"Sometimes the only comfort I had was that the packages kept coming." 2 friends war torn
The mail truck came only on Thursdays in our small town of Idle, Texas. I held their breath when I saw the weekly bunch of mail, wrapped in brown paper and tied or sealed with cheap twine or tape.
I heard my name called. "Alice Reddinng!" I would thank the mailman, take the stack, and retreat to the privacy of my house.
I wondered if, thousands of miles away, Jennifer was doing the same thing.
"Bill, bill, scam, yes!" I cried every time I saw her handwriting across an envelope. 'Jennifer Long' was harshly scrawled across the border.
"Penny!" I scooped up my puppy, the package, and my pile of take-out menus. Every Thursday night, this was our little ritual. Sit in my rundown little apartment, in our rundown little town, and have a conversation with pieces of paper. Smile as I ran my knife along the twine and pulled, snapping it apart.
I carefully unwrapped the paper, setting it on the top of the ever growing stack on my coffee table. The plain box top went on the floor, and I picked up my first gift. It was a simple sock monkey that read, "squeeze me" and when I did, it squeaked! Penny's attention was captured by this, and I knew that it would serve its purpose well. The second item was for me. It was a beautiful ink bottle, stained on the sides with the bright purple ink it contained.
I put it on the coffee table, in the box where I kept all of her gifts, and took the bundle of papers out of the newly empty box. I slowly unfolded them, and started to read.
"My dear friend Alice,
It is winter here. It makes many of the others worry, because it will become more dangerous and hard for the soldiers in the front lines to find shelter. I hope our newest family member likes her toy! I also hope that you enjoy your ink and use it to make something wonderful! As for me, I would love it if you can send over a photo of Penny and another set of pens. As you can see, these are running out of ink.
Have I ever told you how beautiful China is in winter? The cherry trees are losing their leafs, so the branches stick out like veins to the sky. It is also horrid, though. The blood from everyone's wounds is brightened by the snow, which only makes my friends' screams ring shrill in my head.
It's sad, but some of the others have started sneering at the wounded who are being sent home. They've been saying how they're not deserving of the medels they'll receive, and they're lucky because they get to relax with their families while we fight a war.
If I get sent home early, wounded, bleeding, don't for even a single second think I'm lucky. Everyone is exaggerating the actual fighting over here. It's mostly keeping the American territories safe and every now and then there'll be a group of Chinese soldiers who'll attack at the front. Where I'm positioned, I'm plenty safe.
Lots of love, Jennifer"