Learning to Tell Time

By Cathy Luna

April 9, 2018

Learning to Tell Time

Corpus Christi, Texas: February 1, 1969 

It will always be eighty degrees in Corpus and I will always be six when the telegram comes. For me, this day will always have passed as if it were any other. I will always be inside in the air conditioning, coloring or playing with my sisters when the dark sedan pulls up to the curb and the base commander and the chaplain get out. My beautiful 27 year-old mother will always be crouched out front, in short shorts and a bright blue Del Mar College t-shirt, weeding her phlox and her yellow lantana. The stiff men in their uniforms will always pause before they ask her, "Are you the mother of Captain Donald Luna's children?" as if she might be the babysitter or a friend. My mother will always feel rage boil up inside of her, a mother's anger and perhaps an ex-wife's, too. My mother will never call her three daughters into the living room, sit us down, show us the telegram. We will always be too small. She will not tell us she believes that our father is dead. She will tell us, "They lost him," and I will believe he can be found.

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