The car was passing by the road back to house. Julia and her husband were in it. Julia’s husband said,
“Oh, it’s snowy.”
“Is it? It must be beautiful.”
“It’s alright. Snow is just a snow. Too cold outside.”
She didn’t respond. He said,
“Wait, there is something on the middle of field. It doesn’t look small.”
“What is it?”
“It’s too dark to see it. Hmm… It’s nothing. It might be an animal that hit by a car. Like a deer. There are many wild deer around here.”
She looked at the window where he seemed to be looking at. She murmured,
They drove back to their house.
Andy was stabbed by the guy in the stomach. Andy dropped the knife that he picked up. Andy lost the strength to stay standing up. He fell on the ground. The guy who stabbed Andy said,
The other tall guy looked around and said,
“Hey, we gotta go.”
The guy was looking at Andy. The tall guy moved him and ran to the back where they came from. Andy was still conscious. He checked his stomach. The blood began to come out more from his body. He felt that his body was trembling. He could not control his body. He couldn’t move at all. He looked at the front. It was dark around him and he could not find anyone. It was quiet. He recalled the memory. He saw Julia saying, “Over here. Come over here!” It was the day when he was going to camping with her and friends. He thought,
‘Please not now. I need time. Little bit more time.’
He still could not move his body.
‘It seems that all I really was doing was waiting for her. I wanted to see her again even though I must willfully insist against my destiny. There is nothing that doesn’t change. Everything changes, even the person and love. Time may change everything of her, but my memory of loving her of that time and the girl I loved never changes in my heart. I don’t regret. Her. The moment I met her. The time that I loved her alone.’
The girl came back and found Andy lying on the ground. He ran to him. His eyes were closed. He shook his body. He was not breathing anymore. She hugged him. His stomach was covered in blood that she could see it from his red clothes. She lightly swept down the stain. She held his hand and said,
“I love you.”
She said it again. It was the words that she heard from him in the morning. He was not moving anymore. Her eyes became red. Tears started to well up in her eyes. She wanted to see his smiling face. She has hoped his happiness. But he was not moving anymore. She carried him on her back and went to middle of the field. Andy’s body lied down sideway. She lied down next to him and held inside of him. Then she felt something on her face. She stood up. She looked around the field. She could see faint lights around her coming from the far city. The snow started to fall. She walked around the field. It was the snow that she saw at the college. The snow was accumulating on her head and body. She felt cold in her hands. She went back to where he was lying down sideway. She lied down next to him and held him. She closed her eyes.
Andy and a girl finished eating the dinner. Andy said,
“Can I get the bill, please?”
The female employee brought the receipt for his table. Andy gave her a good enough tip. He glanced at the table where the two guys are sitting. They were not looking at him. He thought he was just being a little sensitive. Andy and a girl got out of the restaurant. He looked around a gas station and a restaurant. It got really dark. It was already 9pm. There were several streetlamps between the distances. There was a flat and wide field in front of him. There was no car on the road. He saw the mountains above the field and faint lights of the city at the opposite of the mountains at the end of the road. Andy and a girl started walking toward the house again.
Suddenly, the two guys that Andy saw in the restaurant started walking to Andy and a girl. He heard the footsteps of them. He looked back over his shoulder. When they got close to Andy, one of the guys who is taller than the other talked to Andy.
“Hey there! Are you having a good time with your cute girlfriend?”
Andy did not reply anything. He started to get worried. He glanced at a girl next to him. She was looking at them right next to Andy. She looked nervous. He shortly looked around him. There was no one passing by. He looked at them. The tall guy took out the knife out of his pocket and put it in front of Andy’s face. He said threateningly,
“Give me your wallet if you don’t want to die.”
Andy did not say anything. He was thinking what to do. He didn’t have much cash in his wallet. The other guy tried to touch the face of a girl. The guy said,
“Woo, she is a cutie.”
Andy moved her behind of him with his arm to not let him touch her. They were burglars. He thought they might be targeting the rich guys around here. They were right in front of him with the knife. He could give his wallet to them, but he was worried about the girl behind him holding his arm. He thought,
‘I should protect her.’
“Okay,” and pretended to get the wallet from the inside of his jacket. Andy struck out the knife that he was holding and kicked him in the stomach. The tall guy tumbled back to the back. The other guy hit Andy’s face with his fist, and Andy threw his body to him. He looked back at her and yelled at her,
A girl was hesitating to leave or not from his yelling but then she started running to the road that they were walking. He looked back to check her leaving there. Andy kicked him and saw the tall guy charging at him with the knife. Andy held his arm and started struggling with him. Andy punched him. He picked up the knife that the tall guy dropped on the ground. When Andy punched him, the other guy was taking out his knife and charging at Andy.
Andy was standing outside the house waiting for Julia. A girl was standing next to him. He thought she would be cold. It wasn’t snowy but it was quite windy. She was trembling her body by the coldness. He thought,
‘I should have brought a car. Maybe I should have not come with her.’
He looked around the road. There was no space to park the car on the road outside the house. He knew that before he came here. It would have not been a long talking with Julia. He looked at a girl. It’s been thirty minutes since he was standing there. She thought she should have not come here with him because she thought was disturbing him. She didn’t know why he was here. It seemed the person in the house was important person to him. Even though the person inside the house was someone Andy loves, she wanted to stick with him. She wanted him to always be with her. It was getting colder as the night comes. He started to get worried about her than himself. He remembered there was a gas station and a restaurant if they walk following the road from the house. The place was far from the city and the small several stores were in the middle of the field.
‘It would be better if we get there first. I will be able to come back here at not too late time later.’
He started to get hungry and so did she. He started walking the road with her. After the thirty minutes of walking, they arrived at the gas station. There was an ordinary restaurant next to the gas station. He saw the signboard saying Yard House. There was a big field around the restaurant. They entered the restaurant. There were not a lot of people inside. Two men in a same table, and a man was sitting on the separate tables. He has never been here before. When they entered the restaurant, a female worker greeted them. She guided them to an empty table. Andy and a girl ordered the food. He ordered meatloaf with baked beans and Fajitas. They could share the foods together in different dishes. She was not familiar with using fork and he knew it. He moved the foods from the bowl to the dish and gave it to her. He said to her,
“Take this and see how I use the fork.”
He took out some foods for his dish as well. He tried to show her how to use it. She used the fork fumblingly. He saw her struggling with it. She somehow started eating the foods. Andy felt a glance. The two guys from the other table glanced at Andy and a girl. Andy noticed them. The two guys were wearing black coats. They started talking in whisper looking at Andy and a girl.
Andy and a girl started walking to the place where Julia lives. It was distant from the city. The girl wanted to follow him wherever he goes. She walked next to him. The street road to the house was surrounded by the timbered trees. They walked together for around forty minutes to get to Julia’s house. They arrived at the house and stood in front of the door. It was bigger house than he thought. She married the rich guy who lives in this big house. It might have been meaningless even if he says that he loves her. She was even blind now. He was not as rich as her husband. Suddenly, he shrank away. Reality came around him. It was strange thing to visit her like this. He was just following his feelings. He has been painful for a long time by himself. Love has never been tiring thing for him. He wanted to see her even though she pushes him away with anger. The happy time he has spent with her with smile became tears in his heart. Just seeing her might be good for him. He thought,
“Has she ever thought of me as a man? Has she cried for me when everyone thought I’m dead?”
He couldn’t abandon the memories with her. He had to keep looking for her. Why can’t he love her? He thought he is not confident enough to live without her. He couldn’t just forget her. But he forgot that he can’t have her looking at the house. Andy and a girl went to the front door of the house. It was quiet around the house. He knocked on the door. He was getting nervous. He didn’t know what to say to her. When the door was opened, a mid-thirties woman with a maid uniform came out of the door. He said,
“Hello. My name is Andy. I’m Julia’s friend.”
“Oh, you mean Mrs. Beasley. How can I help you?”
He felt unfamiliar with the different name.
“Is she in the house now?”
“No, they went on outings. They are not here now.”
“I guess I’m late. Do you know when they come back?”
“They will probably be back tonight. Would you like to leave a name or a message? She will be happy to meet a friend because no one has ever visited her since she came here.”
“No, you don’t have to. I will be back later.”
Andy and a girl left the house. It was getting dark outside. Since it’s winter, the night was coming earlier than usual. It was now snowy, but it was still cold outside. He did not think what to say to her. She would not be able to see his face. He was wondering if she would recognize his voice. He decided to wait for her. He stood there waiting for her even though it was getting darker around him.
Andy and a girl left the clothes they bought and went to the college he was attending. Andy wanted to visit the college. It is the place where he has many good memories. He met Julia for the first time there. He went to the classroom building that he fell in love at first sight with Julia. It was the end of the winter semester in the college. Some students were walking around the campus. There Andy was standing in front of the door looking at Julia who is walking with her friend toward the door. He was seeing illusionary Julia again as if he is in a dream. He wanted to see her again. He thought it was okay just to see her again. There was no guaranteed promise between Andy and Julia. He thought she wouldn’t know that he is still alive. He sat on the bench. A girl was playing with the snow around him. She has never seen the snow in her life because she has lived her whole life in the island of Arabian sea. She touched the snow with bare hands. He didn’t know where Julia was living. He thought Matt might know where she is living now. He called Matt and he answered the phone soon.
“Hey Matt, how’s it going?”
“It’s alright. How are you doing, Andy?”
“I’m doing fine. Do you know where Julia lives?”
“Julia? Umm. I think she said she is living around Madison. Yeah, she lives there.”
“Do you know the exact address?”
“Yes. Give me a moment.”
Matt was away from phone call for a moment and talked to Andy again.
“It’s 504 Pine Street.”
“Does she know that I’m back here?”
“I don’t think so unless someone talked to her about you. I haven’t talked to her for a while either. Do you want me to tell her?”
“No, you don’t have to. Thank you for the address.”
“No problem. She would be glad if she knew you are alive.”
“I’ll talk to you later, Matt.”
“Sure, Andy. Is everything good for real?”
“Yeah, yeah. Everything’s fine.
“Okay. Let me know if you need anything.”
Andy hung up the phone and checked the address of where Julia is. The place was not that far. There weren’t many houses near that location. He had to drive up the hill and go near the mountain. He has had driven around there and several big houses were in quite distances. He had thought those houses are for the rich people. He looked at the girl. She was still crouching and playing with the snow. He went to her and crouched next to her. He said,
“Isn’t it cold? Are you okay with your hands?”
He rubbed her hands with his hands. She was crouching still. He felt that her hands were cold and wet. She thought his face looked sad.
Andy and a girl went into the mall. There were quite a lot of people. It’s been a while since he came to the mall in the town. Nothing has changed. The world was still going when he was in the island. He looked for the women’s clothing department. He went upstairs. A lot of clothes were in front of them. Everything was new in the eyes of a girl. She couldn’t take the eyes off them. There he visited a corner and asked female employee,
“Hello, I’d like to buy some clothes for the girl here. Could you help me with it?”
The female employee thought that the girl is not his sister because her skin color was different than his. She thought a girl is someone he knows. She asked,
“What would you like to see?”
“I think sweaters, pants, or jackets would be good for this winter. Like warm clothes.”
He thought she has lived her life in a warm climate so the winter in here could be cold for her. She said,
“Come with me, please”
She took them to the sweater clothes rack. She said,
“How do you like these sweaters? It’s a trend nowadays. They come out in different colors too.”
The employee looked at them, but a girl did not say anything. He said,
“That looks good.”
He looked at her. Since she did not show any response for it, he picked the color. He said to a girl,
“This dark red sweater looks good to me. What do you think?”
She opened her eyes wide and pointed at herself looking at him. He replied,
“Yes. This is for you.”
Then he picked up the sweater and put it in front of her. He said,
“I think it will fit you well.”
She looked back at him and the sweater. She liked it. She liked that he was picking the clothes for her.
The employee said,
“It fits her very well. This red sweater is the most popular one.”
He looked at the girl. She didn’t seem to dislike it. He said,
“I will take it. Show us other clothes too.”
Andy and the girl looked around more clothes in the women’s clothing department. They spent almost two hours. He has never had a sister, but he thought it would be like this if he had one. She seemed to enjoy the shopping, so he was glad that he brought her to the mall. They bought two long sleeves shirts, two sweaters, two pants, and one big jacket. He saw her making satisfied face before they come out of the mall.
The night came and everyone in the home fell asleep. A girl from island was staying awake in an empty room. They had an extra room that has not been used. She could not sleep yet. She thought,
‘What would he think if I go close to him? What would he think of me? I can’t be brave because I’m afraid of what could happen. I’m silly. I can only look at him from here. I’m afraid he might leave me. Now I’m thinking of the scars and sad days that could happen to me later. If he comes close to me, I wouldn’t know what to do even though it’s what I’ve been waiting from him. How could my heart hurt so much? How could I want someone like this?’
Although she knew he won’t come to her, she was expecting him. She laid down on the bed and looked at the ceiling. She was happy to be here, but she was anxious as well.
‘If I have a tantrum and cry to him, would he know my mind? When will my mind be comfortable? I want to know everything about him. When was the first time he came to my mind? I don’t want to make bad face in front of him. He never did to me. I want to keep my heart only for him. I will not give it to anyone else. I will be waiting for him alone.’
She fell asleep after a while. The morning came. Andy and the girl left the home in the morning. He took her to the car. He drove his car and she sat next to him in the passenger seat. She didn’t know where he was taking her. She was going to follow him everywhere he goes. She thought he felt little bit different.
‘Something happened to you?’
She thought that he looked tired. Andy started talking even though he knew she wouldn’t understand what he was talking about. He said,
“How are you? Did you sleep well?”
She didn’t say anything, but she just looked at him.
“There is a girl that I have loved. Her name is Julia. I just loved her by myself. I have never showed her my feelings. But she is married now. I think I still love her. I love her a lot.”
When he said that he loves her a lot, he looked at her. She was looking at him. She didn’t understand what he was talking about. But she felt something from his face. She found that his face looked sad and dark. She murmured,
“I love her.”
Andy heard it and said, “Yes, I love her.”
He pointed at himself, “I,” and pointed at her, “You,” and he said, “Love.”
They stopped by the mall and he parked the car in the parking lot. Andy got out of the car, so she got out too. He said, “Let’s go,” and walked to the mall. They started walking to the mall. She followed him. She walked next to him.
‘Whatever you say, I will always hold it onto me. My heart for you has become bigger inside of me, but you wouldn’t be like me because you are not me. I just like you by myself. I’m just happy staying with you. Can I hold your hand? Can I feel your warmness? Can I stay with you?”
The words did not fall from her mouth. Her eyes were quivering. Now she could hear her heartbeat in her ears.
When Andy and his parents returned to the home, she was still wearing the training uniform that she received from the Air Force. Andy’s mother lent her clothes. After they got home, Andy’s mother started to make a dinner for Andy. Matt who is Andy’s old colleague visited to see him. When Matt’s car arrived at Andy’s home, Andy opened the door to see him outside. They hugged each other. Matt said,
“I thought you were dead, Andy. I’m glad you are alive. Really. I missed you.”
Andy said, “I missed you too, buddy. I survived.”
They were hugging each other for a while. Matt asked,
“What happened to you?”
“I will tell you everything. Thank you for coming, Matt. Let’s go inside. It’s cold here.”
It was December. The outside was freezing with the grounded snow. They went inside together. Andy’s mother greeted Matt and she shook his hands. Andy introduced him to his mother.
“Mom, this is Matt. We used to work in the same company. He is my friend.”
Matt said, “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Edwards. I’m Matt.”
She said, “Nice to meet you too, Matt. I’m glad you came. I was making a dinner now. Have a dinner with us.”
Andy’s mother prepared a lot of foods for Andy. Matt found the girl from the island. She was standing next to the stairs that go to second floor. She was alert to everything. Matt asked in curiosity,
“Who is she?”
Andy said, “She was with me in the island. We got out of there together.”
Matt made a face that he did not understand what Andy said. Then Matt found Andy’s father coming out of the room. Matt greeted him as well.
They all sat at the big table surrounding it. They were having a good dinner that Andy’s mother put effort in it. Andy explained to everyone what happened during the first mission he had. He explained how he arrived island, how he lived there, and how he got out of there.
Andy’s mother said,
“It must be really hard time. I’m so happy you came back to us. We were so worried about you.”
Andy’s father said to Andy,
“Your mom did not sleep every night talking about you. I said Andy will come back to us so don’t worry about him,” he said with a smile. “So, what are you going to do with her?”
Andy’s father glanced at the girl. Andy said,
“It seemed she wanted to leave the island too. Probably, she might have to go back to island later. Until then, I will stay with her.”
“So, she was hiding in your raft?”
They all looked at the girl in short moment. She didn’t know what they were talking about, but she felt that they were looking at her. She looked at them and Andy said,
“I will take care of her.”
Andy’s mother said,
“We don’t mind she is staying with us.” She looked at Andy’s father next to her.
Andy’s father said,
“Not at all.”
“Thanks mom and dad. Tomorrow, I will go to mall with her to buy her clothes and anything she will need. And I will show her how it is around here.”
Andy’s mother said,
“Okay, it’s better to get used to here.”
They finished eating foods. They cleaned the table. Only Andy and Matt were still sitting at the table. Matt was about to leave soon. Andy asked Matt,
“How’s Julia? Is she okay?”
“She got better a lot. She seemed to accept the reality that she cannot see anymore. Oh, you wouldn’t know this. She was married few weeks ago. Her father’s friend is a rich guy and his son liked Julia. He still liked her even though she is blind. I heard he is living in a big house with the chauffeur and house maids. They got married. I guess that’s good for her.”
In the middle of the sea, the Navy ship saved Andy and a girl. They offered enough food and water to them. They were medically checked by the medics in the ship. Andy had a conversation with the commander of the ship, and he identified himself as an Air Force pilot. Although it was hard to explain about the girl, he told them everything happened to him during the mission including the death of First Lieutenant Robinson. The Navy ship’s commander said that several ships was patrolling the area of Arabian Sea of Oman to search the jet planes and reinforce the alert after the two pilots of United States got shot down. Andy told them he was one of the two pilots. He didn’t have a time to be sad for his senior officer’s death. Andy felt that he was dead indeed from that assault from enemies after all. The Navy commander immediately contacted Air Force to inform about Andy.
He stayed in the ship with her, and he took her everywhere. To be more precisely, it was her who followed Andy everywhere he went. When he returned to the Air Force base thanks to Navy, he was still with her. His parents were notified by Air Force that he survived the shot down, so they came to see him Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan which is his first duty station. All the personnel in Air Force base welcomed his return. One of the officers in his company gave him tip off that he will be awarded. He did not return to work immediately. While he was staying in the base, he was called to commander’s office to talk about what will happen. He discussed with the commander what he wanted to do. He was told that his parents will be coming to base soon. Andy told his commander that he will be a responsible guardian of the girl for now. He decided to be on leave and his commander in Air Force approved his leave without hesitation. He wanted to go back to see Julia wherever she was at. However, he didn’t know exactly what to do with a girl he is with. He was the only person she could rely on. He told his parents that a girl will have to stay with him for now until he finds where she can stay.
He returned to his home with family and her. His parents thought Andy was dead, and so did his all friends because of his missing. Julia heard about Andy’s missing too. Andy’s mother recalled memory of the day the military soldiers visited her home. After the complete missing of Andy, Air Force sent the military personnel to his home that Andy is missing by the shot down. Two months ago, she was working at the kitchen in the morning waiting for Andy’s contact. She was thinking that Andy could not keep in touch with her because of busy works. She saw that three guys stepped out of car. They were wearing military uniforms. They walked in a row. She saw them through window coming to her house. Something choked her and it spread to her whole body. Ominous feeling flashed through her mind. She thought what might be coming, and that might not be what she was thinking. But her lips started to trembling cornering downward from the edge of it.