``Kathy? `` I wake up from my day dreaming, realizing that I haven’t even dressed yet.
``Uh… ya sorry. I’ll be out in just a sec!`` I answered as I quickly got undressed and put on some fresh clean clothes.
I turn the silver knob to open the door only to be pleasantly surprised by the sweet scents coming from the kitchen flowing all around me. I enter to see Jacob grinning from one end of the table that had a white cloth spread over it. He quickly gets up and pulls out a light brown wooden chair for me ´´ Mademoiselle.`` Jacob says in a very formal accent as he gestures for me to be seated.
``Why thank you.`` I play along and smile politely. As I view the table I can see how everything was perfectly planned out. The waffles and pancakes are placed carefully on 2 beautiful plates with outer goldedges. The sauces, syrup, sugar, and the strawberries are perfectly aligned vertically from where I’m sitting at the corner of the table. The plates and silverware looked formal as did the napkin that Jacob had shaped into a swan and had placed it top of my plate.
``Wow Jacob…you've really out done yourself… it’s not my birthday is it?`` I tease him as he takes a seat next to me.
`` What? No! I just… wait… it’s NOT actually your birthday right?`` He hesitates for a while with a worried expresion and quickly pulls out his phone. ``Ok, good, no it’s not.`` he sighs dramatically as if he was relieved, ``Seriously though, since when does a brother need to wait for a special occasion to do something special for his sis?`` He questions me, but not in a playful way. More like a- What kind of brother do you take mefor? – kind of way.
``Well ya but-``I try to argue but Jacob cuts me off, `` No buts sis! Just enjoy and eat up!``
I try to question him further, but as soon as I open my mouth he sticks a big juicy strawberry inside. I try to argue with him but it seemed like each time that I opened my mouth he manages to shove another one in to keep me from doing so.
`` What’s that? You want more?`` he laughs as I try to talk with my mouth full of sweet strawberries.
``Ya I know, they’re pretty good aren't they?`` He chuckles, seemingly pleased with himself.
I kept my mouth shut and it took me what seemed like 5 full minutes to chew and swallow all those strawberries that had been forced into my mouth, `` Are you TRYING to kill me?`` I say once I was able to speak again.
`` Well, were you TRYING to argue with your sweet and lovable brother?`` He flashes a charminggrin and I punch his arm. ``Ow! Hey! I feed you strawberries and you return the favor by punching me?`` he whines.
Of course I wasn't actually mad at Jacob. I was just playing around with him and he knew that. So the next thing he did was tickle me in an attempt to get me to say what a `` lovely and sweet`` brother he was. Which I did! It truly was amazing how he could cheer me up so quickly. Although I was still feeling down and sad, I wasn't depressed. If anything, Jacob got me to forget all of my problems in those few wonderful minutes at the breakfast table that he had made, just for me.
Breakfast time went by quickly, Jacob and I had a nice conversation about his new job while I ate up a waffle, two small pancakes and even a few of those strawberries which made my stomach more than satisfied. I decide to start cleaning up the table but the minute I rise to collect the plates my brother stops me, by quickly standing up from his own seat and gently pushing me back into mine. I hardly even get the chance to say anything before he interrupts me, `` The part of me making breakfast is for me to clean up afterwards as well, and don’t even try to argue with me because I won’t hear it.``
I felt my emotions burst, just as if several colors were being mixed and swirled around inside me. I felt mad because I did not enjoy the feeling of being treated like a child. I felt guilty because I knew he was only trying to help, but I also felt scared, scared that at any moment I would burst into tears because of how good he was to me.
He tried taking the role of both, mother and father ever since we fled from our country. I love him and I know he loves me, but I also know that there are times when he is hurting, but he doesn’t dare to show it, especially to me.
Though he seems to have an outer image of an emotionally strong and independent young man, deep down, he is still a boy crying in undeniable pain, just like that horrific day when he had lost his home and his dear mother. Only now, he has to carry the burden of knowing that he might lose his mother all over again…our mother. The fear of having to go through that once more, not even having his first scar healed yet, is a pain that I can't even hope to understand, but then again I shouldn't even hope to. Because I just might if the war continues like this. Jacob knows as well as I do of the terrible things that have been going on in our country. People being burned alive, young girls and women being kidnapped, only to be found after they had already been raped countless of times and than carelessly tossed into the streets to die, as if they were nothing more then dirty wounded animals.
No, now I know that Jacob is hurting just as much as I am, but he simply handles it better. I know I have no right to be upset with him. Maybe I just enjoy feeling sorry for myself, but being with him doesn’t allow me too, and so I get mad. Although it’s not him that I get mad at, even though it may come out that way, but it’s me. I get mad at myself.
`` Jacob… why are you doing this… honestly... why?`` I question him as I look deeply into his eyes. He hesitates and takes a deep breath before sighing, `` Kathy, I think you know why I’m doing this.``
I keep my eyes on him, never leaving his and I practically whisper, `` Jacob, I’m fine. Really I am, I just need…time. Time to figure out where to go from here.`` I felt tears coming as my lips start to quiver.
Jacob puts the dishes that he had in his hands back down on the table, walks slowly up to me and bends his knees down, allowing our eyes to meet evenly. `` Kath… I’m here for you whenever you need me. I love you… and I don’t like to see you so sad. You’re my little sister and I don’t want you to be hurt in any way. Please…tell me what’s wrong.`` He looks even deeper into me eyes and I feel a tear gliding down my cheek. After being completely silent for a few seconds I can’t hold it in anymore, I feel several tear drops fall from eyes and Jacob’s face becomes blurry. I let my head drop as he embraces me in his arms, and I hold on to him as if for dear life.
I sob and I weep, while hearing my brother’s soft words of comfort saying, `` Oh Kathy… you’ll be ok…I’m here…and I’ll be here for as long as you need me…``
Jacob must have felt me shaking because he held me even tighter.
We held on to each other for a long time as the sun shined down its golden beam through the window ontop of us. After a while we pulled away and I lift my head up again only to realize that my brother’s eyes are wet from crying. A smile tugs on the corner of my lips as I reach into my pocket and take out a tissue. Jacob smiles back at me as he accepts the tissue from my outstretched hand and says, `` Who’s taking care of who here?`` he chuckles at me and I giggle, although the laugh I made sounded more like I was crying.
I stare out of the window and watch the sky, embracing the warmth of the sun on my face. I felt my brother looking at me, studying my face, as if he was trying to find out what was going on in my mind.
Without turning my head I answer, `` I got a letter yesterday… it’s from back home…`` I felt my throat tie up in a knot but I swallow it down and continue, `` It’s bad Jacob… the war is getting worse… I can’t even go back now…``
I wait to see what Jacob would say…but after a long pause I finally turn my head and face him. He looks at the ground and I see him nodding his head understandingly. He then lifts his head up and looks at me with a grave expression on his face, `` Kathy, I’m your brother, and you know I would never want you to go and do anything that might hurt you or risk losing your own life… But… there are some decisions, some things that you have to do because you know it’s who you are. It is the life you were meant to lead. In saying so, let me ask you this; Is it that you CAN’T go….or you won’t go?`` His voice was stern yet soft as he questioned me.
I look at him very confused and I feel my heart beating faster, `` Wait…are you saying that I don’t want to go? You know as well as I do that this trip meant everything to me! There is nothing more I would rather do then go back home! You know that!`` I get over excited and I try to calm myself down.
Jacob reaches out and takes my hand into both of his and says very gently, `` Then what’s stopping you?``
I hear voices going round and round in my head. Oh I don’t know…THE WAR MAYBE! The fact that I was warned and told NOT to go! I mean common! Is he really asking me this? We all know what the rebels do when they find a white girl strolling around the city streets, simply trying to do a little grocery shopping!
`` Kathy?`` I hear Jacob’s soft voice waking me up from my day dreaming. ``I…uh…`` I hesitate, and after a while of thinking it through, a pang of guilt hit me. I was making up excuses for not going. Excuses, that’s what’s been stopping me.
`` …No…you’re right…`` I take a dip breath before I continue, `` Nothing is stopping me…nothing is stopping me and nothing ever will. I AM going to go on that trip and NOTHING is going to stop me from doing so dag-nab it!`` I grin at him, as I stand up with my head held high. I giggle as he does the same and embraces me in a warm felt hug. ``Just be careful…`` he tells me as he let’s go and looks at me with a weary smile. I smile back and sense his worry. `` I will… I promise.`` I assure him.
I gave him a warm smile before I turned around to walk towards my bedroom for packing, but just then while reaching my bedroom, a sudden realization hit me. What if I returned only to find that my family had already been killed? And what if….what if I was to be shot…what would Jacob do then…? I’m not sure what it would do to him. `` I made a promise to him…`` I told myself, `` I cannot afford to get killed. I’ll just be more careful, and not take any risks when they’re not needed. ``
I sit on my bed, close my eyes, and pray a little prayer, ``Hey God? Are you here? I just wanted to ask you something… Do you think I should go? Do you think I’m being foolish?`` I stop for a moment and try to listen for an answer…nothing….`` God? Please tell me…what should I do?! Are you going to let me die and cause Jacob to suffer all over again? God please tell me what to do! Please Tell me!``
And right then, a fierce current of wind pushed my windows wide open, causing them to hit the wood paneling outside of the house. I gasp loudly and my eyes swing right open.
`` Sorry! I had the door open, I’ll close it and stop the draft!`` I heard my brother shouting from the other side of the house.
A feeling of relief washes over me…but also disappointment. I get up from my bed and walk towards the window to close it. My room was filled with shadows casted from the clouds above. But as I reached my hands out to close the window, the clouds moved away from the sun. Slowly, the sun- light revealed its golden rays and ever so gently, it touches my face, warming it. I close my eyes and feel a soft breeze comb through my hair and with it, the fragrance of a dozen sweet flowers growing from the garden below.
A sense of peace filled my heart just as the sunlight had filled my room. I knew right then, I had to go, and it was going to be alright. Everything…was going to be ok…