Kim Kaswell was about to start her first year in law school, when she met him. The only problem: he was in the army. She fell head over heels for the first time and he was deploying. Kim didn't want him to leave, but it was his job. He promised to return to her and when he did, he intended on marrying her. He wrote Kim all the time. The letters kept going back and forth. All of a sudden, the letters stop. He was no longer replying to her letters. A soldier came knocking on her front door, "Ma'am, are you Ms. Kimberly Kaswell?" Tears filled her eyes, "Yes."
The man stepped forward and extended his hand for Kim to shake, "I am Sgt. Thompson, I was Ryan King's commanding officer. Oh, Ryan never said you were ex-"
Kim realized the soldier has the letters she'd written to Ryan for the last two months, "how was he supposed to know if you have the letter that tells him."
He handed her the letters she had written to Ryan recently, "I'm sorry to inform you, ma'am, Private King was killed in-" Kim leaned against the wall, every other word that came from his mouth never made it to Kim's ear. She dropped her letters and closed the door. The soldier walked away as Kim started crying. Kim had never been one to cry, but she couldn't stop.
Kim was called into Parker's office. He handed her a paper with an address, "You should give your dad a visit." Kim rolled her eyes and went to the address. Kim drove up to a mansion, how can her father afford something like this? He was just a janitor besides the only time he called her was for money. When puts the car in park, a little boy comes running from the side of the house. Kim walked up to the door and knocked, her father came outside and looked around. Kim felt it was a little suspicious. As he father was explaining that he got busted living here and the CEO of the company he sued had now called the police for him living in his house, the little boy came running around again with a football in his hands. "Who's kid is that?"
Her dad stopped talking, and looked around again, "You said you live here alone, who's the kid? Where's his parents?"
He leaned in towards Kim, "One of the parents are dead, I'm just watching the kid for his mom." Kim thought her dad was being strange but decided to take on the case when the CEO of the company chose to take her father to court.
Kim was in so much pain, "Son of a bitch!" She was pushing so hard her face was red and the little vain on her forehead was popping out.
The doctor looked up at Kim, "One more big push." Kim took a deep breathe and pushed, and the doctor said, "Congratulations, it's a boy!" The doctor put the baby in Kim's arms and she looked into his eyes and saw Ryan.
She started crying and passed the baby back to the doctor, "I can't do this. I can't do it by myself." Her dad said he would take care of everything, he would find the baby a good home. Kim asked that the family would not be a military family, she wouldn't want he son to experience what she felt when Ryan didn't come back home to her. Kim signed whatever her father asked her to sign and didnt bother to read what she was signing. She couldn't raise a baby that reminded her that Ryan was gone. She needed to move on and putting up her baby for adoption was the best option for both of them.
Once the case was won, Kim went to talk to he father, "Where's the kids mother? you don't bring a kid to a court room, you can't just tell her no?" Kim looked back at the kid, he looked so familiar. He reminded her of someone, but who?
Her dad realized who she was looking at, "He looks a lot like Ryan, but he's tough as nails like his mama." Kim couldn't breathe, she walked away from her dad.
Parker started walking next to her, "We did great in there." He started laughing, "That's what she said." He looked at Kim's face for a reaction but her face was stone cold and pale, "Kim? What's wrong?"
She kept walking trying to keep her composure, "Leave me alone, Parker."
Her father followed her out the building, "Kim!"
Kim stopped walking and turned around quickly, "You kept him? All these years you've been lying to me. Why? Why did you keep him?"
Kim's father walked closer to Kim, "Romeo knows I'm not his father. I told him Ryan di-"
Kim interrupted, "Stop! You- That's not your story to tell! You have no right to tell my son anything, let alone keep him. You said you would take care of everything, you said he would go to a good, stable family. There is nothing stable about you." Her father looked disappointed, "Why do you look so sad? Did you really think I was going to be ecstatic that you kept my son and lied to me. You- I'm done. Just go, take him and leave me alone."
Her father looked back, Romeo was looking out the window, "Do you want to meet him? I told him he was going to meet his mom today. I know it wasn't my place, but I figured I would stop lying to you and give him what he's been longing for."
Kim was furious, "You told him he was going to meet me? Do you have a serious mental illness? What do I even say to him? Hey sorry about not being in your life for the last 8 years, but I thought about your big brown eyes evey single day since the day I gave birth to you. Or should I say, Hey I'm your mother, I tried to give you up but your grandpa had other plans, and well here you are looking exactly like your dad which melts my heart of stone."
Her father scoffed at her remarks, "Kim, he's your son. Ryan can't be here for the kid, but you can."
"How dare you bring Ryan into this. Don't you think if Ryan was around, I would've kept him? He's Ryan's replica. I couldn't deal with it. I was a mess and crying myself to sleep every night. I couldn't care for a baby while I was in a depression. If Ryan was alive, I wouldn't have been in a depression."
"Do you want to meet him or not?"
Kim looked up at the window and walked away holding back tears. She knew she would regret this just as much as she regretted giving him up. She couldn't just waltz into his life like nothing happened. She missed so many years of his life already.
On Valentine's Day, Kim grabbed all of the letters Ryan had sent to her. She put them in order and stuck them into a photo album of all the pictures she had of Ryan. She looked for the letters she had sent to him that he was never able to read. When she found those, she stuck them in the back of the album. She thought that eventually her son would come looking for her and want to know about his father. She'd pull out the album and look through all the pictures with him. She'd laugh with him and tell him how Ryan was always making her laugh. She couldn't wait til that day. She stuck the album in the back of her closet so no one can take it away.
Kim Kaswell had officially become a lawyer, and already had a job lined up. She just rented the perfect apartment about 5 minutes away from the firm. She was excited to start the rest of her life. As she was packing the things in her closet she came across the photo album. She debated on whether should throw it away, but she was still waiting for the day her son would come looking for her. She decided to stop packing for a little while, and laid on her bed while reading the letters Ryan had written to her. He kept painting this beautiful picture of them sitting on the porch sipping lemonade while their kids played. Everything would be perfect.
She started crying when she read the names Ryan had come up with for their kids: Ryan Jr, Romeo, Kim Jr. and Kayla. She remembered telling him that she hated those names. She didn't like the idea of having Ryan and Kim Jr. but now that she thought about it, she would have all four of those kids with those names then have Ryan dead.
Kim was in her house, digging through her closet. "Ow. Dammit." She was getting hit left and right. She finally found it and pulled it out, "Thank you Lord." She brushed the dust off and laid on her bed. She carefully opened it and the letters were lying there. She opened each one and read every single word. She felt like heard Ryan saying those words to her. When she finished reading every letter Ryan had written to her, she flipped through the album looking at the pictures. Midway through the album she remembered why she had kept this album. Her son was finally looking for her, only he was closer than she thought. He was looking for her and she was turning him away. She closed the book and went looking for her dad. Kim ran out of the car and knocked on the door, her father opened, "Where is he?"
He smiled, "Romeo, come let me introduce you to your mother." Romeo came running from the hallway, Kim stood at the door smiling. Her father lead them to the couch, "I'll leave you two alone to catch up." Kim sat there looking at his brown eyes. They reminded her so much of Ryan.
Kim didn't know how to be gentle or a mom, but she had to break the silence, "Do you have any questions? I mean I'm sure you do but is there anything you want to get off your chest? Anything you want to know?"
Romeo shook his head, "Pops told me everything."
Kim looked at the hallway, "What did POPS tell you exactly?"
Romeo sat up, "He said you loved this army guy and the army guy loved you, but when he went to war he died and you felt so sad you couldn't take care of me. So Pops took me and took care of me so you can feel better."
Kim nodded and looked in her lap, "I brought this for you. It's all the letters from your dad to me and pictures of us. If you want to look at it, you don't have to. He opened the album and put the letters aside and looked at the pictures.
He pointed at Ryan in his army uniform, "That's my dad?"
Kim nodded, "mmhhmm, Private Ryan King."
Romeo smiled, "Cool. He looks like me."
Kim was holding back tears, "You look just like him." Romeo looked over at Kim and saw she was about to cry, so he hugged her. Kim was suprised by the hug but she wrapped her arms around him too. She didn't want to let go.
A Letter She Could Never Send
It's Christmas time, our baby boy is three. I want to tell you that we're ok but there's no we. I gave him to a good, stable couple that will raise him and take better care of him than I can. I'm sorry, Ryan. I'm so sorry. I know you would be so mad at me and disappointed. I messed up. I should've kept him. I should'nt have done that. I have a great life, but it feels so damn epty without you and him. I thought I couldn't handle raising him alone, but I can't handle being alone. I kept help but wondering how he's going to end up. I want to know if he has your personality. If he's going to play football like you did, I messed things up pretty good. Ryan, I wish you were here. I wish you and I were with him decorating the Christmas tree and singing those corny Christmas songs. I never pictured my life ending up like this. I knew you would've been a great dad. Ryan, I have to move passed this. I have to. I will always love you, but my life has to go on. Watch over our boy.
A Letter She Could Never Send
Thanks for watching over him, but I've got him now. He's perfect. He has your brown eyes. He's athletic just like you. He has a filter which is definately not like me. He's polite and sweet. He's your mini-me. The way he laughs, walks, and tell his jokes all remind me of you. Even though you're gone it still feels like you're here. His hugs make me feel secure. He asks me about you every now and then. I tell him all the ways I loved you. I tell him how he looks just like you. Even though it hurt that u passed away, my life is good now. I still wish you were here to watch him grow up, but we'll be okay. I love you, Ryan. Watch over us.