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Until We Meet Again

A Collaboration with Jennifer David

By 𝐑𝐌 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐭𝐨𝐧Published 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 13 min read
Top Story - February 2024
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Until We Meet Again
Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

This is a collaborative effort with the extremely talented Jennifer David and written to go along with her “Ad Collab” Unofficial Challenge (although this story is not an official entry in the Challenge.) You can see the Challenge here:

Here is our story, “Until We Meet Again”

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ― C.S. Lewis

Even as the ominous shadow of his impending death hovered over him, in the sterile confines of a hospital room, Leland Stanton displayed the plucky will and resolute determination that had driven him all of his life. He understood what it meant to face sorrow and pain, to stare it in the face, and to stand unwavering against its relentless onslaught. Leland was a fighter. Death was going to have its hands full snatching this soul.

Leland’s wife of nearly 60 years, Marjorie, fueled his strength. Ever since they met, they were thick as thieves. Marjorie was strong-willed and deeply devoted, nearly to a fault. She stood faithfully beside Leland, as they weathered the turbulent storms of life that raged upon them and as they celebrated life’s bountiful joys and victories.

At his bedside, Marjorie kept vigil while Leland fought gallantly. This, however, was not a winning war. In one of his moments of peace, Leland caressed Marjorie’s hand tenderly. And he offered her the same crooked, coy, smile that had won her heart more than 70 years ago when they first met.

Marjorie returned his smile in contentment and reflected back on that day she first saw the new boy move in next door.

It was a Saturday afternoon in July. An 8-year-old Marjorie was playing alone in her room when she heard the soft rumble of an unfamiliar car outside. No one had lived in the house next door since the Thompsons had moved out nearly a year earlier. She wondered if someone was finally moving in.

Marjorie tossed aside her dolls and dashed to the window, throwing open the curtains. She looked down with a hopeful, watchful eye as a family of four – a father, mother, and two boys – piled out of a blue sedan.

“Ugghh! Why yucky ol’ boys?” Marjorie lamented in frustration. She longed for the friendship of another girl in the neighborhood.

Marjorie continued peering out between her bedroom window curtains, and she met the gaze of the older of the two boys. He cocked his head and looked back, squinting against the sun. His face lit up with a radiant, curious smile. The boy waved toward Marjorie, and she quickly turned away in embarrassment.

A moving truck soon pulled into the Thompson driveway and several burly men emerged with the largest of them shouting commands that echoed down the usually-serene neighborhood street. Marjorie watched silently as the truck was quickly unloaded and the empty house began its transformation back into a home.

The following afternoon, as Marjorie sat quietly reading in her room, she heard quickened footsteps race onto her porch. Majorie’s mama answered the door, and the new neighbor boy politely introduced himself.

“Hello, ma’am! I’m Leland. We just moved into the house next door.”

Marjorie silently crept toward the top of the steps.

“Hi, Leland. It’s a pleasure to meet you, young man. My name is Kate Miller. Welcome to the neighborhood. How can I help you, Leland?”

“Thank you, ma’am. I couldn’t help but notice that you have kids, and I hoped to say ‘hi!’”

“I have a daughter, Marjorie. She is about your age,” Kate said with a pleasant, inviting smile. She knew Marjorie was spying from the top of the stairs. Kate called out for her daughter, “Marjorie, come on down and meet the nice young gentleman who just moved in next door.”

No reply.

Marjorie scooted further away from the steps, contemplating her next move.

Kate called out again, “Marjorie!”

Still no reply.

Turning to Leland, Kate kindly offered, “You may go on up and knock on her bedroom door. Her room is the first door to the left of the stairs.”

In the next instance, Leland was running excitedly up the stairs at full speed. So quickly, in fact, that Majorie barely had time to retreat to her room before Leland reached the top of the steps. Marjorie quickly slipped into her room, shutting the door practically in his face. Undeterred, Leland rapped on the door and gently introduced himself, “Hi Marjorie. My name is Leland.” Looking down at the ground, he said, “me and my kid brother just moved in next door. Do you want to come over and play? My mom made cookies and lemonade.”

Cookies? Marjorie wondered. She cracked her bedroom door open just far enough to spy through with one eye and asked almost in a whisper, “What kind of cookies?”

Marjorie had the world’s biggest sweet tooth that wouldn’t be restrained no matter how hard she, or anyone else, tried.

At the sound of her voice, Leland looked up and was unable to stifle a warm smile. “My mom makes the best chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies,” he said excitedly. “Come on. Come try them! You can meet my kid brother, Walter too. He’s five!”

Leland extended his hand. Marjorie let her door fall open and grasped Leland’s grip tightly. From that moment on– like two peas in a pod– the two were inseparable. Although at the time she was unaware of it, this ‘yucky boy’ would eventually win her heart and become the love of her life.

More than 70 years later, that same boy and girl, with a lifetime of shared memories together, faced a heart-wrenching goodbye. Leland’s spirits remained high, but they both understood the gravity of the moment. Leland was dying. His 83-year-old body was giving out on him.

Marjorie brought herself back to the present. She squeezed Leland’s hand and smiled, “I was just reminiscing about that day some new neighbor boy moved in next door to me all those years ago.”

Leland grinned as his mind recounted that day. “I knew when I saw you peeking out your window at me that you were gonna be my gal.”

“I was only in it for the cookies,” Marjorie said laughing.

A nurse stepped into the room as Marjorie and Leland were lost in laughter. “You two are adorable,” she admired. “What is your secret to a successful marriage?”

“Cookies!” they answered in unison. Their eyes locked as they both laughed.

Their laughter was cut short as Leland’s cough took control of the moment. It reminded Marjorie of just how weak her husband was. The congestion was growing heavier. Breathing alone took most of his energy. Even with all the odds against him, he pulled through against Dr. Martin’s expectations. He had survived last night, and Marjorie was so thankful; but time was still short.

Leland looked over at Marjorie and lost himself in her. His heart still raced with passion at the sight of his beautiful bride. They were thick as thieves growing up, and by high school, it seemed natural and even expected for them to begin dating. Marjorie was his first and only love, and he was hers. Leland thought back to their courtship, and to the day he asked her father for her hand.

Leland paced nervously outside of the Miller’s home. His heart was beating wildly. “Slow, deep breaths,” he coached himself, trying to calm his anxiety. Leland had worked diligently and saved every penny he could scratch together in order to purchase a small engagement ring for Marjorie. But proposing to her wasn’t the source of his unease; the hints she had dropped were far from subtle. Marjorie would say ‘yes’. Asking George Miller for his daughter’s hand in marriage, however, frightened the life out of Leland!

George was a man of few words, yet he exuded strength and power, both in character as well as physical presence. George was stern and old-fashioned, but not unkind. In fact, he was quite the contrary. George was gentle in spirit beneath his rigid exterior.

Leland was summoning his inner strength when the front door creaked open. George stood quietly in the doorway and watched with curiosity as Leland fumbled to open the front gate.

“Son, you okay?” asked George. “Marjorie has gone into town with her mother for the day.”

“Yes sir. I know. I came to speak to you.” Leland felt his heart racing. He reckoned his face must be beet red. He felt sharp needling stings all over his body. This was not going according to Leland’s plans.

“C’mon in and have a seat, Leland. I believe you have something on your mind.” George sensed Leland’s uneasiness. “Can I get you a glass of water, son?”

“Yes . . . yessir,” Leland stuttered. He drew a deep breath and sat on the edge of the sofa. When George returned from the kitchen with a glass of water, Leland guzzled it down, hoping to drown his nervous energy. “Thank you, sir.”

George took a seat and waited.

Leland cleared his throat. “Mighty warm day, isn’t it, sir?” he asked.

“Mighty warm, indeed,” George responded, nodding. After an uncomfortable pause he nudged, “what’s on your mind?”

“Sir, I’m here to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.” Leland shifted and began to reach for his glass of water before realizing his glass was empty. He sat back and continued, “I love Marjorie, and I would do everything within my power to make her happy,” Leland continued. “May I have your permission and blessing to propose to her?”

George sat quietly for a moment studying Leland. “Her mother and I wondered what was keeping you. It’s about time. Kate and I have discussed this already, and you have our blessing.” George offered a rare smile.

At long last, Leland could take a breath. He relaxed into the couch for a brief second before he sprung up to shake George’s hand. “Thank you, sir,” he said, “you won’t regret it.”

“I’d better not,” George laughed.

Leland found great comfort in this memory. Now, lying in his bed these many years later, he mumbled under his breath, “Thank you for your blessing – and for your beautiful daughter, George.”

Later that night, while Leland dreamt, Marjorie woke. She was disoriented. The lights were dimmed in Leland’s hospital room. The halls were quiet. Rhythmic beeps were the only sounds around other than sickness. Marjorie forgot she was here for her husband. She for a moment was brought back to a time that felt like a lifetime ago, but also like it was yesterday. She was remembering their dearest daughter, Georgia. Georgia was a healthy little girl who had the courage of a lion. She was ferocious. Leland and Marjorie often found themselves tripping over each other trying to keep up with her. She had such a large presence for someone so small. Leland and Marjorie were always in awe of their little girl. They nicknamed her “Speedy”; she was all over the place. She was swift as the wind, and she could never be stopped. Heck, they thought nothing could stop their little girl – that was until sickness came out of nowhere and made it so she could barely walk. At just 15, Georgia held her high school’s record for the 400-meter dash. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Georgia was going to be scouted to run in college. It was her ticket to see the world.

Soon after Georgia’s 16th birthday, however, everything changed. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer. At just 16, she couldn’t fathom any disease taking over her life. She was a fighter. She devoted every ounce of her being to focusing on her dream. Georgia continued to run. She ran and she ran until one day her body shut down and she could run no more. Marjorie had, against her better judgment, taken Georgia to the track. She knew her daughter could not outrun this race. But she did not have the words or the heart to take anything else from her daughter. While Georgia ran, Marjorie walked a few steps behind her in case she needed her mother’s help. When they went around the last bend of the first lap, Georgia’s legs gave out. Marjorie sprinted into action and caught her before she reached the ground.

“Georgia! Are you ok?” Marjorie asked as she wiped the sweaty hair out of her daughter’s face.

“Yes, mama. I’m ok.” Georgia looked at her mother and smiled. She asked, “did you run?”

“Yes.” Marjorie almost smiled.

“You never run, Cookie.” Georgia often called Marjorie ‘Cookie’ when she was teasing her mother, after learning how her parents met. “I think you almost beat me,” she finished.

Marjorie winked and said, “I could never beat the great Speedy Stanton.”

Georgia did her best to flash her father’s coy smile – she’s the spitting image of him, Marjorie thought.

“We had better go see the Doctor,” Marjorie said as she stood, collecting Georgia in her arms. Before she could leave the track, Georgia interrupted her.

“Mama? I think this may be my last race,” she said. “Will you help me finish it?”

Marjorie didn’t utter a word. She carefully held her daughter and walked her over the finish line with eyes so full of tears she could barely see what was ahead. Marjorie still had not come to terms with what was happening. But it seemed that at this moment, Georgia had accepted her fate.

As her breathing calmed, Georgia shut her eyes and said, “thank you, Mama.”

“You’re welcome, baby.”

Luckily, their town had a hospital nearby. Upon arriving at the hospital, Marjorie called Leland and instructed him to get there as fast as possible. The doctors and nurses over the past year had learned to love Georgia. When Marjorie walked in with Georgia in her arms, they quickly fetched a wheelchair and ushered them both to a room.

As Marjorie finished tucking her daughter in, Georgia asked, “is daddy here yet?”

Before Marjorie could answer, Leland replied, “ I’m here speedy.” He took in the room and collected himself as he walked over to Georgia’s bedside next to Marjorie. “What did I tell you about racing your Cookie?” he solemnly joked.

“I wanted to see if she’d run,” Georgia smirked with her eyes closed.

Marjorie used to complain about them calling her Cookie. Now, she wished she could stop time and live in this moment forever. She couldn't help but let the tears continue to fall down her face.

Georgia opened her eyes. They were the only feature of Georgia’s that came from her mother. They were warm. But more importantly, they never lost their spark.

“I love you,” Georgia said as she looked at both of her parents. Her eyes closed again, and then her features turned angelic as a smile crept up her face. In that instant, Marjorie and Leland knew that she was running up cloud-lined stairs of gold to knock on the door to meet her eternal love and friend.

In the present, Marjorie’s face was flooded with tears. It was morning now. She must have dozed off thinking about Georgia. Marjorie was almost jealous that Leland could be with her again. But she knew better than that. She had faith that she’d be with them both when it was her own time.

Marjorie gazed over to check on Leland. Again, against Dr. Martin’s judgment, fueled by sheer willpower, Leland made it through another night. When he came in during his early-morning rounds, Dr. Martin listened intently to Leland’s lungs. His eyes told Marjorie all she needed to know. Leland was staging a valiant fight, but death was a formidable adversary.

Marjorie had prayed with all of her might for Leland, just as she had done so many nights for their precious Georgia. This was the circle of life, however. Leland’s warrior spirit was bowing to time. Red and bleary-eyed, his voice strained and weak, his breath short and labored, Leland willed the strength to reach for Marjorie’s hand.

Marjorie was committed to remaining strong for Leland, and that gesture was not lost on him. Marjorie had always been his rock. Even as he lay dying, Leland could not help but be in awe and reverent admiration at Marjorie’s selfless and steadfast dedication.

Having just arrived, Pastor Mackenzie stepped to Leland’s other side, and took his other hand, offering a short prayer and some comforting.

Choking back tears, Marjorie reassured Leland. “It’s okay, my handsome prince. You have fought all of your life for me – for us. You can rest. I’ll be okay. I promise. You go and find our little girl, and you tell her that her mama’s going to be along soon – and tell her to save me some cookies! Squeeze her and hug her tight for me. I love you, Leland! This is NOT ‘goodbye’. I will meet you both at the finish line.

Leland was fading. His eyes were fixed on his beautiful bride. Suddenly, his face lit up with excitement, and in labored breaths, he shared, “I see her, sweetheart. She’s as beautiful as ever!”

A small team of nurses entered the room as Leland closed his eyes and his body went limp. The heart monitor confirmed what Marjorie already knew. Leland had passed away. The sunlight danced affectionately through the window as heaven welcomed Leland’s sweet soul.

Marjorie had held back her tears for so long, but now they came flooding out. And she sobbed and held Leland’s lifeless hand. “Oh, darling, I am going to miss you so much. UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN SOON!”

Pastor Mackenzie kneeled beside the bed and quoted from the Bible, “And Job said, naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I depart: the Lord gives, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Be sure to read more of Jennifer David’s creations by visiting and subscribing to her stories:

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About the Creator

𝐑𝐌 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐭𝐨𝐧

˜”*°•.˜”*°• Time is our most valuable asset. Thank you for spending some of your time with me! •°*”˜.•°*”˜

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  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (21)

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  • Bonnie Bowerman3 months ago

    Loved it! So moving. So well done!

  • Hannah Moore4 months ago

    Why would you DO this to me! Very good collaborative effort, seamless.

  • Anna 4 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳

  • Oneg In The Arctic4 months ago

    What a story, what special memories, what a stubborn family of love!

  • JBaz4 months ago

    Oh you two, my coffee got cold while I was wrapped up in this heartwarming story. A complete novel o condensed in a short story. I’m outside reading this and now realize I have a full day to run this beautiful piece in my head over again. Absolutely one of my favourite reads this year.

  • Heather Hubler4 months ago

    A wonderfully woven, heartfelt story. You guys pulled out all the emotional stops! Such great characterization :)

  • Cathy holmes4 months ago

    This is absolutely beautiful, and what a tear-jerker. Excellent storytelling

  • L.C. Schäfer4 months ago

    A different time! Well done on the collab 😁

  • Hayley Matto4 months ago

    I need tissues & maybe some cookies… beautifully written. I’m lost for words! Amazing storytelling.

  • Test4 months ago

    I am absolute blubbering mess. Tears started at the last run and have yet to subside. Such a beautifully poignant story and an amazingly seamless collab. Stunning.

  • Kenny Penn4 months ago

    Oh my goodness, this story is so wonderful, so sweet, so sad, and offers a grain of hope as well. I loved the way you went back and forth, like a window in time.

  • ROCK 4 months ago

    What a voice the two of you gave to this special 🙏 endearing look into the soulful love and life which so many are never able to endure or share. Thank you.

  • Rachel Deeming4 months ago

    This was a moving tale of love. I liked the flashbacks and the being reunited with the ones you love. Great stuff, both of you.

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Test4 months ago

    Wow. This is incredible. It made me cry.

  • Test4 months ago

    Remarkable job! Maintain the fantastic work—congrats!

  • I too would have been interested if there were cookies! Poor Georgia, though. Also, not me thinking "Let's finish off Marjorie so that she can be together with Leland and Georgia" Lol! Loved your story! Hats of to you and Jennifer!

  • Stephanie David4 months ago

    This honestly sounds like one strong voice. Wonderful and seamless collaboration!

  • Stephanie David4 months ago

    This is such a moving story! Love, faith, strength, running your own race and finishing your own course. Powerful writing. I was deeply moved.

  • Test4 months ago

    It's a story that resonates deeply with us, reminding us of the profound impact of love on our lives and the enduring nature of the human spirit. Great job! 𝐑𝐌 𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐭𝐨𝐧

  • Jennifer David4 months ago

    I know we wrote it, but I really love this story and its characters. This collab has not only been a good exercise but it has encouraging and inspiring. Hope to do it again sometime! :)

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