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A Hole in Her Heart
“Jamie, what are you holding in your hand?” questioned Mr. Lucas Sanders.
“It’s a picture of when we were at the beach when I was a baby,” Jamie replied holding up the photograph to her dad. Its crinkly surface made Mr. Sanders squint as he tried to make sense of the image. An abrupt emotion of astonishment and worry consumed his face.
Within the picture, two people sat in plastic folding chairs of rainbow colors while two other people buried themselves into the sand near the ocean. Their eyes were as wide as the horizon and their smiles remained permanent as if they were purposely implanted upon their faces. Jamie studied the picture over and over again. She only knew three of the people there. Her mom, Mrs. Sandra Sanders, and her dad sat peacefully in the folding chairs, and she was buried within the sand. There was only one person in the photograph who she didn’t know. He also buried himself in the sand. For years, Jamie has been trying to solve the missing piece to the puzzle. She has tried to receive closure of some kind. Not knowing this boy almost made her feel as if she had a hole in her heart. It’s like there was a missing part of her soul. This may not seem like a big deal, but knowing the identity of the person meant the world to Jamie. Her thoughts were instantaneously interrupted as she suddenly remembered that it was her birthday party.
“Mom, Dad, where is everyone? They were supposed to be here two seconds ago!”
“I don’t know dear, maybe they forgot.”
“Mom, don’t joke around. This is an important day for your favorite daughter, who just turned sixteen years old. It’s a big deal.”
“Oh, Sandra, don’t pay Jamie any mind. It’s probably just her teenage hormones.”
Standing there on the soft, wooden dance floor, Jamie thought about her past. This act of remembrance forced her to illustrate the image of her glorious estate. Its cleanly colored shutters of black contained neither a scratch nor a mark. Its freshly new grass moisturized with nature’s purifiers left the soft surface greener than ever before. The outer boundary of the house covered with a dark shade of blue imitated the California nighttime sky that glistened with stars. The glass of the windows embedded with bodies of robots that engaged in conversations with people and performed important tasks.
Jamie’s street is filled with gold and dollar signs. Everywhere she looks, there are people adding additional components to their house. As they improve their masterpiece day by day, they draw different patterns and conjure new styles. Though no two houses are alike, the citizens charge with inspiration as they drill innovate ideas into their minds.
“OMG! People are coming!” exclaimed Jamie.
“Oh yes, it’s a miracle,” said Mrs. Sanders.
“Mom, stop being so sarcastic! I was stressing out enough already.”
“Are you two arguing again? Must I separate you? I mean, this is ridiculous,” Mr. Sanders interrupted. “Now this is a special day. So, let’s not ruin it shall we?”
“Oh, alright,” Mrs. Sanders replied.
The guests poured into the building like cockroaches. Hungry for the excitement, they didn’t hesitate to begin the fun. Chocolate smears clung to their skin, as they devoured the chocolate mousse cake. Smiles sprang upon everyone’s faces and the never-ending dancing and singing became the priority of the party.
At the same time three thousand miles away, a boy in New York celebrated his sixteenth birthday. His name was Charles.
Monday morning snuck up on Jamie like a stalker. The leaves were still green, but she distinctly noticed some that were changing in color. The first day of school had always been the most exciting day of the year for Jamie. Getting to see her friends and teachers again blessed her heart.
Lake View High appeared at the next corner. Its elongated structure nearly surprised Jamie. She hadn’t seen her school for a couple of months and recognized several renovations to the building. The tall grass whipped against her jeans, as she moved towards the entrance. Meanwhile, a mysterious looking figure came into view after hiding in the nearby bushes. Thoughts of mystery and question raced Jamie’s mind and they momentarily took control of her. She couldn’t stop thinking about the figure. Something felt wrong.
Once Jamie stepped into her high school, she was cheerfully greeted by her best friend, Amy Black, but the mysterious figure crept behind them. Jamie’s presence was evident, as her fellow peers and other students from different grades welcomed her back to school. As she walked to her locker with Amy, some students approached Jamie and gave her a hug. Others began clapping for their favorite classmate. After closing her locker and gathering her books, Jamie walked with Amy to their home base, while soft footsteps followed behind them. They were the footsteps of a boy both muscular and sporty. With smooth black hair and sparkling blue eyes, he quickly and quietly followed the girls. A smile curved on his pale face. Feeling a chill down her spine, Jamie abruptly turned around. She was face to face with the mysterious figure.
“Hi there,” he said. “My name is Charles. I’m sixteen years old. I am from New York and recently moved here over the summer. Actually, I moved here exactly three days ago. I am so excited to be here and I can’t wait to get to know you and tell you all about me,” said the boy hastily.
“Hi, I guess,” said Jamie. She was extremely confused as to why this stranger would randomly follow her and tell her about himself. Even though the boy was emitting creepy signals and causing peculiar sensations to plunge down her back, Jamie didn’t want to give the impression that she was rude. “Well this is my home base and I’m going to be late. Bye.”
“Oh alright then, I guess I will see you around.” His expressions of joy and excitement departed and emotions of rage penetrated.
At lunchtime, Jamie and Charles met yet again. “Hey, Charles. What’s up? So, how do you like school so far?” asked Jamie.
“Leave me alone. I hate you.”
“Did you hear what I said? LEAVE ME ALONE!”
“Look, I am sorry if I seemed rude earlier…but.” The mysterious figure walked away.
The next day before school ended, Jamie walked towards locker number eight hundred.
“Hi, Charles. It’s me Jamie. You probably don’t remember me, but yesterday you said that I should leave you alone and that you hated me. I just wanted to know why you would say something like that to me. You probably figured that I was being mean to you because I had to get to class, but I wasn’t. I just don’t like being talked that way. It’s not cool.”
“Look, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, but you deserved it. I am just so disappointed in you.”
“DISAPOINTED in me!” exclaimed Jamie. “Wait a minute; you’re not disappointed in me. You are jealous of me. It’s because I am so popular and smart and…and…”
“I am not jealous of you! You have it all wrong. You think you know me! Well, you don’t, but I know you! Jamie Sanders lives in a rich neighborhood. She is full of herself, weak, and thinks that everyone has to like her. Guess what, the world doesn’t revolve around you.”
“How do you know where I live? I thought that you just moved here from New York. Oh no! But you can’t be. I can’t believe it. You’re a…a…”
“No I’m not! Your brother may be crazy, but he’s not a stalker.”
A dead silence pierced the hall way, as the brother and sister stared into each others eyes.
“You’re… you’re my… brother?” Jamie asked. “But, I don’t have any siblings.”
“Mom and Dad didn’t tell you, didn’t they? No wonder why you didn’t recognize me. I can’t believe how I could have been so stupid,” Charles whimpered. Tears poured down his face.
“Tell me what?” Jamie declared.
Taking a deep breath, Charles began to explain. “When you and I were about two or three, Mom and Dad took us to the local park. It had just rained the day before, so the air seemed moist and pure. A sudden urge of hunger overcame Mom, and she sprinted to the nearest ice cream store. Since Dad is a famous photographer, he searched his backpack for his new â€˜Nikon’ camera, but it was nowhere to be found. He knew specifically where he had put the camera and was surprised to see that it wasn’t there. So he looked around to see where it might be hiding. Glancing up at a tree, Dad noticed that it was hanging on one of its branches. The weird thing was that he didn’t put the camera there.”
“Well, if Dad didn’t put the camera in the tree, then who did?” Jamie asked.
“He did,” replied Charles.
Jamie questioned, “Who is He?”
“His name terrifies all who know him. If people dare laugh in his presence, they won’t ever laugh at all. When He passes by, women shriek and run away. He is part crow and part tiger, both sneaky and angry. His mind is delusional and he has problems beyond your wildest dreams. His main desire to take things that aren’t his has been a part of his character every since he was born. The day that He put Dad’s camera in the tree was the same day that He took me. He’s a kidnapper, Jamie.
“But, what is his name?” questioned Jamie. “What are you doing here in California and how do you know me and all of this other stuff?”
“I figured that you would ask those questions,” Charles concluded. “The kidnapper’s name is Joe. I lived with him for about a week in New York. The place we resided was a petite apartment. Its gray door creaked every time it moved and the windows contained slick spider webs that attached to the glass. Creatures of all kinds entered and left the apartment. It was a disastrous nightmare. The police came a couple of days later and arrested Joe for kidnapping. They immediately contacted Mom and Dad and alerted them of my safety. The only problem was that during that time I was placed in foster care and adopted. Mom and Dad tried to bring me back home, but the law wouldn’t allow it. For fourteen years, they have been trying to regain custody of me and now, here I am. My adopted parents died after my birthday or about a week ago and so the government sent me here. I am currently living with one of the California police officers and she has been providing me with the information. She has told me everything that I need to know.”
“This is unbelievable. Never in my entire life would I ever have imaged such a secret,” whispered Jamie. “Wait, but why didn’t Mom and Dad tell me about all of this? How could they have kept such a secret from me! You are my brother!”
“Why else do parents keep secrets from their children? Isn’t it to protect their kids? So, Mom and Dad wanted to protect you from something that might endanger your life or have a negative impact on it. They didn’t want to worry you or cause any depression in your life.”
“But they could have just told me. I could have handled it.”
“Listen. Jamie don’t think about it anymore. I am here and I’m not going anywhere. That’s the only thing that matters. Don’t be mad at Mom and Dad. It’s not their fault. They were just doing what they thought was best.”
“I guess I can forgive them. The main thing is that you are back.” She wiped the tears that crawled down her face and briefly glanced at her Chanel watch. “Oh my god! I can’t believe that we lost track of time. I think that we missed the bus. We better go.”
“Don’t wait up for me. I’ll catch up will you. I have to get a few things,” said Charles.
Jamie walked home. She decided that she should talk to her parents about the situation. So many thoughts and questions were once again racing her mind. Looking down at her three hundred dollar shoes, she tried to look into the past again. She remembered what Charles told her and his facial expressions. She remembered the fight between her and her brother. She remembered everything. Being a mathematician, she calculated his height. He was five feet and so was she. He played the piano and so did she. They both were on basketball teams. They both were small and thin.
Hearing the sound of familiar footsteps, Jamie turned around. “Hi Charles. Are you ready?”
“I think so, but I am a little nervous. What if they don’t like me?”
“Are you kidding? They are going to love you. Here let me help you with one of your suitcases.”
The siblings came to a house. It is located in a rich neighborhood where the streets are filled with gold and money. Charles stopped to look at the glorious estate. He didn’t remember it, but he was glad to finally see the landmark for the first time. Together they opened the front door. The emptiness of the house contaminated the air outside. No one was home.
“Where could they be?” Jamie wondered.
“I think I know where they are,” said Charles. “Here, follow me.” He gestured for Jamie to drop his belongings and take his hand. He led the way as they walked on the hard concrete. The loud thumps of their stomping feet soon ceased as they transferred to a softer surface. A sudden breeze swept the area and the bluer sky appeared above them. The air smelled of salt.
“Where are we?” asked Jamie.
“Don’t you remember?” Charles replied.
“No, I don’t.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll see.”
The boy and the girl traveled closer to their destination. The air still smelt of salt, but the scent intensified. Walking on the surface and trying not to trip and fall, Charles and Jamie came to the area. On the soft surface lay two folding chairs of rainbow colors. Sitting peacefully in the chairs were Mr. and Mrs. Sanders looking out to the sea. It was clearer and bluer than any of them had remembered. The boy and the girl slowly moved forward, but they didn’t walk to their parents. They fell into the sand near the ocean and buried themselves. The family’s eyes widened like the stretching of a rubber band and their smiles remained permanent on their faces as if they had been purposely implanted. A sudden picture of nostalgia and déjÃ vu painted into their minds. There they were together forever.