June 4, 2015.
Anna couldn’t stop smiling. Even at the ripe age of 76, she still danced at the thought of seeing her only daughter come back from war. After all, her daughter Ruby was all she had left. Anna had lost her husband Daniel to cancer, and she was the only one in her family who lived in the states. For the past 28 years, it was her and ruby versus the world.
Tomorrow would mark her daughter’s last day of service after 3 years overseas. She grabbed her cane and slowly walked outside. Today was the first Monday of the month, which meant that a letter from her daughter would be waiting inside her mailbox. She opened her mailbox, and saw a letter decorated with the words “for mom”.
Anna could barely contain her excitement. She went inside, and rushed to her hazel colored rocking chair. With a smile on her face, and a half-broken pair of reading glasses, she opened the envelope and unfolded the letter.
“Hi mom. I’m sorry I couldn’t write you last month. Things have been really hectic here. I lost a few friends… I’m trying my best to stay optimistic, but it’s hard to smile after losing people you love. They were really good people. I really wished you could’ve met them! Anyways, the food here still sucks. All we get is bland mashed potatoes and chicken that doesn’t even taste like chicken. I miss your meatloaf. I miss your “world-famous” scrambled eggs. I miss your freshly squeezed orange juice and your slightly burnt pancakes. But you know what? I’ll get to taste them again real soon!
It’s my last week here in Iran, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ll get to go home next week and give you the biggest hug I’ve ever given! Hahaha I really miss you mom. I hope you haven’t forgotten me! Love you loads!
Anna’s smile widened. She tucked the letter back in the envelope and fetched her notepad. Ever since she was 4, Anna has been writing down the most important events of her life. Next to the event was the date, followed by the emotion she felt that day. She called it her “memory notepad.” She scrolled through the pages and read some of her posts.
“I put my tooth under my pilow last nigth and it turnd into one dolar! Thank you tooth fairy! – December 29, 1945 (Very very very happy)”
“I turned 9 today! Watch out world! – July 13, 1948 (brave, adventurous)”
“I’m starting my first day of high school! I hope I make lots of friends! – December 2, 1954 (Determined)”
“I graduated with honors! Thank you coffee! – March 11, 1960 (Proud, ecstatic)”
“I got married today! – August 4, 1963 (Overjoyed)”
“I think I’m pregnant – May 1, 1986 (Scared, Nervous, Excited)”
“I went to the doctors, it’s a girl! – September 13, 1986 (Extremely Excited!!!!)”
“Ruby is born, she’s beautiful! – January 2, 1987 (Happy, blessed)”
“I haven’t slept in 3 days. Raising a baby is hard work! – August 14, 1987 (Tired, Sleepy)”
“It’s Ruby’s first birthday! Daniel dressed up as her favorite animal! – January 2, 1987 (Happy)”
“Daniel hasn’t been feeling very well lately – March 13, 1987 (Worried, anxious)”
“We went to the doctors. They diagnosed Daniel with cancer – June 28, 1987 (Scared)”
“The chemotherapy isn’t helping. We decide to stop treatment – February 3, 1989 (powerless)”
“I lost my husband today – August 22, 1989 (Depressed, lonely, sad)”
“It’s Ruby’s third birthday. She keeps asking where her dad is – January 2, 1990 (helpless)”
Anna stopped looking. She sat there quiet, staring at her dusty notepad. She turned to the newest page and wrote down:
“My Ruby is coming home tomorrow! – June 4, 2015 (Overjoyed, Grateful)”
She closed the notepad and put it next to the letter from Ruby.
June 5, 2015.
It was June 5. The day Anna would get to see her daughter. Anna grabbed her cane and slowly walked downstairs. She put on her apron and started mixing up pancake batter and eggs. She took out a bag full of oranges and started making orange juice. Anna couldn’t wait to eat breakfast again with her daughter. It was the only thing this 76 year old woman had to look forward to. Ruby was the calcium in her bones, and the wood that made up her cane.
Just before she finished making breakfast, the phone rang. Anna stopped what she was doing and rushed to the phone.
“Hello?” Anna said, wondering who it was that called her.
As the phone call progressed, Anna’s neutral smile slowly turned into a disappointed frown. Her hands trembled and her eyes turned moist. The light in her eyes became dim.
Anna hung up the phone and grabbed her notepad. She wrote down one last entry.
“I got a phone call today – June 5, 2015 (Sad, very sad)”