December 7, 1917

January 4, 2009
By Chandni Samtani, Guangzhou, ZZ

I remember that day; it was my last with him- December 7, 1917. As usual, the sun was out, and the smell of dandelions lingered in the air…

“You can’t catch me!” I yelled, laughing as I ran through the field. Tom followed close behind, his golden brown locks bouncing on his head.

“You better run, Karen! I’m coming!” he yelled back.

I turned around to smile at him, and he ran towards me at full force, and hugged me tightly. We both fell on the field, laughing. We gazed up at the clouds, and embraced the silence that we shared for several minutes.

I turned and looked at Tom. He was looking upwards, a smile on his face. I turned over to look at the other side, and saw a dandelion there.

“Tom, look!”

Tom got up and looked at me; I plucked the dandelion loose from the grass, and put it between us.

“Make a wish, Tom.”

He looked at me, and blew the dandelion away. We watched as the seeds disappeared in the wind.

“What’d you wish for?” I asked.

“I wished that I could stay here with you, Karen. That we could stay here forever.”

I got up and gave him a tight hug. We sat there for several minutes, just hugging each other.

Suddenly, the field got dark.

Tom looked up, and horror filled his face.

“Karen, get down!” he yelled, and threw himself over me.

Just like that, he was gone.


Three days later, I woke up. I found myself lying in a white bed all alone, no one around me. I tried moving my right arm, but it was connected to some sort of tubes, and there was clear liquid, almost like water, dripping into it. I started looking around, and saw a red button on the side of my bed. Lifting my un-tubed left hand, I clicked on the button. Nothing happened. I sat there, for numerous seconds, clicking on the button. Finally, I found out its purpose-

“Yes Karen, did you call?” asked a lady in white who had just walked in the room. She stood at the doorway, holding a tray with several bottles on it.

“No. I… I didn’t call you.” I replied.

“Did you press the red button?”

“Well, yes. Yes I did.”

“Then you did call me.” She smiled sweetly at me. “Is there anything you need Karen?”

“Can you tell me where I am?”

She smiled as soon as I had asked the question; it was almost as if she thought I was sick, or insane, or something.

“You’re in a hospital, sweetie.”

I looked up at her, my eyes huge. I had heard stories about this place, but my family could never afford coming here if any of us fell sick. Instead, we would get better on Mom’s homemade herbal medicine.

“Where’s my mom?” I asked. I wanted Mom to come take me away, I wanted to go home, and I wanted to see Tom.

And that’s when it struck me- Tom. I paid no attention to the woman in white (who by that time I assumed was the nurse), and had only grasped her last few words.

“… and I’m really sorry that she didn’t make it alive Karen.”

My head shot up, and tears filled my eyes. She didn’t make it alive? How?

“What? How? How did that happen?”

“The bomb. The bomb killed thousands Karen. It’s almost amazing that you survived. You survived with only some third degree burns. It’s a miracle- you wouldn’t have lived it if wasn’t for that daring young boy who had sacrificed himself by covering you from the bomb.”

“So they’re gone?” My voice sounded like it would crack, and I struggled to hold back tears. “They’re all gone? My mom, my dad, and… and the daring young boy?

“I’m sorry, Karen.” the nurse said; that was all she said.

I was released the next day, but I had no where to go. Everyone I loved, gone; everyone I loved, dead.

I walked off into the distance, the loss of Tom aching in my heart.

Yeah, I remember that day, and everything that happened from then, till now. Fifteen years later, and I still remember Tom. Fifteen years later, and I still miss him, I still love him.

The figure next to me moved, and I turned to look at him. He lay there, and I could hear his heavy breathing. I quickly picked up my clothes from around his bed, and put them on.

Don’t judge me on what I do for a living- I don’t know why I had gotten myself in to this business, and why I still do it. I guess it’s because I’m desperate, and I’m hungry. It isn’t the best pay, but there is nothing else I can do, nothing else I am capable of doing.

I zipped my jeans up, and walked towards his balcony. I climbed on top of the railing, and stood at the edge.

I remember that day; it was my last with him- December 7, 1917. The sun was out, and the smell of dandelions lingered in the air. Tom has always been a part of me, and without him, it feels like a part of me is missing.

“Time to meet him again,” I said, and with that, I took a step forward, and felt the cold air on me as I fell towards the ground.

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