Margaret’s Last Christmas Wish

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ByLyle Dillabough

Margaret read the lines over and over again. She couldn't believe it but there they were. Words written by her beloved brother Bill. It was just a simple Christmas card. It contained but a few lines that one would normally expect to receive at this time of year. Nothing unusual in itself except for the date that appeared on the top left hand corner of the card.It read: December 17, 1938.

Margaret's fingers stroked the card over and over again and she wondered. How could it be that after all of this time this should come to her now? For the card just came in the mail yesterday.

Yet here it was, 70 plus years after it was mailed, the card had reached its ultimate destination. So many questions. So many answers to be sought. How? Why? When?

Bill (mother never called him Bill, "his name is William" she would say) disappeared more then 75 years ago and was never heard from again. Something that has haunted her all of these years. Whatever happened to her younger brother Bill? How could he just disappear and why would he? Was he killed? Was he angry at something she or someone else in the family had said or did? Why?!

As children the two were nearly inseparable and those joyous days spent growing up together were wonderful times that Margaret treasured always.She remembered the day father took him to the train so he could seek his adventure and possible fortune in the U.S. She recalled just how afraid and heartbroken she was to see him go. And his big smile and famous 'last wave' is as fresh in her mind as if it had happened only yesterday.

At first there were the letters from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and eventually New York City. The last one was posted marked Bangor, Maine. Then nothing after that. The date on the final letter was August 26, 1938.

In those letters, Bill had talked about his prospects, the landscape, the people he had met along the way, the desperate times' brought on by the depression and of course;…his dreams.
Bill had always been a dreamer…And now here was this card postmarked Lakeport, New York dated Dec.17, 1938. It was as if Bill had been making his way back. As if he were coming home.

"I miss you more then you could possibly know Margy!" He had written."Not a day goes by that I don't think of you, mother and…dad." Over the years, inquiries were made, private investigators hired and from time even psychics consulted. But Bill was never found. He had
vanished without a trace. Maybe he didn't want to be found? (she sometimes thought) Maybe he never wanted to see her again? (and it was that thought which had tortured her the most throughout the years)

Now, as she sat there on Christmas Eve, Margaret began to realize that her last remaining wish on this earth was being granted. In her 98th year and resigned to be here in this nursing home, there was nothing left to do or resolve in life but to solve the mystery of whatever had
become of her brother Bill. Perhaps she might never really know. But as the sounds of angels began to fill her room and a steady glow illuminated everything, she could see once again the face of her beloved brother. And he appeared just the same as he did so long ago. In days when two children would run through fields of green and across winter lands of white. With the
sound of their laughter echoing across the valley and the sensation that time itself would drag on forever. And of course it would. Just as it should and ever will be. For love, like time will never end. Just as the bond between Margaret and Bill will never end nor could, or ever would, be broken.