Why Me?

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 05, 2017

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Submitted: November 05, 2017

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I love that feeling when you think you’re safe, when you’re worry-free, when your heart is comfortably tucked into a bed of blissful warmth. Basically, when you’re enveloped in the arms of someone you love – and them in yours.

It didn’t last long though.

My youngest brother’s arms were cruelly stolen from me by the desperation coating Max’s words when he frantically demanded that Konsti and I run towards the basement.

Resonating in the atmosphere, there was this uncomfortable mixture of fear along with that familiar saturated tone of desperation that somehow triggered a few minutes of mental captivity. All of a sudden, my head had given me a front row seat to the last few seconds of an innocent man’s life. I couldn’t help it. I was trapped seeing his end on replay, watching the blonde man with the blue eyes hold a gruesome contraption to my daddy’s dark hair…and releasing a bullet.

Again.

And again.

And again.

Until I felt Konsti’s hands on my shoulders, attempting to shake me back to reality. Although in all honesty, ‘reality’ wasn’t all that much better. ‘Reality’ introduced three more people I love that could end up in the same situation as papa. ‘Reality’ had become a place where your standing in society – if you were allowed one at all – was determined by how ‘pure’ you were, and how obedient you were willing to be.

Loud sounds of death encircled us, audible even from the basement – almost as loud as the sound in my ears of my heart pumping at a definitely unhealthy rate.

What burdened my vision next didn’t exactly help with that either. Anguish, shock, terror; three emotions that started sprinting through my veins as the scene in front of me attempted to register.

I wish it hadn’t.

My mother lay in front of me, the source of who knows how much blood spilling onto the floor. How? Why? What? Shock won the race, paralyzing me while I helplessly stared at her now-fragile body. My brothers were already by her side, the perfect depiction of chaos as limbs and despair entangled in hopeless attempts to save our mother, and failing. Allowing me to rush to her as well, the invisible restraints had released me from my state of stupor. I cradled my mama’s head in my lap as she drifted out of consciousness, although not before she whispered ‘I love you’s to each of us.

`I never really understood what people meant by a ‘deafening silence’ until that point. It was so quiet that it somehow morphed into something too much for my ears to bear. So I broke it.

“We have to get out,” I announced to the remaining two family members that death hadn’t taken from me. Still traumatized, Max and Konsti gave me half-nods and ‘mhm’s as replies. “Let’s get mommy into a more comfortable position, Max,” not asking Konsti to help because he was still sat there, unmoving, with the Pacific Ocean escaping his eyes. Max and I gently removed Konsti’s grasp from my mother, and Max carried her to her bed upstairs. Meanwhile, I gave Konsti a hug, doing the best I could to try and calm him down.

Belgium had declined. France declined. The Netherlands declined. Czechoslovakia declined. Denmark had also declined. I had applied the three of us for asylum to the six countries on the borders of Germany. Konsti, Max, and I had been praying every night for the letter that would finally tell us that we had acquired our freedom. No luck. It was devastating, seeing the declined applications, specifically seeing what those declined applications did to my brothers’ moods. It had been 106 days since I had applied for asylum to each of those countries, 106 days since mama died, and 106 days of hoping for a way out of this cruel reality, and into a new one.

Little did I know that we would receive acceptance on day 107.

On day 107, our empty mailbox became a little less empty when three letters from the Swiss Embassy made contact with the rusted metal box. Inside those three envelopes were either success along with further hope, or the monster that would steal the very last remnants of hope from three hopeful hearts. My brothers had already been crushed five times. We all had sat on Max’s bed - hope glistening in our eyes, just to have that get snatched away, piece by piece, after every letter. I decided that this time, I couldn’t stand to watch their faces go down that slope again, and that I wasn’t going to. I tucked those three dangerous envelopes into my bra before making my way back in through the front door to our ‘home’. Acting like I didn’t have three pieces of paper on my person that could legitimately completely change what the rest of our lives could look like. I head towards the bathroom and lock the door.

I took out each piece of paper one by one and laid them on the floor. My back was leaning against the door and had slid down to the point where I was now sitting on the tiled floor, hoping. Somewhere in the process of doing that, I had somehow forgotten to breathe. I was so scared. I wanted a ‘yes’ to finally come and save my brothers from more of this unequal, messed up society they’d been brought up in so far. If anything, my brothers did not deserve to grow up in a society telling them they’re worthless because they don’t look the same way or believe in the same things – in a society telling them they have to be robots. I don’t even know how long I spent staring at the three pieces of white blending into the white-tiled floors of the bathroom, until I managed to move my hands to grab the first one. Mot of the immediate fear had died down, leaving curiosity to overwhelm my brain.

I tore open the first envelope. Konstantin Michael Schmidt, your request for asylum status in Switzerland has been accepted. My eyes stopped reading there. Fear was completely gone. Happiness replaced it instantly as I felt an almost disabling burst of giddy excitement. I tore open the second envelope. Maximilian Leon Schmidt, your request for asylum status in Switzerland has been accepted. Elation. Last one.

My heart skipped a beat.

Katharina Constance Schmidt, your request for asylum status in Switzerland has been declined.

Half of me was so happy that my brothers finally had this chance, this opportunity to get away from the horrible life they’ve known. Meanwhile the other half of me was furious and disappointed and scared and… confused. How did this happen? I looked over at the mirror and saw how flushed my face was. Slowly, I stood up, a storm of polar opposite emotions wrestling in my head. By the time I had washed my face and somewhat regained my composure, that storm had given out to one dominant emotion though: love. I love Konsti and Max, and with or without me, their best bet for the best life is outside of Germany.

I unlocked the door, plastered a smile on my face, yelling out, “Konsti! Max! Come here, I have good news!” Within milliseconds, I heard two sets of feet racing on old, creaking wood. I could sense the excitement radiating off of the two of them in waves. It was so rare for the word ‘news’ to be combined with ‘good’ in this household that it really did spark up something special in the atmosphere.

I held up their two letters, one in each hand. Konsti grabbed his, Max following suit. I wish, I wish, I wish I could have somehow recorded their expressions. One second there was excitement, and the next, pure ecstasy. Their faces were the perfect dictionary definition for euphoria. Their facial expressions right then and there were all I would ever need to cheer me up from anything. So I exclaimed, “we’re going to Switzerland.”

Laughter, energy, and a lot of hugs were shared between the three of us. It was almost enough to make me forget that I wasn’t going to be joining them in Switzerland at all.

Almost.

 


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