Memories and Promises

"Mama?" A small boy of about 10 ran up to a woman. She looked up from her
book and
smiled at the boy. "Is Papa coming this time?"

Her smile faded a bit. The sun beat down on them and many others. They were
at the
shores of a lake with five young men and another 10 year old boy that looked
exactly like
the boy next to the woman. The men were playing a rather comical game of
volleyball but the woman didn't notice.

"I don't think so Kiefer," she answered. She could see the disappointment on
his face at
the news.

"What's the excuse this time?" Kiefer dejectedly looked down a his feet.

"You know he can't always come out here." She got up from her seat and knelt
him. "But you do know that he'll visit tonight. Then you could tell him
about your day."

"I just want him with us like old times. You know me, you, Papa, and Kieran.
couldn't we go back?"

"You've known the answer to that from the start, Kiefer. We've never denied
you the

Kiefer slowly lifted his head and looked at his mother's eyes. He had his
father's blue-
green eyes and mother's reddish-brown hair, a slight difference from his twin
blue eyes and crimson red hair. They both had slender, noble faces, a direct
copy of their
father's, but their eyes held the kindness and gentleness found in their
mother's eyes.

"I just miss him, Mama."

Mia couldn't help but feel guilty. She knew they didn't have a choice, would
have died
had they stayed, but still she felt guilty. Guilty on the fact that they had
to leave the place
she had called home for more than 8 years. Guilty that the father of her
children had to
sneak in at night just to catch a glimpse of his little boys. Guilty that
she didn't fight hard
enough for him to stay.

"I do too, Kief. I do, too." She hugged him and just held him. He relaxed
under her hold
and buried his face in her hair.

"I domph memember im, Mama," he mumbled.

"What?" Mia pulled him away.

"I don't remember him. His smell, his presence. I don't remember."

"Oh, Kiefer." She pulled him over to sit down. "That happens sometimes."

"I used to remember his laugh and the way he made you laugh once in awhile."
looked straight ahead and daydreamed. "I used to remember the way he smelled
and after the battles. The way he just appears to tuck me and Kieran in.
Now, I don't

Mia couldn't help but smile. For 10 year olds, Kiefer and Kieran were
definitely smarter
than they looked. Most kids wouldn't even care about their parents unless
they bothered
them. They, however, were concerned over a man they hadn't seen for two

"Kiefer, you have to understand, memories do fade but not the person. As
long as Papa is
in our hearts, he'll be there."

"But I don't remember." Moist eyes looked up at Mia.

"That's the funny thing about keeping people in you hearts." She rubbed his
arm. "Their
'beings' seem to only come to you when you really need them."

"I need him now."

"I know. I do, too. But he is still here. You have a chance to see him
tonight. Maybe
that's why you can't remember. You're just getting ready to see him again."

The boy's eyes somewhat lightened but stayed solemn. He was still uncertain
about the
explanation but accepted it. Kiefer had to admit that he was looking forward
to seeing
his father again.

"Okay, Mama. I think that'll have to do. I don't understand much of what
you said, but I
think I get the general idea. I just hope he's not disappointed in both
Kieran and me."

"He can never be disappointed in you or Kieran. I think he's rather proud of
how you two
turned out, even without him there."

"You think so."

"I know so. Why don't you go join the others and work on that tan." Mia
patted his
behind to send him on his way. She couldn't help but marvel at the energy of
her twins.
They ran circles around the Ronins.

"If only you could see them now Anubis." She picked up her book and glanced
one final
time at her boys. They were playing tag now and the Ronins were exhausted.
She read a
few lines in her book and was slowly lulled to sleep by the slow wind.