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Home is Anywhere

Suzan Lettermen was an only child, used to having her own way. As a result, she didn’t like change, not at all. So when her mother, Ellen Lettermen, called Suzan into their bright, spacious kitchen, she knew it couldn’t be anything good.

It was a lovely day in early May, one of the first real balmy days of the coming summer. The windows in the kitchen were thrown open in hopes of tempting a soft blue breeze, but all that had been accomplished so far was being able to pour cup after cup of clear golden sunshine into the room. The countertops, freshly washed, were sparkling like dew on a spring morning, or diamonds held up to light.

Suzan, noticing none of this, flounced into the room. When she saw the seriousness on her mother’s face, her smile turned down into a panicky look.

“What? Is it dad?” Suzan said in a voice high-pitched, quite unlike her normal one. “I knew this would happen, I told him not to go!” She began to cry.

“Suzan, honey, it’s not daddy.” Ellen said, hugging her daughter, “But it’s just as important.”


Suzan looked up, sniffed, and asked, “What could be as important as daddy fighting in the war?”

“Remember your Aunt Dorothy?” Suzan nodded, wondering what on Earth her mother was talking about. “You see, her husband’s brother lives in Poland. His home got bombed by the German air force, called the Luftwaffe. Do you remember him? His name is Jedrek Rutkowski.”

“Yes, I remember, but what are you talking about?” Suzan cried, getting more and more perplexed.

“Since their home got bombed, both he and his wife think it would be best if their daughter. Macie Rutkowski, get out of the country before the Germans make it impossible, which won’t be long.” Suzan’s mother began to talk fast now, as though she wanted to end this conversation as quickly as possible. “Well, they don’t have any relatives, and as Aunt Dorothy doesn’t have any room at her house, with four kids and Marke away in the military, I offered to take the little girl in for as long as needed.”

Suzan’s mouth fell wide open. “Mother!”

“Suzan. It’s our duty to helping in the war. Just because you have to share your room for a few months…”

“What!” Suzan shrieked. “Share my room. What will Mary and Lillian say about this?” With that, she strode from the room.

“Suzan, wait!” Ellen called, but Suzan was already gone.



The train belched out a long stream of billowing black smoke. It was noon, and the next train, the one holding Macie Rutkowski, had come into the station about five minutes before. Ellen and, not wanting to be there, Suzan, had come into the crowded, dirty station, to collect the little Polish girl from the train. Ellen, with a firm grip on Suzan, pushed her way through the people until they came to a small, dark-haired girl, about ten years old, standing by herself next to a small shabby suitcase.

“Honey, are you Macie Rutkowski?” Ellen said, knelling down beside the girl. The girl, perhaps reacting to her name, nodded.

“Okay, let’s go honey.” Ellen said to Macie. “Suzan, can you grab her suitcase? Come on, let’s go dears.”

Suzan picked up the suitcase resentfully, and stalked away.

Macie took Ellen’s hand and allowed herself to be led away.



Two weeks later, Suzan had told her friends; Mary and Lillian, about Macie, and the trio couldn’t help but be unfriendly to her. The rest of the girls at the exclusive public school they went to were surprised that was how the Lettermen’s decided to help win the war, by taking in a girl barely related to them. But then, the school Suzan went to was full of snobby girls who were rich like Suzan.

Macie just didn’t understand why she couldn’t be friends with Suzan. She was different, because she spoke Polish, but other than that, she couldn’t think of another reason they were different. She couldn’t find a place to call home in London, not yet anyway.
The dusk of the humid day was as sticky as syrup as Suzan jerked Macie along the main street of their neighborhood. Suzan had been instructed to take Macie for a walk before night fell. But Suzan had lingered with Mary for a little while, resulting in darkness sweeping around them as they hurried home.
“Come on Macie, we have to get home in time.” Suzan snapped at the little girl. Macie looked up at Suzan with wide eyes.
Suzan was about to snap again when the sirens started. All at once the city erupted around them; people were screaming, running, and Suzan felt Macie’s hand slid away from hers…
Suzan was being pushed by the oncoming crowd- she could go to the bomb shelter, or she could try to find Macie. The seconds blended together, her fate and Macie’s hung in the balance. In a flash, she saw Macie’s town being bombed. She realized, in that moment, that she and Macie had more in common then she knew. She had to try to protect her from this horror that was happening to her once more. On her right, a building caught fire. The BOOM that followed shook Suzan to her senses. She knew what she must do. She weaved throughout the crowd, shouting “MACIE” over and over; trying to find the girl she had been mean to… Macie couldn’t die…
There! Under a piece of wood, a small hand protruded, followed by the pink dress mother had made her. Suzan pushed against the wood, and with a burst of strength, rolled it off Macie. “Stand up!” Suzan cried. “We have to get to the bomb shelter!”
Macie somehow understood, and tried twice to stand but couldn’t. Suzan grabbed the girl and threw her on her back and began to run past flaming buildings and jumping over fallen pieces of wood. Suzan ran as she had never in her life, until she got to the safety of the bomb shelter. She wretched the door open and slammed it shut a second later.
“Suzan! Macie! Thank the Lord!” Suzan’s mother dragged the exhausted Suzan and injured Macie over to the beds.

Then Ellen’s face swam into Suzan’s view. “Mother!” She cried. They were alive.

Suzan took the Macie’s hand and led her out to the porch. It was five days later, and both were healing. Macie scrambled into a chair and sank into it.
“Macie, I’m sorry.” Suzan’s face was glistening with tears. She was no longer a selfish rich girl, she cared for Macie, had given her a home at last.

“Listen. Do you want me to teach you English?” Suzan pronounced each word carefully, using some sign language.
Macie’s face lit up. “Me?” She asked, using one of the only English words she knew.
“Yes. I will teach you, so you can be ready for school.” Suzan continued, feeling the breeze playing, tugging at her hair. “I would love to.”
Macie’s face cracked into a huge grin that spread from ear to ear. She was no longer alone, because for now, she was home.
-Home is anywhere, as long as people care about you there-



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

penguin35 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 10, 2010 at 2:13 pm
I love the second paragraph where you wrote "all that had been accomplished so far was being able to pour cup after cup of clear golden sunshine into the room." That was a great description. This story is good and it has a good theme but I feel like Suzan learns her lesson too quickly. It's just like she loses Macie, feels awful about it, and she's no longer snobby and mean. I think making the story longer and having Suzan change more gradually over time would be more realistic.
 
alwayswriting14 replied...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm
Thanks for the advice. This was originally for an English project that had to have a theme/ moral in short story format but i get what you're saying. Maybe i'll add another scene. Thanks for reading my work!
 
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