Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IM’s, etc) (11/04/10)
TITLE: Living Virtually
By Patricia Protzman
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Mark and Jean Wilhelm, Maggie’s in-laws, accompanied her to Dulles Airport to meet David’s military flight from Iraq. Jean found a seat and extended her hands, “Let me hold him, dear.”
His mother gently unclenched the pudgy fist to let her dark lock escape and placed him in his grandmother’s lap. Mark smiled and turned his attention to a sports magazine; Maggie settled into a chair across from them and stared at the window. Hypnotized by the whirling snow her thoughts drifted back to the events of the past twelve months.
Last December, she and David celebrated their third Christmas and New Year’s together as husband and wife. Maggie’s heart warmed at the recollection of David’s broad grin and deep voice as he sang Christmas carols. Her damp eyes closed; a quiver ran through her at the memory of his warm lips and strong arms.
Four weeks later, he returned to Iraq. Maggie trusted God to keep him safe but remained anxious and worried. The surge in the war had increased the number of casualties. A feeling of doom weighed down her spirit.
Upon his return, David found a webcam added to their computer to enable the men to hear and see their families. One night, two months later she told him, “I’m pregnant.”
“Are you sure, Maggie, we’ve tried for two years. Maybe you’re mistaken.”
“Nope, it’s a sure thing. I saw the obstetrician today; September 25 is our due date, Daddy.”
David whooped and shouted, “Hey guys, I’m gonna be a father!”
The other soldiers from his unit gathered around to congratulate him and Maggie.
“David, do you still want to name the baby Jason David or Elizabeth Ann?”
“Yeah, I like both names, don’t you?”
“They’re beautiful names.”
Forced back into reality by Jason’s whimpers, Maggie handed Jean a warm bottle from the diaper bag. He gulped the milk while Maggie returned to her memories.
The day of Jason's birth, Mark and Jean emailed their son with the happy news. They brought a copy of his response to Maggie who memorized the contents.
“Maggie, my love, I have prayed for you and the baby for months. I’m thankful to God for his mercies. It’s hard to believe we have a son. No word has come yet when I can go home. I can’t wait to hold you both. Take care of yourself and Jason David and let me know when you get home from the hospital. I love you both, David.”
In a few days, David spoke to his wife and saw his son, Jason, for the first time.
“Hi Babe, I love you. I miss you. Do you feel okay?”
“I love you too, honey. I feel fine. Well, here is your son, Jason David. What do you think of him?” Maggie held Jason close to the webcam.
“Except for the dark hair, he’s the spitting image of my baby picture.”
“Your mother said the same thing.” Maggie chuckled.
“Oh Maggie, I forget to tell you. I heard from my superior commander. I can’t come home until Christmas, that’s three more months.”
“Three months, why do you have to wait so long?”
“We have a project to finish,I have no choice.”
Maggie knew what “project” meant, more fighting.
The months passed at a snail’s pace. Ten days ago, David gave her the good news. He would be home in a week.
“Babe, I can’t wait until I hold you again. I love you both.”
“Jason and I love you, too, darling. We’ll be waiting for you.”
She received one final email and then...
An announcement interrupted her thoughts, “Flight M875 has arrived.”
Mark touched Maggie’s arm, “David’s plane is here.”
Her hand trembled as she placed the knitted cap on her son’s dark head and lifted him from Jean’s lap. Maggie caressed him, “Son, your father is home.”
Mark held open the door for Maggie and Jean. The three of them shuffled through the snow toward the airplane. Maggie clutched her precious bundle close to her as they approached a flag-draped coffin. Tears mingled with snowflakes. She placed her hand on the casket and whispered, “David, my love. Jason and I are here.”
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