There Is No Perfect Place
I think back far in time. I was young at the time; I was outside in the back yard playing catch with my brothers. I believe I was ten at the time. My dad was on his way home from work. The day was perfect and nothing bad could wrong. Those were the days of true happiness blissful peace. I didn’t have to reach nirvana to be at peace. I just was.
My mother was there, my beautiful mother wearing her apron and her long flowing blond hair tied back. Her sharp blue eyes could pierce your heart yet they were warm and comforting. Her voice was of an angel’s when she spoke. She was watching us play she was happy even though we were extremely poor. She was taking a break from making supper.
My younger sister Ada stood at the door beside mother she was helping her make supper, she was truly beautiful. I never got to tell her how much I loved her. She was the youngest in the family. Yet there was something about her, her true innocence was wonderful. Although physically her heart was weak, emotionally her heart was strong. Some day I would like to make things right for other families by making an advance in medical technology. And she was happy until her last days. Mother turned around and went inside. Little Ada turned and followed her in. Bless her little heart, it could not pump as fast as ours but it could beat our courage down any time in a race.
My older brother Adrian was wearing a bright t-shirt and beige shorts. He was a wise brother indeed; unlike the other children on the street he did not beat me. And my respect grew for him as time went on. Although he went on to fail many times because he rebelled against father’s wishes, I still loved him for who he was and what he had done for us in the past. He lacked the respect for father I always had. He would not know for years to come that he would be the man of the house.
My older sister Jana, she was forever beautiful and young. Yet she was foolish and lacked wisdom she found a way to get away from this wretched place. She married a young American tourist, when she was 17, and moved to the states. She was safe from the cruelties of this side of the world. She was continents away living the American dream. She was inside cleaning up as usual helping mother with things, playing with Ada.
My younger brother, Ferdinand, was watching us play intuitively. How I wish I could spend more time with Ferdinand. He watched closely as we threw the rugged ball back and forth. Occasionally we would toss him the ball so he would not go rat us out to mom. The baseball was torn to shreds from years of being thrown onto the ground from glove to glove-from father to son.
My dad worked five to five everyday; he tried his hardest to provide for us. After the Great War there was no loose money to spare. We never went without eating. If there was no food for him he let us eat first, and if there was no food for mother or father…he would let us kids eat. He would work long hard days. Day in and Day out he toiled in the factory producing a product I do not remember anymore. The company is long out of business now. He was the greatest man I had ever met and ever will know of. He taught me and my sibling’s lessons that you could not learn at any school. Most of all he taught me things that the other fathers didn’t. He taught me how to be honorable how to be brave and courageous, he showed me true wisdom. He showed me how to be humble and bow before the feet of the King, my God. He told me many great things. He was the greatest mentor a boy could have. He led me into teen hood. I believe he left this world to early. But I always believed that he was watching over me in good times and bad. He walked beside me in the good times and he carries me through the bad. He is my strength when I have none and he is my inspiration to strive harder to be better.
Suddenly I wasn’t playing memories over in my head and was apart of them. “Lukas, Adrian, Ferdinand supper is ready!” my mothers sweet voice rang as we were throwing the ball. Adrian threw the ball at me and ran in to get servings first. Ferdinand stood there wide eyed in wonder why Adrian had done so. “Come on Ferdinand lets go.” I said as walked passed him into the house.
“Why did Adrian throw the ball at you?” he asked still in wonder.
“So he could get his food first.” I replied back. “Let’s go dad will be home soon.”
“Okay, Luk.” Ferdi responded and followed me in. I walked down the hall towards the kitchen; it was a small house considering seven people lived in it. I walked past my room, the door was open and I could see a pile of dirty laundry strewn across the floor. Ferdi, Adrian and I shared a room together it was one of the biggest rooms. But half of the house lived in it. And I looked to the left of the house and seen the girls room. Ada and Jana shared a room as well; their room was always neat and tidy. ‘Girls I thought in my head…always cleaning and such.’ There was a small bathroom across from the kitchen we all shared it. It was especially hectic in mornings before school. I stopped in the hall to look at the sketches my mother had done a long time ago. Ferdi walked past me, I caught up and raced past him the few short feet to the kitchen. “What is for supper?” I asked as I walked into the room.
“I made spaghetti and vegetables!” Ada replied giddy with excitement.
“Oh really…” I responded to that.
“Hurry up and serve yourself were all waiting for you to pray.” Mom said.
“Sorry mom” I grabbed a plate and served myself what was left of the spaghetti and the plenty of vegetables that Adrian had left me. I sat down on my side of the table as usual beside Ferdinand.
“Who wants to say the blessing?” mother asked as she took her seat at one head of the table. The other end was empty and a plate of food was laid out for dad. ‘He would be here any minute he usually interrupts the prayer’ I thought. “Lukas? You want to say the blessing.” Mom asked me.
“Uhh…Yes. Bless our lord with these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy…thy-”
“-bounty, through Christ our Lord, Amen.” Mother said finishing my sentence as I forgot the ending of the prayer.
“Thanks mom” I said just loud enough for her to hear me. I took a bite of my food then another and another and soon enough my plate of food was gone. It was so good I started to lick my plate. I hadn’t noticed until now that father hadn’t arrived yet. Mother looked worried when I looked into her eyes.
Just as I was thinking of the worst that could’ve happened I heard the door open, I ran to the front hall and seen father standing there with sad eyes and a forced smile, I jumped into his arms anyways and gave him a big hug. I looked down and seen Ada and Ferdi jumping up to give him hugs too asking him how his day was, what he did at work. Not understanding at the time what was going on. I heard him call my brother Adrian into the living room; he said they had to talk man to man. Father lead Adrian into the living room and father shut the sliding doors so we could not see or hear what was going on. I walked to my room and lay down on to my lower bunk. From here I could here perfectly into the living room. Father began to speak with a shaky voice trying to cover it up with a stern tone.
He began to speak “The times are tough right now, I have already told your mother. There is bad news-”he stopped and I could hear him sigh through the wall as he prepared to say one of the hardest things to tell a boy. He began again and I could imagine my brother’s solemn eyes staring up at my humbled father. “I lost my job today; you will have to be the man of the house while I am gone. I am going to be working day and night so you can have food.”
My brother spoke out and asked a question “Why are you losing your job?”
My fathers reply to this was “I have no answer to why they have fired me. But I have an alternate answer and calling. There is no perfect place – only better places. And that was job was just a stop along the way. I will find a better place.” And with those final words I heard my father’s footsteps out of the room. And a few minutes later I heard my brothers walking towards my room.
After Lukas goes comatose from an artillery blast he ghosts his way through time, to a time where he was young and carefree. Memories of home and family before the war started.
Flickering Lights Poetry (Prologue)
Flickering Lights Chapter 1
Written by: Jonah Mullen
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Copyright Jonah Mullen 2009