How Could I Ever Forget You? – A Robert Morris Love Story
[ WARNING – Not one of my best stories, but the idea was bugging me and I had to do it. This may get a lil' Nicholas Sparks. You have been warned! LOL! Oh and I disclaim "Red Dawn" ]
Lilia, a Colorado fourty-five year old divorcee, is in the kitchen preparing a dinner as her two oldest children, Katrina, 20, and Jonathan, 21, had just come home from a college to spend a summer with her and her young daughter and their younger sister Reese,17. The three children were in the living room watching CNN as their mother was still cooking the risotto. After hearing a story about some other celeb's divorce, a story had come on that would change the rest of the night.
" In breaking news, a survivor from the 1984 war between a group of youths known as The Wolverines and the Russians was found alive this morning after being speculated to be dead."
Lilia, hearing the news reporter, dropped everything she was doing in the kitchen and ran into the living room. She grabbed the remote from Reese and turned up the volume.
" Mom!" Reese whined. Lilia hushed her daughter and listened on.
" We can't identify the survivor right now, but they are currently in a hospital in Colorado recovering." A picture of The Wolverines flashed on the screen and Lilia paused it. The remote fell out of her hands as she covered her mouth in shock. Her heart began to slowly stop beating and her body tingled.
" Mom are you ok?" Katrina asked seeing her mother's expression. Jonathan sprung up from the couch and held his mother's hand.
" Mom what is it?" he asked panicking.
" What's going on?" Reese asked sitting up. Lilia's eye swelled up and pointed to the screen to a girl with dark hair in a green coat and machine gun.
" That's….me," she admitted, " and he might be alive! Oh my god!" She buried her face in her hands as her children watched on in a mix of confusion and horror.
" Mom, calm down," Jonathan soothed his hysterical mother. Katrina got up and said," I'll fix dinner."
Reese said," Let's get her to her room." Jonathan nodded and took their mother to her bedroom. They set her down on her bed and she wailed," Please let me be." Her two kids nodded and walked out of their mom's room.
" Record CNN and have your laptop on you," Jonathan informed Reese," we need information."
About two hours later, Lilia had calmed down and stood up from her bed. She walked outside and called out," Katrina? Jonathan? Reese?"
" We're all going out on the patio!" Katrina called from the kitchen. Lilia sniffled and walked out on the patio. She smiled when she saw her small outside dining table all neatly decorated with the food she was supposed to prepare. Reese, Jonathan, and Katrina smiled at their mom.
" Oh, thank you!" Lilia beamed. As they sat her down and fixed her her red wine, dinner began.
" Mom," Reese began after a few minutes of eating," we were hoping you could explain to us about what happened back in 1984."
" The war with those Russians and their allies the Cubans," Jonathan added on," You were part of it?"
" And all this time I thought you hated guns," Katrina commented. Lilia smiled and figured her children were old enough to know their mommy's secret.
" Well," Lilia began with a little cough. She looked at her children feeling slightly uneasy from what was about to come out of her mouth. She knew there'd be a million questions on their minds and out of their mouths, but she also knew they'd be listening.
" When I was seventeen," Lilia finally managed to really begin her story," that war between that small town and the Russians had occurred. Did you kids ever heard about the small group of kids that fought against the Russians and Cubans in school?"
" Yeah The Wolverines," Katrina acknowledged. " We know the group, just no one knows who exactly were in involved."
" Like we don't know their names," Reese added. Lilia looked up at her children and said with a calm yet cool tone," You're looking at one of them."
The children were silent, dropping the food utensils. Jonathan was wide eyed while Katrina and Reese covered their mouths.
" Mom, you can't be," Jonathan said as he shook his head," I mean, I know you said so when you saw the picture on the tv, but I thought you were lying! I mean, you never let us play with guns. You never even let me play paintball with my friends!"
Lilia lowered her eyes to the floral table cloth and said," Go under my bed and look into the brown box. You'll see."
Katrina got up and left the table to retrieve the box while Reese looked at her mother in horror.
" You were my age?" Reese asked as her green eyes began to water. Lilia motioned her daughter to come hug her and Reese hugged her mother tightly while crying on her shirt. Reese then sat on her mother's lap and Lilia handed her a napkin. Reese wiped her eyes and by that time, Katrina had the box in hand.
She put the box down on the table and opened it. She covered her mouth once again and her eyes opened widely. She looked at the pictures of The Wolverines and of her mother. The uncanny resemblance between Katrina and Lilia was striking.
Jonathan went through the photos and shook his head. " No way," he muttered in disbelief.
" Did your parents die in the war when it happened?" Reese asked. Lilia nodded and said," That's why you only have your father's parents."
" Jesus Mom," Jonathan exclaimed in shock," you could hold a gun like a boss!" Lilia rolled her eyes and added," Yeah and I knew how to shoot really well. When you're in a cold war and have deadly men after you, you learn how to shoot really well."
Reese got off her mother's lap and looked through. It wasn't until Reese found a picture that would change the rest of the night.
" Who's he?" Reese asked. Lilia sat up and chuckled when she saw the picture Reese was holding.
It was a young Lilia and a boy with dirty blonde hair embracing in a kiss.
Lilia's eye began to water and she shook her head. " Robert Morris," she said softly under her breath.
" Who?" Jonathan asked.
" Robert Morris," Lilia stated half-smiling. The memories were flying back of her and Robert. " He was my boyfriend at the time."
" He was cute," Katrina commented. Jonathan rolled his eyes and Lilia giggled, covering her own smile.
" He was," Lilia said with a nod," he was my world. My childhood friend, my best friend, my first crush, my first boyfriend, and my first love."
Katrina and Reese smiled and Jonathan tried not to smile, but couldn't help it.
" He and I were inseparable," Lilia commented sitting back down, still looking at the picture. " God, I remember when the Russians and Cubans first attacked in my History class. Oh….Robert pulled me aside against the wall when the shots fired. He then took my hand and…oh god."
Lilia bit her lip and pursed a small smile, reminiscing the words Robert had said out loud.
" ' Hold on and never let go ' ," Lilia repeated out loud as she could hear Robert saying it in her head. She shut her eyes and all of a sudden, she was there. The students running out with screams, Robert holding on to her hand and leading her out with everyone else. She could see them get into the back of Jed's truck and Robert hold her down so she wouldn't be seen.
She opened her eyes and she saw her three kids looking back at her. Lilia sighed and went on," Eventually, our friends Jed and Matt Eckhart, Daryl, Aardvark, and Danny all hid out in the woods. We would go to this old couples house time to time in the early stages of the war, which is where we met the two other girls in the picture, Toni and Erica."
" How long did you all live out in the woods fighting?" Reese asked. Lilia shrugged and sighed.
" I honestly don't know Reese," she replied taking a sip of her wine.
" Did you and Robert sleep together?" Katrina asked. Jonathan whipped his head to Katrina and gave her a disgusted look.
" I don't wanna hear about that shit!" Jonathan exclaimed. Reese and Katrina looked at their mother interested in if that was true. Lilia smiled to herself, going back to the night she and Robert both gave each other the greatest gift they could ever give each other.
" That," Lilia responded with a large grin," is for you two to wonder and never find out."
Katrina smiled and Jonathan asked," How many survived?"
Lilia turned serious again and tried to go back. She shook her head and answered," Just Erica and I. Everyone one else was killed."
" Even Robert?" Reese asked. Lilia eyes began to water again and she said," Even Robert. God, I remember that. It still haunts to this day. He and I were shooting at some guerilla helicopter and we thought we had won."
" Then what?" Jonathan asked.
" Then, it came back. That helicopter turned right around back to Robert and I and Robert pushed me behind a rock and all of sudden, he just disappeared.. Just hering those helicopter bullets just…"
Lilia buried her face in her hands and Katrina walked over comforting her mother. Reese and Jonathan lowered their eyes and Lilia wiped her tears.
" Erica and I were discovered by some American army troops and were rewarded with some medal. She and I both agreed to keep what had happened private and so I went to live with my aunt and uncle, went to college, and here I am."
She looks at her kids and smile. " I look at you three and pray to God that if something ever happens to you three, you have the strength to fight back."
Her children smile back at her and Reese asks," Do you ever think about him?"
Lilia smiled back and said," Every goddamn day."
Lilia and her children finished their dinner and all slept in the same bed that night with their survivor mother.
The next morning, Katrina had been the first one to wake up. She sat in the kitchen with her coffee, looking through the photos in the brown box. She looked at the picture of her mother and Robert and how happy they were.
" You still looking through that thing?" Reese asked walking in the kitchen. Katrina smiled and said," These are incredible."
Reese made her cup and said," Mom was like a bad-ass Juliet." Katrina and Reese chuckled at Reese's remark and then heard a doorbell ring.
Both girls walked to the front door and Katrina opened it. Standing there was someone from the S.W.A.T. team. Reese's eyes went wide and Katrina asked," C-can I help you?"
" Is Lilia Montgomery home? " the man asked. Jonathan, appearing out of nowhere, asked," What do you want?"
" Jonathan!" Reese snapped. The man half-smiled and assured," It's ok, I just would like to speak with her."
Lilia walked out her bedroom wearing her white robe and a messy ponytail. She looked at the S.W.A.T. man and then at her children.
" What's going on?" she asked.
" Lilia Montgomery," the S.W.A.T. man began with a smile," we found a former Wolverine who would like to speak with you. He was found yesterday."
" Who is it?" Lilia asked.
" Robert Morris."
The next thing Lilia and her children knew, they were dressed and in a limo provided by the S.W.A.T. man. Lilia felt her heart pound and Jonathan took her hand.
" It's gonna be ok Mom," he comforted. Katrina felt her eyes swell up and Reese smiled.
" He's really alive," Reese muttered in disbelief.
They arrived at their local Colorado hospital and Lilia and her kids walked behind the S.W.A.T. man.
That's when a woman with shoulder length red-brown hair and brown eyes appeared and Lilia hugged her tightly.
" Oh Lilia!" the woman beamed,'' as soon as I heard he was here, I had to reach you!"
" Great to see you Erica," Lilia said with a smile. The children watched as the S.W.A.T. man opened the door for Lilia and she looked at her children.
" Well go!" Reese exclaimed. Lilia smiled and walked in.
He lied there, all cleaned up, and years older but still looked the same. They smiled at each other and Lilia felt her body tingle inside.
" Lilia Montgomery," Robert Morris said with a smile.
" Oh Robert!" Lilia beamed a single tear rolling down her eye. The children and Erica watched from behind.
Lilia bent down and hugged Robert tightly and he said," I'm surprised you remember me after all this time."
She looked at him, cupped her hands on his face, and said," How could I ever forget you?"