Matt pulls the truck into their driveway.
“Meanwhile, back at the ranch and home on the range….” She chuckles.
Matt looks over at her. “You sure are different, Missy. That coma seems to have done well by you. You woke up a new person. Way happier.”
Got that right. “Denver makes you a new person, too. Way happier.” Matt looks at her sharply. Too sharply for the innocence of the remark, she thinks. “If you like it there so much, why don’t we move there?”
“Can’t leave my parents.” He sighs at her puzzled expression. “You don’t remember why, huh?” When she shakes her head, he sighs again. “You notice that picture of me at my mom and dad’s place? The one picture in the whole house?”
Missy nods as she vaguely recalls a picture of a handsome, younger version of Matt on the mantle.
“That wasn’t me. That was my twin brother Jason.”
Missy stares at him.
“He didn’t come home from Afghanistan. Alive, anyway.”
Missy takes his hand.
“And they also lost a baby so many years ago, a girl. Crib death.”
Missy kisses his hand.
“I can’t leave them, too. It’s been killin’ ’em that we haven’t had kids. Can’t leave ’em. Just can’t.”
That night Matt tells her a bit about his tour in Afghanistan. He saw the accident that killed his brother and several friends. A plane was taking off from the runway and the cargo items hadn’t been secured properly. Not long after takeoff and not high up, the cargo items slipped backward and the plane’s center of gravity shifted. The plane lurched into a stall the pilot didn’t have time and space enough to recover from, and then it crashed. The man who’d been responsible for securing the cargo committed suicide about a month after the accident.
Matt stares out the window, flashing through his memories for a few moments.
“You all can’t seem to get through this life here without a whole lot of pain,” Missy comments, unaware of what she’s saying as she’s lost in her thoughts. She’s growing quite impressed with these beings.
Matt looks at her for a minute before he says anything and interrupts her reverie. “We all? You’ve had yer share, too.”
“Oh, yes, of course I have,” she quickly says to cover over her last statement. “Just wish I could remember some of it.”
“Maybe that’s a huge gift you got.”
“But who would you be without all that pain of yours? Aren’t you a better person from that? More compassionate? More understanding? Life doesn’t come without pain.”
“I guess.” He’s quiet for a bit. “Who the hell’d you meet in that coma of yours, Jesus?”
Oh, I met him long before this life.
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