Sophie was stunned. She was returned from deployment on a submarine for six months, her heart filled with stories to share with her Mom, Stella. But all that waited for her was silent walls, and not the homecoming she expected.
Sophie’s Mom Stella was gone, holding her tongue she had said nothing to Sophie about her terminal diagnosis fearing holding Sophie back from the most exciting opportunity in her naval career.
Sophie stood silent, unmoving in her apartment except for the racking of her lungs as she tried to breath from the tears. “Mom, I would not have gone, I would have been there, I love you, I need you” and her tears ran, and her heart broke with shock and it felt like she was knifed in the heart. The wound cut deep.
Sophie sat on the floor until the darkness forced her to her feet to turn on a light.
Sophie held in her hands volumes of letters that her Mom had written her, and mailed her. Wonderful gifts from her Mom, conversations from her Mom. The letters, sometimes two a day, were priceless – the last conversations and they were warm, and encouraging, even understanding how Sophie would be saddened and enraged. But Stella was gone, and it was non negotiable.
After the shaking subsided, and the tea had been replaced with something stronger – Sophie started to breath. She understood the why, her Mom was selfless, and the deployment had meant promotion and recognition by the naval brass for her only daughter. Sophie was proud of her achievements, and so was her Mom – but now it seemed so empty, a flat victory.
Rain fell against the window, and it seemed right some how.
Sophie sat in her blue sedan, in the rain, car idling and window open so she could look out the window. She was looking intently for Luke, the caretaker for her Mom those last days. Sophie wanted to thank him but she was also looking for something else.
The letters from Star, her Mom didn’t share that nickname often, indicated Luke was more than a male nurse, he loved her Mom, and her Mom loved him.
Sophie didn’t have any family now, and what she felt, what she needed, was hard to put into words but she was drawn, pulled invisibly to someone else who loved her Mom, that she could share the burden she carried.
Sophie knew that Luke knew her Mom’s laugh, her smile, and Sophie wanted to remember those intangibles with him. If the letters from Star were true, and she bet they were, Luke was someone special. They already had a connection. Luke loved Star like her.
Suddenly in the haze of the rain she saw the blink blink of a red bike light. Maybe it was this Luke, the one her Mom called with love in her letters, Skywalker.
A warmth in her heart told her it was him, but she hesitated still.