Hart loved the same man almost her entire life. When her husband Gary, a
Virginia Beach police officer, is killed in the line of duty, her whole world
is torn apart. One minute she’s drinking margaritas with her girlfriends, and
the next, she’s planning a funeral. Her two best friends, Vivian and Marietta,
wrap their love and friendship around her while doing their best to support
their husbands who were witnesses to the brutal murder of their friend and
colleague. They fight to keep their marriages together amidst depression,
guilt, grief, alcoholism, and PTSD. Through the enormity of the loss, they
discover the true strength of their friendship. With plenty of hugs, tears,
wine, and ice cream, the three friends navigate the complicated aftermath of
Gary’s death. Together they can handle anything.
by The Line That Binds.
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out of the walk-in closet holding a small wood box. “Hey, Ellie, I found
this on the shelf under his jeans.”
is it? I don’t recognize it.”
handed it to her. Eleanor set it on the dresser before flipping the top up.
Inside sat a miscellaneous collection of items. Eleanor picked up the photo off
the top of the pile. It was one of the two of them, Gary in uniform and Eleanor
pinning his badge to his chest. They both looked so young, so expectant and
happy for the future to come. She touched his face with her finger, wishing it
were really him. “This is at Gary’s academy graduation.”
never seen this one before.” Vivian took the photo and turned it over.
“Look, he wrote something on the back.”
the photo back to Eleanor. She turned it over and recognized Gary’s tight
script. He’d only written two words: My
held the photo to her heart. “He never came across as a romantic man but
maybe he really was.”
by the things he held onto, I’d say he was very romantic.” Marietta pushed
the box toward her. “Look.”
The next things she saw, the twins’ hospital bracelets from the day they were
born, brought moisture to her eyes. She thought she’d thrown those away. A
cocktail napkin from their favorite date night spot, a seashell painted with
the words St. Lucia from their honeymoon, the first pair of cufflinks she’d
ever given him. She’d found them at a tag sale. They weren’t worth anything but
the crystal blue stones had exactly matched the color of his eyes.
can’t believe he kept all these things.” Eleanor wiped at her eyes and
can,” Vivian said. “You were his whole world.”
now he’s gone and this is what I am left with.” Eleanor pushed the box
reached in and pulled out a pink hair tie. “But, what if that is why he
saved all these things? So, that if something ever did happen to him, you’d
know the things that were important to him and how much he loved you.”
Eleanor took the hair tie from Marietta. “I used to wear that all the time
when the twins were babies. They liked to yank my hair so I kept it braided.
I’d wondered where it had gotten off to.”
is your piece of Gary. He left it behind for you,” Vivian said.
her eyes filling with tears. “I had no idea he’d been doing this all these
you want to look at the rest of it?” Marietta asked. “We can leave
you alone for a few minutes.”
reached for a tissue on her nightstand and blew her nose. She shook her head.
“I can’t right now.” Eleanor closed the lid. “If I go through
the rest of this now, I’ll never get these clothes taken care of.”
clothes can wait, Ellie,” Vivian said. “If you want them to.”
I’m not ready to look at it all now.” She picked up the box and walked
over to the night stand. Pulling out the drawer, she tucked the box inside and
closed the drawer again. She needed to look at the rest of the contents when
her heart wasn’t so fragile. Preferably alone so she could take the time to
cherish each item’s memory.
Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband and their two sons. She’s been known to lug her laptop to the baseball fields and keeps a notebook by her bed to jot down the next big story idea in the wee hours of the night.