(*TO MY DEAREST JOHNNY, ON THE NIGHT OUR JOHNNY JR. WAS CONCEIVED IN LOVE..)
I crumpled to the floor, the pain within the depths of my soul, forgotten, the moment I picked up my grandmother's mementos.
I carefully undid the ribbons that were wrapped around the letters and began to read...
The gin from earlier that night was strong on my breath, but all that was left as I gasped all the remaining air in, sharply.
A blush crept up my neck and across my face, as I realized I had found the last mementos, love letters, photographs and dried roses; my grandparents would have ever sent to one another, from that time that surrounded World War II..
Partly, because of what was said in the letters and that I knew my grandfather was to never make it back from the war; each love letter was more meaningful and beautiful than the last..
In the letters you could almost see as the miles and her grandparents grew further apart, due to the blood and frenzy of World War II..
Faintly, I could almost hear the sound of jazz and laughter and smell cigarette smoke..
As my Grandpa spoke of the dance where they had met and fell in love, almost from the first moment they looked upon each other..
My grandfather spoke of the bouquet of baby roses my grandmother had worn around her wrist that night at the dance..
All the jewelry a girl those days could afford.. As well as a blush colored, dainty Velvet Ribbon around my grandmother's neck that matched the blushing glow of her cheeks and her baby roses decorating her wrist..his memories so vivid in the letters, I felt like I was there watching them fall in love and all that was left, other than those letters, were the dried roses I now held ever so carefully in my hands.
As I glanced over each letter from the first, my eyes stopped on the last one.
The last letter, that sorrowfully stated my grandfather Johnny (my grandmother called him) Jonathon Harrow, was to come home from the war WE had won;(as his part was done but HE himself had lost)in a cardboard box with his ashes.
The box was wrapped in his dog tags and an apologetic form letter, announcing his death..
My eyes bleary with tears, as I'm sure my grandmother's were at the time.."we are sorry to inform you.. Jonathon Harrow, hero, was lost Dec 10th 1943 serving his country".. ect ECT..
As the tears crept down my chin I caught sight of a perfectly calligraphied letter never sent.
In feminine swirls my grandmother's handwriting read "To my beloved Johnny on the night Our Johnny Junior was conceived in love"
My cheeks were burning as I read this passionately romantic letter, my eyes darting back and forth from the pictures of my handsome grandfather, pictures of my grandmother so beautiful and young.. pictures of her while pregnant and pictures of her with my father, so tiny and swaddled at her breast.
I read, never looking away for a moment (unless to look at the pictures)from beginning to end..
I read of their fairytale, their star-crossed lovers tale and how through love my father was made..
All the passion that night and how they vowed themselves to each other forever, not knowing that forever was that night and for that night only.. That night and her memories, along with their son; my father, that is.
I finally understood what my grandmother meant when she spoke of love, contented and love that had lit a blaze in her that could've burned the world to mere ash.
I got up, the gin that had been on my breath, grown stale and tasteless..
It was now hours later and my head was aching a bit but my heart was aching a bit less..
I smoothed the wrinkles in my dress, brushed out my hair and saw the day clear again, with my eyes full of a new perspective. .