Family Souvenirs, a story for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] imaginaryfiend‘s Prompt.

The prelude to Souvenirs.

It started with my daughters.

We used to vacation a lot, back Before. And we’d pick up a little something here, a little something there, before the girls were old enough to really pay attention.

But once Emily was five, she started picking out things she wanted to bring home. Postcards. Sea shells. And then she and Mary, with Candace and Patience “helping,” made a little shadow box and hung it on the wall.

We did one big vacation and one little vacation every year, and so that was two shadowboxes every year, Emily, and then Candace, and then Patience helping to pick out the souvenirs, and all of them arranging the shadow boxes.

The girls loved those things. When Emily was packing for college, she asked if she could take one with her. Candace and Patience wouldn’t hear of it. It nearly turned into a Family Fight, but Mary and I intervened.

We went through the house, and put together a Visiting Home Souvenirs Box, as pretty as the ones from our vacations, and sent that off with her. Two years later, we did the same for Candace.

A year after that, the world ended.

We were too close to the trouble, so we packed up everything we could into the van and headed for our cabin in the mountains. Patience insisted on taking the shadow boxes, so we did, giving up a couple summer shirts and my suit for the space.

Candace had a car by then, so that gave us a bit more space. The problem was Emily.

The problem, more specifically, was Emily’s college. Candace had been at a local school; Emily had gone four hours away. Four hours closer to New York City, closer to the mess. Her school had been evacuated by the time we called, and she’d never been good about carrying her cell phone.

So I got the family to the cabin, got the shadow boxes on the wall, and then I went looking for my daughter. Town by town, city by city. And every place I went, I picked up a souvenir, so she’d have something to see where I’d been.

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