I look to the sea to see myself. It is the only place to see the true reflection of the world around me. The peacefulness that washes over me can come from nothing else. The sea is my haven, and the colors of the sea make me feel alive.
Every day, I wonder what new discovery will come to me as I sit on the shore and gaze far into the horizon. I lose track of time and cannot tell where the water ends and the sky begins. It prompts me to think about metamorphosis. As the line between the water and air is hard to distinguish, I reflect on the border between the person I was yesterday and the person I became today.
Being by the water is refreshing, and it awakens my soul. The hours spent by the sea are the hours it takes to wash away the worries. I return to my home, humbled by a new perspective, and a piece of my heart has uncovered a new love. There is nothing that can take away from the lessons that wash onto shore by the waves.
I go to the sea to learn who I am. Nowhere else can show me. I go to reflect on my life so far and to hope for the life of my future days. No two days will ever be the same, but the sea will remain constant. There must be a consistent point of comparison to bring myself to. Just as there are no two identical seashells that lie on the shoreline, I will not return day after day with the same reflection to be seen in the sea of mirrors.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017
They call me Mo. Mo is short for Mohammad, or so they tell me. Scared from the chaos of my home, it is hard to remember. I have not heard my name called since I was separated from my parents. It became too dangerous to stay, but staying would have meant staying together. My home is no longer how I remember it. It was no longer happy or safe, nor was it my home. My home is a camp now, foreign and new. Will I ever find the feelings of happiness and safeness again?
I have since lost track of the years I have been here. Every night, I go to bed hoping when I wake, I will no longer be living this nightmare of not knowing what tomorrow holds. I miss my parents and my sister. To be reunited with them would make up for the solemn days I spend alone, even in the crowdedness of the camp. Although I am protected here, I would give it all up to be with my family again.
I try to stay busy at the camp to keep my mind distracted from dwelling on the dangers falling all around. The younger kids need someone to look out for them. They were separated from their parents too. I worry about my sister and that she will forget me, but being with the children gives me hope for my own sister. Maybe someone is taking care of her just as I am taking care of the younger siblings of others who have no one.
Something was different at the camp one day. Many new people were present, and we were getting attention from them. I was asked my name for the first time in years. I said, “they call me Mo.” And from then, I heard it said. I had flashbacks of my mother’s voice. These new people were friendly. They brought us things. Things I had never seen before. A new tent was set up. They brought each person staying at the camp in one by one.
Inside the new tent, I learned these people were volunteers. I wondered what would happen and why they came. I saw a doctor for the first time. I received new clothes; the only clothes I had were the clothes I left my home with a long time ago. They showed a deep compassion towards each of us and made us feel human again. The children at the camp enjoyed playing with new people and getting more attention than what I could give them.
I wanted to learn how to care better for the people at the camp. I asked one of the volunteers to show me and was invited to help in the medical tent. The volunteer was kind, and her smile reminded me of my mother’s. After working with her for a couple of days, she asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I could not answer. I never thought about it; there was no reason to think about it. My future was confined to this tent, and unless I ever find a way out, this is where I will remain. I could tell my answer was not the one she expected. For the rest of the day, we worked in silence.
The volunteers’ stay was coming to an end. I hated to see them go. They gave us so much, and above that, they gave us hope in that they would soon return. It was rough to say goodbye; the children did not understand. After they had left, life went back to how it was before the volunteers came. Their stay gave me something to think about during the lonely days without them. I began to think about what I would want to be when I grew up, and if I had the chance to leave this camp. What would my parents have wanted for me? My father would have wanted me to do something noble, but what could I do coming from the circumstances I have been trapped in for so long? I cannot let my parents down. I may never see them again, but I still need to make them proud.
Months had passed since the volunteers came and left. I saw a vehicle similar to what they came in before. I thought it was strange that there was only one. Surely, they brought more people with them. I did not see any of the volunteers yet, but I hoped they had come again.
In the distance, I heard a familiar voice. “Mo. I am looking for Mo. Is he still here?” The voice called, and I started looking around to see where it was coming from. Once I ran out of the tent, I could see the person calling for me. She ran towards me. When we met each other in the middle of the campsite, she embraced me. With a tear in her eye, she crouched down and said, “I am Grace. Do you remember me from when you worked with me before? I have come back for you.”
My thoughts were racing. “what do you mean you came back for me?” Grace stood up, wiped away her tears and explained that my response to her asking what I wanted to be when I grew up broke her heart. She could not stand knowing I would not get to fulfill a dream I never had the chance to have. “I came back for you to have a future and a home,” she whispered.
I stood there staring at her smile, thinking of my parents and sister. Grace was offering me the best thing in the world. She came to save me from a place I thought I would forever have to stay. Nothing could replace my family, but I knew this was my one chance to make them proud and get the life they had always hoped I would have. Despite leaving the only place I have ever known and knowing I will never see my family again, it was hard to accept the offer, but it was my second chance.
I left with Grace that day and never looked back at the dark place I left. I never had to fear about my safety again. I began to dream of my future, and Grace encouraged me to become the teacher I found I wanted to be. I wanted to be the person Grace was to me for another child who needed hope. The day Grace came for me was the day she saved me. Grace saved me from living a hard life with no meaning. Grace showed me what it meant to give back and make a difference.
My life changed for the better that day. I can never forget where I came from and the family I miss so dearly, but I see the difference between the two worlds I have lived in and now call home. Grace gave me opportunities and hope. Although I was never blind, I am seeing for the first time.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017
It was the Harrison and Benny show growing up. I went with Harrison everywhere, and we were inseparable. Things have changed, but I am still around. I see what is happening in Harrison’s life even if he does not need me as he used to when he was a young boy. I remember the days we spent playing outside from sunrise to sundown. We got dirty; we played hard. Boys were boys. Nothing could come between Harrison and me. We were each other’s best companion. Harrison and Benny went together like Andy and Woody.
Things changed when Harrison went to school for the first time. I went too, but he had other kids to play with now. Only when he came home did he play with me. I missed him while he was at school. I continued to go with him in case he needed me, but I went unnoticed. Harrison was no longer the kid I thought I knew. This was the beginning of the end for Harrison and Benny.
His years of elementary school shifted to his middle school ages. Surely, Harrison would need me more than ever. Middle school was a rough time for everyone. Even if he thought about needing me, he would not admit it. At this point, I stopped going to school with Harrison. He had real friends, but I could still not bring myself to leaving him for good.
It is graduation day. Harrison is all grown up now. He has transformed and become a young man. Harrison has probably forgotten all about his childhood companion Benny by now. He will soon be going off to college, and that will be my cue to move on just as Harrison has.
The realities of life have taken over for Harrison. I, Benny, was merely a temporary companion for a short period of time. I was always there for him and would continue to be there for him if his imagination would still believe. Once so vivid for Harrison, I have faded into the memories of the imagination.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017
The old family home still stood tall. It had not been the same since Jameson left and never returned from war. Generations down, the family home welcomed new life and said goodbye to old life. Amelia still lived there, lonely and frail. She changed after Jameson left. The sparkle in her eyes left along with the meaning of hope that he would ever return after years had passed.
Amelia and Jameson were newlyweds when they moved into her grandmother’s home. It was a childhood dream of Amelia’s to one day live and grow old there. Hoping to start a family, Amelia and Jameson prayed the draft would not call for Jameson’s departure to war. Only months into their marriage, Jameson received his draft papers and was ordered to report by summer’s end. Although he could not stand the thought of leaving his new bride, Jameson knew he had to serve his country and was honored to do so.
The train platform was packed with army men and their trunks, along with their weepy wives prolonging their farewells. Nothing could prepare anyone for feelings and emotions that the families of these army men going off to war were facing. Amelia tried her best to hold her composure, but as the final whistle blew, her strength to hold back tears weakened. Jameson wiped away her tears, pecked her on the cheek, and told her he loved her before turning away to board the train. Soon, Amelia would lose Jameson into the crowd and her memory of that moment would be her last of him.
The war ended sometime later. Amelia eagerly waited for the homecoming of her beloved Jameson. Days after the war ended turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. Eventually, months faded into years. Amelia grew weary when Jameson never returned, but she held onto to her hope by a frayed piece of thread. Amelia’s sister and her family remained hopeful for Jameson’s return. They moved in with her to keep her company and to distract her from the reality of Jameson’s absence.
Once a young newlywed, Amelia grew old and grey. Her broken heart grieved for the husband who was taken from her and the children she never had. She did her best to carry on with her life, but a piece of her heart was stuck in the past. Giving up on ever seeing Jameson again made her feel like she was betraying the promise she made Jameson, but she knew he would not want her to hold the burden of missing him either.
Amelia enjoyed the company of her niece especially. She treated Felicity as her own daughter, and they grew to have a special bond. Even years after Felicity’s family moved out of Amelia’s home, Felicity still made an effort to visit regularly. This gave Amelia something to look forward to, and she always enjoyed Felicity’s visit. Nothing could fill the void of Jameson in her heart, but Felicity brought joy back into Amelia’s life.
Amelia had fallen ill one winter night. As soon as Felicity received word of her aunt’s ailing condition, she made an extended visit to look after Amelia. Amelia’s heart never mended itself from the loneliness and brokenness of Jameson. There was nothing that could be done to make Amelia well again. She was ready to leave her heartache of her life behind as she hoped to meet her Jameson again. Felicity held Amelia’s hand as she took her final breath of life.
Weeks passed after Amelia’s funeral arrangements had concluded. Felicity was left with the responsibility to clean out the belongings of Amelia’s and make the house her own. Without having anyone else to leave the house for, Felicity inherited her Aunt Amelia’s home. While going through drawers and cabinets, Felicity came across an envelope with her name on it. She opened it and found a handwritten letter from Amelia. In shaky, cursive writing it read: “To my Felicity, whom I loved like my own. I leave you this old home to raise your family in and to make memories of your own. My happily ever after was stolen from me the day Jameson never returned, but it is my hope that you will fulfill the wish of my heart for your life in place of mine in this house. Forever with love, Aunt Amelia.”
Felicity did just as her aunt wished for her. She married and raised her family in the house she loved just as Amelia did. Her children grew up and made many childhood memories within the walls of that home. Although Amelia lost love, the house overflowed with it now. Felicity kept a photo of Amelia and Jameson in the center of the home over the fire place to forever cherish and remember the bond they had with each other.
An unexpected knock was at the door. Felicity, now in her mature years, answered the door. The person on the other side of the door came in uniform bearing a tattered trunk. Felicity’s heart sank when the man announced he was representing the military and returning something to the address marked on the tag. She took the trunk from the man, closed the door, and brought it to the main room where the picture hung of Amelia and Jameson.
Felicity knelt by the trunk and could only bring herself to unlatch the closures. All she could think about was Amelia. If only this had come thirty years earlier. Amelia could have had closure. She could have died having a piece of Jameson with her. Felicity finally brought herself to opening the lid and going through the possessions of her late uncle, who she only met once. On top, was a journal of his days chronicling war. With each turn of the page, a tear was shed. Next to the journal, was a bundle of letters that never made it to Amelia. Felicity left those unread, for she could not read something so intimate that was meant for Amelia to read. As she took each article of clothing out, Felicity’s heart grieved for Amelia not being able to do this herself.
The trunk finally reached its home. Its contents were returned to the placement that Jameson had left them, and the trunk would forever stay near the heart of the home. Amelia would have wanted the trunk to remain in the memory of Jameson, so it would never leave the presence of the picture above the fire place. Amelia and Jameson were at last together again.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017