Happy fall y'all!!
Can you believe summer's gone already??? I used to not believe adults when they told me time goes by faster the older you get, but now I'm seeing just how true that statement is. ;P
Anyway, here's part 2 of Katie's War!
Josiah quickly wheeled his chair over to his sister, who held the door open for him as he entered the house. Together they made their way to Mom, who sat motionless in the living room, staring into space.
“Mom.” Josiah waved his hand to get his mother’s attention. “What does it say?”
Mom didn’t say anything, but handed him the telegram. After scanning its contents, Joey paled.
“What is it?” Katie demanded.
Joey swallowed. “It- it’s Dad and Jerry. They’re missing in action.”
Katie felt like someone had punched her in the stomach. She quickly sat down in a nearby chair. No, God, please, no, no, no! This can’t be happening! Both of them, missing in action? It- it can’t be! No, God, no! Why are You letting this happen? Tears entered her eyes and spilled over, and her breath came in gasps. We prayed for them so much. God, we trusted You. Dad himself said that You would take care of them. What now? For all we know, Dad and Jerry are dead. “I hate this war!” She exclaimed. “I hate it, hate it, hate it!” She jumped from her chair and dashed up the stairs, furiously wiping away tears.
Entering her room, she flung herself on her bed, sobbing. “God, why, why? Why is this happening? You were supposed to take care of them. You were going to protect them!” There she lay, uncomforted, heartbroken, and cried herself to sleep.
Months passed, and whatever hope Katie had of ever seeing her father and brother again vanished. One day in November, Katie was on the front porch, studying for a history test when she heard her name called.
“Katie, Katie!” Lillian ran up to her and grabbed her hand. “You’ll never guess!” She squealed. Without waiting for an answer, she went on, “Matt is coming home today!” She plopped down on the porch swing next to her friend. “We got a telegram. We were so afraid that he was dead, or missing in action, but it was Matt himself. He’s injured, but he’s coming in on the train today!” She jumped up. “I just wanted to come invite you to go with us to meet him.” She looked expectantly at Katie.
Katie bit her lip. “I don’t know, Lillian. I think your family would like to be alone with Matt; it’s his homecoming. Aren’t you guys going to want to have a private reunion?”
“Katie, Matt is almost as much your brother as he is mine. I know he’ll want to see you again. Please?”
Katie sighed. She didn’t particularly want to go, but the pleading look on Lillian’s face convinced her. She closed her history book and stood up. “All right, let’s go.” She let Lillian lead her down the sunny sidewalk to Lillian’s home, where she piled into the car along with Lillian’s family, and they headed to the depot.
Katie stood beside Lillian, who was bouncing on her toes, on the platform next to the railroad station.
“Here it comes!” Lillian squealed. She pointed down the tracks to a cloud of black smoke rapidly coming closer. This soon took the shape of a train, and Lillian grabbed Katie’s arm in anticipation, now jumping up and down. “It’s coming, it’s coming!”
The train pulled to a stop in front of the waiting group, and passengers disembarked. Lillian eagerly scanned the crowd, sucking in a sharp breath when her brother finally stepped off the iron horse. Katie almost did the same when she saw Matt: thin, pale, haggard, walking slowly with crutches, wincing as if every step was a struggle. When he saw the people waiting for him, however, his face immediately lit up.
Katie hung back while the Osborne family greeted their son and brother. Finally Matt turned to Katie. “Hello, Katydid,” he said, using his nickname for her while pulling her into a hug. “It’s good to see you again.”
“It’s good to see you too, Matt.” Katie gave him a smile and stepped back as his family once again surrounded him. A stab of envy for her friend made her all the more anxious for news from her father and brother. Tears entered her eyes as she thought of all the fond memories she had before the war. I hate this war! She thought of all the times Jeremiah and Josiah, the twins, had come to her rescue, whether it was from bullies or something as simple as a spider. And Dad? He had always been there, always ready to comfort her and listen when she had a problem. But where was he now? Where was the man-
Katie stiffened and slowly turned, for the first time in months daring to believe. Daring to hope. She knew that voice; the voice that had for so long been one of the two voices she longed to hear. She looked up into the face that she had dreamed to see for so long. Tears entered her eyes and spilled over.
“Jerry, Jerry!” She cried, flinging her arms around him. One of his muscular arms surrounded her and pulled her close.
“I’m home, Kate. Home for good,” he whispered into her hair.
Katie pulled back and looked at him confusedly. “Home for good? What-” she broke off when she saw why and gasped. “Oh, Jerry.”
Jeremiah “Jerry” gave her a small smile. “What? My missing arm surprise you?” He lost his smile and rubbed his hand across his eyes. “Boy, am I tired.”
Katie turned to Lillian’s family, who had stopped talking to watch the small reunion. “Mr. Osborne, is there room in your car for one more?”
Mr. Osborne grinned. “I think we can all squeeze in. Come on, let’s go; I think there are some other people that would like to see Jerry.”
Katie turned to her brother. “That reminds me, Jerry, how come you never wrote to say you were coming?”
Jerry put his arm around her and steered her to the Osborne’s car. “I wanted to surprise you; besides, I wasn’t sure when I’d get here. I didn’t even know I was coming,” he muttered this last part under his breath, but Katie heard it. Jerry opened the car door for her, then swung in behind her and shut the door.
“213 Walnut street, if you please, driver,” Jerry said in a British accent to Mr. Osborne.
The man chuckled and replied, “Cheerio, my good man. On our way, then.” They pulled away from the depot and headed to the Judson home. Once there, Katie jumped out of the car before it stopped and ran up the porch steps. As soon as she opened the door she was yelling, “Mom, Mom, come quick! Joey! You’ll never believe this!”
Mom appeared from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel. “What’s wrong, Katie?” She asked.
Joey appeared in the doorway beside her. “Yeah, what’s going on, Kate?”
Katie grinned. She glanced behind her to make sure that Jerry was in place, then announced, “I present to you, Jeremiah Judson, fresh from Norway!”
Mom gasped and grasped the back of a nearby chair as the form of her son filled the doorway. “Oh, Jerry!” She sobbed, rushing forward and flinging her arms around Jerry. She clung to him as if she would never let him go, but finally Jerry peeled her arms off as well as he could with one hand. “You don’t want me to ignore my own twin, do you?” He asked playfully. He went and knelt beside his brother, giving him a bear hug.
Joey’s eyes were moist. “I knew you weren’t dead, Jerry,” he whispered. “In my heart I knew you weren’t gone yet.”
Jerry’s eyes clouded over. “Yes, I made it. But Dad-” He broke off and rubbed his hand over his eyes.
Fear gripped Katie’s heart, and her stomach knotted. “Dad? Is he- is he-”
Jerry looked at her with wet, sorrow-filled eyes. “Yes, Katie, he’s dead; I saw it happen myself.”
Mom closed her eyes and sat down hard into a chair. “Don, oh Don,” she whispered. She raised a tear-streaked face to Jerry. “How did it happen?”
Jerry swallowed and stood up. “I’d rather not talk about it. I’d like to be alone in my room, if you don’t mind.” Without waiting for an answer, he slowly climbed the stairs, leaving Katie, Mom and Joey alone.
“I can’t believe he’s gone.” Joey’s voice cracked, his face was pale and drawn, and he stared straight ahead while tears streamed unchecked down his face. Katie bit her lip as her brother spoke, blinking back tears. “When I had polio, he would come straight to my room after work. He would eat with me, tell me stories. Even when I was left a cripple, he would remind me of God’s grace.” He smiled fondly through his tears at the memory. “Dad was the man that brought me closer to God.”
Katie sobbed silently, her own memories of Dad playing in her mind. Mom stood up on shaky legs. “I’m going out to the garden for a while,” she announced quietly. “Call if you need me.”
“I... I’m going to Lillian’s house.” Katie stood up in a daze, and made her way out of the house. She briskly walked down the sidewalk, one goal in mind: talk to Lillian. When she finally walked up to Lillian’s house, she was about to knock on the door when the sound of laughter came from inside. I don’t want to spoil their fun, she thought to herself. She turned and began walking away when the door opened.
“Katie? Is everything all right?” Lillian’s voice called out to her. Katie turned around, raising her tear-stained face to meet Lillian’s gaze.
“No, Lillian, everything is not all right!” She ran, sobbing, into her friend’s open arms.
Lillian gently turned Katie toward the house. “Come on, let’s go inside and you can tell me all about it.” They entered the house, and Katie suddenly felt self-conscious as Lillian’s parents, two sisters and three brothers stared at her.
“Lillian, I should go,” she whispered.
“Nonsense.” Lillian led her through the living room and to her bedroom, leading Katie to the bed and sitting down beside her. “Now, what’s wrong?”
Katie bit her lip, unsure of what to say. Finally she blurted, “Oh Lillian, he’s dead, he’s dead!”
Lillian looked confused. “Who’s dead, Katie?”
Part 3 coming next week! :)