have that when I admit it was my brother. It makes the story harder to tell, so I don’t say who he was.”
The pair falls silent and I notice a wave of small bumps roll up Evelyn’s exposed arm.
“Final question and this one is for you Evelyn. When the corporal is stateside again, do you think you’d like to meet him, in person?”
A single tear rolls down her cheek. “I think I might.”