SeHee, Age 12, Langley, BC

“Phillip, how many days are there left for Mom to come to home?” asked Josh, looking endearingly at his elder brother who was enormous to Josh.

With Josh’s best baby voice, he always managed to ask the same question every day. Josh had yellowish-gold short curly hair which made him look like cutup boy.

“Ten days, Josh. Ten days until our Mom is coming.”

Phillip stroked his brother’s soft hair slowly, and smiled bitterly. He felt guilty to lie to his brother every time Josh inquired, but Phillip didn’t want his adorable, little, immature brother to be hurt. Not in physically, he meant mentally. He knew how people felt by not having parents at such a young age. It was a complicated feeling, the word that only could fit in was ‘shocked’. Simply shocked, and suddenly all the tears come out simultaneously. Then, as the time pass, the children cry though they have forgotten the reason why.

“Really, Phillip? Only ten days left?” Josh clapped his hands cheerfully and he jumped around the room. The dust was now flying everywhere, making the room all white. Gradually, the dust all vanished into the air. To be frank, Josh and Phillip didn’t have a mother. Their mother was in the sky where nobody could reach. She was higher than the skyscrapers, and she was everywhere looking down at them. Phillip believed when there was rain it was his mother’s endless tears, and when there was a faint rainbow he thought as if she were showing magic tricks as she used to do when she was alive.

Alive was a strong word. There were only two choices: alive or dead. Now, Phillip was old enough to know there weren’t many choices. He also knew death was sometimes unpredictable like his mother’s, and there wasn’t any choice for humans to choose.

Phillip believed it would have been much better, no it must be much better, if his mother was alive. He could actually have an education just like other kids, rather than going to the construction place to convey bricks. His hands were rough and crooked, indeed his face was almost blackish-brown because of the countless sunburn. He looked aged more than he actually was, and there was his habit of saying, “When I was young…” Surprisingly, he was only fourteen, and this age was too young an age to say, “when I was young.”

One day, Josh cried as he went back from pre-school. He didn’t seem to have been hit by other kids, but something was wrong with him. Josh ran toward Phillip and grasped his shirt tightly, not letting go. Though, Phillip’s shirt was all muddy and smelled with his sweat, Josh didn’t complain about those things. He just wailed and blubbered until he became quiet when he was whimpering.

“Phillip, is that true that our mom is dead?” Josh softly whispered, but didn’t have eye contact with Phillip. Josh looked at the small, tiny, microscopic door, recollecting his memories, the last time of his mom’s appearance. Faintly, Josh remembered his mother having curly brown hair, and had freckles on her cheeks. In his memory, his mom was driving for her job. Nobody knew she was a bad driver until she had a car accident and went to  heaven.

Phillip nodded but didn’t utter a word. He was perplexed. ‘How did Josh get to know?’ he thought, pondering to himself as he hugged Josh when Josh ran toward him.

“Phillip is a liar! You told me that… that… mom will be home in ten days!” Josh shouted at his elder brother as he pushed him aside and burst out the door making a thumping sound. The door seemed to have cracked and the doorknob seemed to have loosened.

Phillip automatically followed his brother, and clutched him tightly so he won’t get out from him. He hugged his little brother hard and whispered in his ears.

“See that, Josh? It is raining outside. Mom is crying. She is sorry, that she couldn’t make her promise,” Phillip whispered quietly to calm his brother. “Thus, our mom is very close to us. Whenever we think of her, as you do, she will always be in our heart. Always.”

During this quiet time, looking at raindrops rolling down the roof, dropping on a puddle, or being absorbed by the ground, Josh slowly returned to his calmness. The dark clouds never seemed to clear. The dark clouds covered the sky of these boys’ view, and it made a humongous shadow drawn up.

Then, magically, there was sunshine peeking through these thick grey clouds. It was a usual small part of ray to others, but to these boys this ray was called ‘hope’; the hope of being survived by these harsh conditions, the hope of being actually educated like others, and the hope of being in union with their family.

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