“I can’t believe it’s been a year.”
Sarah could only nod as she and Paul stared at the grave. It seemed like only yesterday that they had laid their grandfather to rest.
“Grandpa told the best stories,” Paul continued. “My favorites were his war stories. That man could weave a tale like no other.”
The tears fell down Sarah’s cheeks, dropping onto the ground that held their beloved grandfather.
“I wish I could hear them again,” Sarah said. Paul grabbed her hand and squeezed.
As they walked away, Sarah’s tears soaked into the ground as her wish was heard by the spirits around them.
* * * * *
Later that evening, Paul and Sarah relaxed by the fire. As she glanced outside the window, Sarah saw it was snowing.
“Look, Paul!” she said, rushing over to the window. She pressed her face to the glass and let the memories of her grandfather flood her thoughts.
“Do you remember the story Grandpa told us whenever it snowed? The one about Bastogne?” Sarah asked. She watched the smile spread across Paul’s face as he remembered.
“How could I forget? I never believed it. As crazy as he was, I couldn’t picture him building a snowman during the Battle of the Bulge.” Moving back to the sofa, Sarah couldn’t help but think of her grandfather and the story of Bastogne as she watched the snow fall outside. Drifting off to sleep, her thoughts were only of him.
* * * * *
Sarah awoke to a scene she couldn’t explain. She was in the woods. The ground and trees were covered in a winter wonderland of snow.
She knew it had to be a dream. She wasn’t cold, though she was lying in a foot of snow. She stood slowly and turned in a wide circle. There were only trees as far as the eye could see.
Sarah jumped at the voice and turned quickly to face it. Her hand shot up to her mouth.
“Grandpa?” she said, her voice shaking.
He stood before her, looking the exact same as he did the last time she saw him.
“It’s me, sweetie,” he said. Sarah ran into his arms.
“I don’t understand. How does this feel so real? It’s just a dream,” Sarah said, pulling away and smiling up at him.
“Is it?” he said with a wink. “Earlier, you wished to hear my stories again. I’m here to grant your wish.”
Sarah stared up at him. She didn’t care what was happening. This was the best dream she’d had in a long time.
“So you’re a genie now in the afterlife?” Sarah asked, giving him a sly grin. His laughter bellowed throughout the woods.
“Not quite, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.”
In an instant, the woods surrounding them filled with noise. Men were screaming as gunshots interrupted the peaceful silence. Sarah ducked down to the ground as her grandfather laughed.
“Don’t worry. You can’t get hurt. Come here and sit by me,” he said.
They nestled up together in front of a tree and watched the mayhem around them.
“So those tricks I was talking about,” he began. “I could tell you my stories but wouldn’t you rather see them for yourself?”
Sarah surveyed the scene around them and suddenly understood. The men were in uniform. It was snowing.
“We’re in Bastogne?” she asked.
Her grandfather smiled and pointed toward a spot in the woods. As the gunfire ceased and the wave of violence ended, Sarah watched a man emerge from a foxhole and drop to the ground. At first she thought he was hurt, but then she saw him do something that made her breath catch in her throat.
“It’s you,” she said, watching the man wave his arms and legs back and forth as other soldiers emerged from the foxhole to join him.
“We would play in the snow after each wave of fighting. It was the only thing that kept us sane,” he said.
Sarah leaned her head on her grandfather’s shoulder.
“I miss you,” she said.
“I miss you too, sweetie,” he said. “I’ll see you again soon.”
Sarah suddenly awoke back in her house, a chill running up her spine despite the warmth of the home. She shivered, pulling a blanket around her.
“You okay?” Paul asked, staring at her.
Sarah nodded and snuggled back down into the couch.
“Just a dream,” she said. “I think.”
Come hang at the Speakeasy!