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When Good Men Stand By – Installment #2

Random realizations came barrelling into Itzel’s mind, one after another. Futile as they were, they remained necessary, if one were to fully absorb the truth of it all.

He was just up on skiis last Sunday at the lake - we just bought that boat.

…What about our trip this Christmas, we were finally going to go!!

Ohmygod. Thanksgiving.

She could almost hear her heart caving in on itself as it heaved and bucked in open rebellion.

And still there was the ticking of that damned clock. It punched at the thickness in the air between them.

Itzel - pronounced “Itselle” - and Matthew “Matteo” Monsoor were known simply as Itz and Teo by family and friends. They were known by the community and much of the world at large as “Itz & Teo Travel,” a high-end travel brokerage with a widely followed weblog of their constant travels.

They were also known for being almost supernaturally blessed; both in life and in love.

Now, it would seem, their luck had run its course.

An unwelcome tombstone rose up in her mind:

Here lies Matthew Monsoor, beloved husband and father, respected veteran, trusted friend. Devoted to his family, his country, and his beliefs.

Itz thought: Did I just have that on tap or something? Where did all that come from??

Then she thought: Will it offend his family to see the word “beliefs” in place of “God”…?

And immediately following that, she thought: Do we care?

Matt leaned back a little in his chair. The wood creaked.

– Oh no. What a simple, terrible reminder of the facts. That chair was on his honey-do list. There was a lot on his honey-do list.

Oh. My Teo.

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