Emily Lam

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Almost Everything

[I'm not a writer. But I am an imaginer with a wicked imagination. And sometimes I can't help but jot down some of the random stories that cross my mind. And often, I will forget about these stories. The stories at the forefront of my mind are usually the grand epic adventures, the escapist ones. But looking through my files on my computer this morning, I came across this very short story and I like it. I don't remember ever writing this story so for all I know I could have copied and pasted it from the internet. But that's unlikely. From the date of the file creation, this story was also probably the first thing I wrote on this laptop, precollege. All my other stories from my last laptop are on a flash drive. So from the mind of emily on August 14th, 2010: "Almost Everything."]

Kurt read the tombstone one last time before walking toward his family: R.I.P. Elaine Guardfield 1915 – 2010.

"Father, tell them the story of Lily, Lily White." Katrina said to her father.

Kurt nodded in agreement.

"Lily White or White Lily as she later became known was a very dear friend of mine. She was an orphan. And by some miraculous fate, she was adopted into a military family at the same base my father was stationed. We basically grew up together since I was an only child and she was the first companion I had that was the same age as me. We fought invisible pirates together, attended school together, survived the awkward teenage years together, and when we were of age, joined the army together. She was very intelligent, the smartest person I knew, and advanced quickly, becoming one of the militaries best nurses in a span of two years. I, on the other hand, advanced very slowly. But even when I failed to run the laps as fast as the rest of the men and shot bullets with awful aim, she supported my efforts in one day becoming a lieutenant. She even whipped some sense into me and convinced a then chicken me to ask Elaine out. And then one day, after I had become a successful lieutenant, after I married Elaine, but before your mother was born . . .

There was a knock on the door.

I remember the day clearly. Elaine had peered out the window to see a man in uniform and mumbled, 'What does the military want with you. You're on your vacation, honeymoon.'
I shrugged, and walked to open the door. 'Admiral,' I saluted with complete military bearing.
'Lieutenant Guardfield,' the Admiral said, returning the salute. 'A fellow officer has died in battle yesterday and left all her possession to you.'
'Sir, are you sure?' I had said dumbfounded, who would leave me all her possessions?
'Yes sir,' the Admiral pulled out a will, 'Lily White has left you everything that was hers.'
I was speechless. I couldn't believe his words. Lily White. I never expected Lily to die before me. She was the one who was always there. I remember completely losing my military bearing and not being able to talk. I crumbled into myself. Thank goodness for Elaine, she continued the conversation with the Admiral."

"Gramps, you loved her."  Vanessa said in awe. "Didn't you?"
Kurt chuckled to himself in a deep low hearty laugh and blinked away his tears. "You're Gram said something similar."
"Well!" Jeffery demanded, "Did you?"
Noah didn't say anything but Kurt could tell his eldest grandson was just as interested in his answer. His daughter, accompanied by her husband, walked over to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Go on," she whispered.
Kurt closed his eyes and held back tears as he recalled his conversation with his then newlywed wife.

'You love her, don't you?' Elaine asked with a tinge of jealously.
'I don't know,' I admitted, lifting my head from her shoulder, blotting tears from my eyes with the sleeve of my shirt. 'I don't think I do. I feel so overwhelmed, Elaine. I loved my parents. And when they died, I cried, but I didn't feel like this. And I've seen men and women I've come to respect and befriend die in war but again I didn't feel the way as I do now. It's like I've lost a part of me, like a part of me has died. I loved her like I loved myself." I laughed, a meek forced laugh. "The irony that is life. Lily left me everything that was hers and I feel as though everything of me has been lost. No, not everything. Almost everything, I still have you.'

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