Let’s Get Together
This story is in response to Ann Carr’s challenge several months ago.
John walked up to the front door and rang the bell. There was no answer, so he walked around to the back, enjoying the warm and sunny spring day. In the back garden was his petite aunt sitting standing with her head in her hands.
He hurried up to the porch and said, “Aunt Judy, Are you okay?”
She looked up with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh John, It is so good to see you.”
“Aunt Judy, what’s wrong?” John looked at the dark circles under her hazel colored eyes, and he noted her light brown hair pulled back from her face was streaked with more gray.
He sat for a minute waiting for his aunt to speak. She was the aunt he stayed with in the summers as a child and now, the only relative he had left.
As a marine he had survived 3 tours in Afghanistan and wondered how he was sitting here when both of his parents died in an automobile accident last year while traveling to Florida.
Aunt Judy looked at John, who was 6’ tall, broad shouldered with dark blond hair in a typical military haircut. She said, “John, do you realize I haven’t heard from Jason in 2 years.”
“No, you told me you worried that Jason was getting into drugs when he was in college.” John closed his blue eyes for a moment and wondered what was coming next.
Aunt Judy continued, “Jason was in his senior year, getting a degree in computer technology when he dropped out of college. He came home for a while, but I was mad at him because he dropped out when he was so close to graduation.”
John said, “I can understand why you think he could be in some kind of trouble. So, he just packed up and left?”
Sharing the News
Yes, and I have no idea where, plus he hasn’t called just to let me know he is okay. I wish I could change that last conversation we had.”
John was wondering what he should say to help. “Aunt Judy, what can I do to help?” John’s eyes teared up as he said, “I will do anything for you. Just tell me what I need to do.”
His aunt looked up and said, “Would you see if you can find Jason? I will give you the names of some of his friends and maybe someone will know what had happened to him.”
“Sure, I can do that, but why are you feeling so upset now?”
Aunt Judy’s eyes teared up again, “John, I have pancreatic cancer, and I only have from 3-6 months to live.”
John’s shoulders slumped as he finally said, “Oh Aunt Sally, I am so sorry.” Then John lifted his head and looked into his aunt’s eyes with tears running down his cheeks also.
First Step to Find Jason
He left the house about an hour later with a list of the names of Jason’s friends with their phone numbers. As he got into his car he called his friend, Sean, a friend who was a whiz kid on the computer.
He headed to Sean’s house, and they sat in Sean’s office looking at a large array of computer equipment. “This is impressive Sean; it so much more then you had in high school.”
“Well John, this business pays well,” said Sean with a big smile that revealed his dimples and perfect teeth.
Sean said, “First, we will search social media for Jason, then his friends. If that doesn’t turn up any leads, I can hack the database of criminal justice to see if Jason has had any run-ins with the law.”
“Sounds good,” said John.
About an hour and half later Sean said, “I don’t know where Jason is, but his friend Matt had some communication with Jason a couple months ago. He was picked up a year ago for a minor drug offense, but he got off with a fine.”
“Thanks so much, Sean,” John said as he walked out of the door.
Interviews with Jason's Friends
He arrived at the apartment where Matt lived, and rang the bell. A tall man with tattoos up and down both arms, and with long brown hair answered.
“Are you Matt?”
“Yea, what do you want? Can I talk to you for a few minutes about your friend Jason?”
“Yea, I guess. Come on in. Are you related to Jason?,” asked Matt.
John followed Matt’s lanky body into the messy living room. “Yes, can we sit down here in your living room?”
“Sure, what do you want man?”
“I want to find Jason or at least know if he is okay.”
“Yea, I guess.”
“Come on Matt, where is Jason. Is he okay or is he strung out on drugs?”
“No, He got straight about 6 months ago. He said he was going to join the U.S. Marines a couple months back, but I don’t know if he did.”
John looked surprised and said, “Really?”
“Yea, that’s what he said.”
“What caused him to get straight?”
“Oh, I don’t know. He told me his girlfriend, Wendy, broke up with him. Man, he was messed up. He said he knew he was wasting his life and wanted to do something good.”
“Where was he living at the time you talked to him?”
Matt said, “He was living with Wendy, but she kicked him out; then, I don’t know.” They talked a few more minutes.
“Okay Matt, thanks for the information.”
John walked out and and got into his car. He pondered the talk with Matt, and he decided to try to talk with this Wendy. Matt said she worked at the Bounty Diner.
He only knew to look for a petite, long-haired blond. He hoped she was wearing a name tag if she was working. He walked up to the door, scanning the people in the diner. He saw a petite blond with long hair in a ponytail talking with a customer.
John walked in and sat at the counter where he was greeted by a different, but friendly waitress. John greeting the waitress and said “I’ll have a cup of black coffee.“
When the coffee arrived John said, “Thank you. Would you ask Wendy if she has a few minutes I would like to speak with her?”
Wendy walked toward him about 10 minutes later with a suspicious look on her face. “What do you what?” she said in a soft, tight voice.
John looked her in eye and said, “I need some information about Jason. I am a relative and home on leave for a short time.”
“I haven’t seen Jason lately,” Wendy replied.
“Do you know how to get in touch with him?”
“I have his phone number if it hasn’t changed. We broke up, so I don’t know much.”
John said, “Okay, but can you tell me what happened before you broke up?”
Wendy faced the floor and paused. “I have work to do and don’t have time for this.”
“I don’t want to take much of your time. Could you tell me if he is using drugs?”
“He really liked to party, and yes, he used drugs, mostly pot. I broke up with him about 6 months ago because he wanted to party all the time. I just couldn’t take it.”
John, in a more sympathetic voice, said, “I can understand that. Is there any chance he joined the military?”
“I’m not sure, but he did talk about joining the U.S. Marines,” she said in a mocking voice.
“Listen, that’s all I know, and I have to get back to work.” She handed him a paper with a phone number. “Sure thing. Thank you.” John put some money on the counter and left. Once in his car he called the number, but got no answer. Next, he called Sean.
“Can you find out if Jason Andrew Donaldson has joined the Marines in the past 3-4 months?”
“Sure, I’ll call you when I have something,”
John was in his apartment when the phone rang.
Sean said, “I have good news for you.”
John replied, “ I sure appreciate all your help.”
“Anytime man, anytime,” said Sean.
John had an idea and headed back to Aunt Judy’s house.
The door opened immediate after his knock. Aunt Judy looked at John with a questioning look.
John came in smiling and gave his aunt a big hug. “Aunt Judy, I believe Jason is doing fine. He will graduate from 13 weeks of basic training in the U.S. Marines on Friday.”
“Oh my gosh, you can’t do drugs when you are in basic training for the Marines, can you?” Aunt Judy said while dancing with glee.
John laughed and told his aunt what he found out. “You don’t have time to do anything but survive in those 13 weeks. Aunt Judy, let’s go to that graduation on Friday. It is not that far away. Do you feel well enough to go if I drive?”
“Absolutely! I want to set things right with Jason. I am proud of him.”
John sat down with a grin on his face. “Have your clothes packed in the morning, and we will head out.”
Aunt Judy was still smiling when John left her house a few hours later, anticipating the long overdue reunion with her son.
Celine Dion "Beautiful Boy"
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Pamela Oglesby