New Beginnings, Episode 4, Part 3
People always talk about where they were when they first heard about The Correspondent. She came out of nowhere and tried to make a difference. Some saw her as a beacon of hope, others as a sign of how far down the slope we had come. I never paid attention to all of that. I was too busy. Too busy working to pay my bills, too busy trying to figure out life. I was seventeen when it started. I was The Correspondent. This is my story.
The room was the same. My dad wasn’t moving, wasn’t doing anything. My mom was sitting holding his hand. I sat opposite my mom and held his other hand. He was warm. We sat in silence both locked in our own memories.
I thought of my first day of school. My dad had gone to open the store but met us at the school when my mom dropped me off. He had grabbed a handful of bubble gum, the kind I liked, from the store. As he handed them to me my mom said, “She’s not supposed to have gum.” My dad winked at me and stuffed them in the back pocket of my backpack.
That became our ritual. The first day of school every year he had filled the back pocket of my backpack with gum. It was the bright pink almost rock hard gum that you had to suck on before you could chew it. I loved it. I remembered the disappointment when I had opened my backpack my first day of college and there hadn’t been any gum. And there would never be.
I looked over at my mom. She was staring at me.
“What?” I said, voice rough from swallowed sobs.
“Did you open your package?”
Really, mom! I thought. Why was she bringing this up now. This was not the place to have this conversation. I kept staring at her.
“It was your dad’s idea,” she said, squeezing dad’s hand, “He knew what you were doing before I did.”
“When he was in recovery from the gunshot he said, ‘Does she think I can’t hear her sneak out?’”, my mom laughed at the memory, “I was shocked. I had no idea. I don’t think I believed what you were doing until you told me.”
I couldn’t talk. I thought I had been so slick, hiding my comings and goings. I shook my head and started laughing. That was just like my dad, he would keep my secret if he thought it needed to be kept. My mom joined me, both of us looking like fools, laughing while tears streamed down our cheeks.
“I did open it, but I think you already knew,” I said.
“Acme Hero sent me an email when it was activated.”
“Are you going to start again?”
“I think so.”
We spent the rest of the evening talking about what my costume should look like, what gadgets I should get. It was nice to sit together as a family one last time.
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Dylan Reed has always been interested in a good story. Raised without a TV he spent a lot of time with books and loves reading. Dylan has been a professional entertainer, studied commercial diving, and loves random trivia. He brings all of this and more together in his stories.