Show and Tell
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A/N: This is unbeta'd. All grammer, spelling and plot errors are mine and mine alone.
Lisa stared down at the box she'd tucked into her desk that morning. Mrs. Hanrahan had reminded her the previous day that it would be her turn for show and tell and she ought to be prepared for it. The eight year old shifted nervously, her Nana had packed up the shoebox of odds and ends for her, digging through old boxes full of mementos of children who had grown up and moved away years before. Photos of family barbecues, an old soccer medal from Lisa's very first soccer team two years ago, two thin black jewelery cases that had been taken from Nana's living room mantel. And a folded piece of multi-colored fabric buried underneath it all.
"Lisa, if you'd like to show us what you brought today? Come on up here sweetheart." Elise Hanrahan was a nice woman with white hair and a warm smile. She waved the blond child forward, indicating that she needed to come up to the front and give her presentation.
Dragging her feet slightly, she marched to the front of the room and set the shoebox on the first empty desk. Pulling off the lid, she pulled out a large framed picture. It was a year ld, and had Nana smiling broadly, surrounded by her children. "I am going to share some stuff from my family. Nana adopted all of us because she never got to have her own kids, so even though none of us are related we're still family." Lisa told the giggling class of her peers. This is a picture of our last family reunion, when all of us got together to celebrate Nana's birthday." She pointed at a picture of a freckled red haired woman. "This is my sister Caroline, she is a teacher and is getting married next year." A lanky dark skinned man with a wide bright smile, "This is Alec, he works for a law firm now, but he used to to computer stuff for a bunch of different companies." The next were a pair of brunette twins. "These are Alice and Bryce. They're twins. Alice is a dancer and Bryce is some kind of a bouncer I think, he doesn't really talk about his job." she pointed at a tall scruffy looking blond man in glasses. "This is Jake, he was in the Army. And this guy here is Carlos, he worked with Jake but isn't really one of Nana's kids, she met him when he was too old to adopt. But he sort of lived with us too."
The photo was passed around the room so everyone could gawk at it. She took the slim boxes out and carefully opened them, holding them up so they could be easily seen. "These are special medals that Uncle Jake and Carlos were given while they fought in Iraq. Nana says they are Silver Stars, and very special. You can't touch them but if you guys want you can come look at them a little later. Nana told me that Jake and Carlos got these because they were heroes and saved a lot of people from some bad men." The medals were set beside the photograph, and the last item, was removed.
Mrs. Hanrahan inhaled sharply but didn't say anything as her student continued. "This is the flag that the United States Army gave Nana when Uncle Jake died while fighting to protect all of us. They wouldn't let her have Carlos' flag but he got one too." She sniffed slightly and looked around the room at her classmates. "I brought these in to show all of you because Uncle Jake and Carlos were my heroes. I miss them very much and just wanted to tell all of you that they died for us." she looked over at the teacher, her blue eyes sad but dry. "I'm done now Mrs. Hanrahan."
The elderly teacher made a decision to call Jenna Anderson as soon as she could and offer her sympathies. "Lisa dear, can I ask you when that happened?"
Lisa frowned slightly. "You mean when did they die? April 23rd, but Nana wasn't told until June 8th. Why?"
Elise closed her eyes. Dear God in heaven do not let this little girl be talking about those poor boys from Bolivia. She had seen the footage of the burning crash site on one of the news websites and it had been horrifying. The helicopter crash had burned slowly and hot from the fuel and none of the bodies recovered had been able to be visually identified. Just a chopper filled with blackened skeletons.
"Thank you dear, everyone give Lisa a round of applause for her presentation."
That evening, Lisa took eveything out of the box and put it back on the big mantelpiece. The large photo returned to its place on the wall, each of little black boxes closed and set in front of the two photos that sat on the mantel. Jacob Jensen and Carlos Alverez, dressed in their blue formal uniforms, standing in front of a flag. Traditional photos for military people. The flag was set between the two frames and the clean white wood suddenly looked much darker.
""I miss them Nana." Lisa said quietly, as the elderly woman rocked in her favorite chair.
"I do too baby girl. Every day."
"Do you think they can still see me?"
"I think so, those boys wouldn't miss one of your soccer games for the world. Do you remember when they showed up, still in their uniforms? Boy's hadn't stopped to eat or shower, just rushed to make it in time to watch your team with the championships."
Lisa pulled out the soccer medal and stared at it. It was the one thing she hadn't shared with her class. She'd never lost a game so long as her uncles were there to see her. Her tiny fist tightened around the cold metal, causing it to bite into her palms. "I'm not gonna lose Nana. I'm not gonna let those Marigolds beat us next week. I'm going to make Uncle Jay and Carlos proud of me." She turned and ran outside, grabbing her soccer cleats as she did so.
Jenna sighed and looked up from her knitting to the pair of somber photographs. Her boys. "Baby girl they will always be proud of you."
And she could swear the two pictures were suddenly looking very, very smug.