Peyton was sitting in her dimly lit room. She was thinking about the intense soccer game that she had coming up. There was a slight knock coming from the other room. She crawled out of her bed and slowly made her way to the front door. “Who could that be,” she thought as she stood next to her mother and slowly opened the door. An overwhelming feeling came over Payton as her worst fear became a reality. Three men in uniforms stood outside their door. The uniforms that she knew all too well. She was filled with devastation. Everything went silent as she listened to the men talk. Their words cut right through her, as she tried to hold her tears back. All she heard was… Missing in Action.
Peyton lay curled up in a ball on her bed. She was unable to shed any more tears. She lost track of how long she had been crying. She felt empty, and all she wanted was for that hole to be filled. Her mother had made a photo book of their family before her father was deployed. She was slowly studying each picture, as she was remembering all the joyful memories that came with them. Her favorite was the family camping trip that they went on only 6 months ago. It was the happiest two days of her life. That night she fell asleep, thinking about the memories that had always brought her joy but had somehow now also brought her sadness.
The next day she woke up knowing that she did not want to face the world. She rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. After laying there for a while, she dragged herself to the kitchen. She slowly searched the cupboards and the fridge to try to anything that looked appealing.
“Cereal, nope. Eggs nope. Muffins nope. Pancakes nope. This train of thought continued as she also started to realize that she didn’t really feel up to eating. She grabbed her favorite blanket and the bear that her father gave her when she was 4 years old and crawled onto the couch. After settling in on the couch, her mother entered the room and sat down next to Peyton.
“Sweetheart how are you doing?” asked her loving mother
“Ok, I just wish that dad was here.”
“I know sweetheart, I do to” She whispered as she pulled her daughter into a hug.
They talked for a while, then her mother grunted as she told her daughter that she had to go. Peyton knew that her mother had no choice but to go. After seeing how brave her mother was, she also got up and got ready for school. She knew that her Father would want her to go. He always told her that she was stronger and braver than she thought.
It had been almost three weeks since they got the painstaking news. But Payton refused to give up on the hope, that her father was going to come home to her. He was her best friend and she refused to think otherwise.