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My Little Teacup
All of my life my brother told me I reminded him of the antique teacup that sat on display beside my bed. A smile would appear across his face whenever he would catch me looking at it. He said that we both were small and fragile. I never understood what it meant by a person being fragile until I was fifteen, the year everything changed.
Whenever I was going through a tough time, whether it was with friends, or with my family, or even just something I was learning in school, my brother would kiss the teacup and give me his advice, which no matter the circumstance, always worked in the end.
From a young age everyone thought of me as the little weak girl who is quiet in class and a good person to talk to, but not one to hang out with outside of school. That’s why I only had one friend, Amber, and saw the need to rely on my brother for most problems.
Adam promised me that he would make me stronger and leave the rest of those kids speechless. He was the biggest and broadest boy I had ever seen and I would always tell him he reminded me of a GI Joe. Therefore, he had conditioned me from the beginning of the spring in preparing for the track team I’d be trying out for freshmen year. I doubted that I would be fully equipped with only a few months, but I was showing improvement.
As I raced Amber to my room, my heart thumped in my chest and a bead of sweat trickled down the side of my flushed face. We had been racing since the doors of the school had finally opened, welcoming of our summer vacation.
“Amber, looks like you’re falling behind!” I snickered as my best friend heaved about twenty feet behind me. Confident with my new running skills, we had both been eager to race down the street and into my bedroom.
“OK, fine I give up, I give up just please don’t make me run any further!” She cried as she lunged to grab my arm. “Hey, when did you get so fast anyway?”
“Adam has been helping me lately he says that he wants to toughen me up for the day that I can’t rely on his help.”
“OH! That reminds me you’re feeling okay about everything, right?”
“What are you talking about?” I noticed Amber’s face become slightly pink, just like it had always done when she had to present in front of the class.
“Um, maybe you should ask your parents about this I don’t want to be the one to tell you.” Amber tried to run out of my room as fast as she could but as the door swung open it slammed into the wall. My bedroom shook and the tea cup slightly danced along the shelf until it took a tumble. Just as she ran out Adam walked past my room and saw the teacup laying on the floor surprisingly still in one piece.
“Hey look at that! It didn’t break!” If I had not been so confused I would have smiled along with him.
“Adam, what’s going on Amber wanted to know how I was feeling and I have no idea what that could mean” I had never saw a smile fade as fast as it had on him. He looked down, shifted his hands a little, and then told me to take a seat.
“Look Lauren we didn’t want to tell you until we were all together but do you remember those brochures we had gotten a few months ago?”
I sat expressionless. This was a joke right?
“Well I was reading them and I thought long and hard and next month I’m leaving. I’ve enlisted into the army.” My whole world became confusion. The air thickened with a feeling of astonishment. My hands starting shaking, I couldn’t catch my breath and slowly the world before my eyes became translucent as tears filled my eyes.
“Adam you cant do this to me I need you, and what if-… what…what if something happens.”
“I know you’re scared and so am I but I’ve always told you life is full of taking risks and when you don’t take them it will only leave you with regrets, now we don’t want that do we?” I shook my head and looked down, I couldn’t make eye contact with him. He told me that he understood every emotion that I would be feeling but I didn’t care.
There was a perpetual silence until I asked, “and why did Amber find out about this before me?’
“I knew this was going to be a big change for you, and the worst thing that you could do would be shutting out the people that love you the most. I just wanted to make sure that you would always have someone to confide in, even when I wasn’t around.” He tried to force a smile, and after pacing slowly straggled out of the room.
The month flew by and he started packing things up and I couldn’t bear hearing family and friends constantly wishing him the best. I just couldn’t imagine him, my brother, Adam, in war.
The day came where I had to say goodbye and I spent the whole morning locked up in my room. I heard the smallest knock against my wooden door and groaned to let them know that I was not in the mood for talking. It was Adam.
“Lauren there’s something I wanted to tell you before I leave but I know that you’re not in the mood to talk so I wrote it down for you and when you’re ready you can read it.” He jumped on my bed gave me a kiss and the biggest hug goodbye. I pretended to not see the tear that slid down his cheek as he heard the car honk for him. He closed my door and I heard my mother and father sniffling as he walked out of the house. I had no intentions of reading that letter until I saw the envelope with the words “My little teacup” written across. My hands shook as I tore it open and lifted the paper out.
My little teacup,
So I’m probably gone right now and who knows how long it’s been. I know your stubborn and would not be surprised if your still mad at me, but please bear with me. I don’t like to think negatively but you and I both know that there is a chance I will not come back home. With that in mind I want to let you know a few things. You are a beautiful and strong girl, although you’re not told that very often, and it’s harder to leave you then you could ever imagine. I know that you need me there to support you but I have faith in you Lauren, I know that you can always face any obstacle no matter how big or small. Do you remember when you first found out I’d be leaving? It was right after that teacup fell onto the floor. We both saw that it didn’t break. You know that thing must be over sixty years old, yet it didn’t break. On the outside it looks small and fragile but even I underestimated its strength. I’m telling you Lauren that teacup is more like you than you probably even realize.
I love you,
That letter changed me yes I still cried but as I finished reading the last few sentences a chill ran through my body. What if Adam was right? What if I am like this stupid piece of china?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Amber came over every day that summer and she tried to pretend like everything was normal but I wasn’t all there. The days that I was able to enjoy myself were days following the recent letters that Adam had sent us letting us know that he was fine.
Every night before I turned over to fall asleep I would bend over the edge of my bed, lean over, and kiss my teacup praying for Adam’s return.
I began school a changed person. I decided to join the track team; after all Adam had prepared me it was only fair that I showed off my talents.
October 17, 2009 remains a day that will forever haunt my mind. I got home from track late that night and I had won the race. It was the first time in months that I had truly enjoyed myself and I was prepared for anything that would hit me. Or so I thought. I walked into the house all smiles and pride when I found my family, my whole family, cousins and grandparents included, walking about my house crying.
What is going on now? I didn’t think that anything bad could happen on such a great day but I would soon find out that I was terribly mistaken. My father pulled me into the kitchen and squeezed me for a good two minutes. That hug alone and silent sob that I felt pass from his body into mine let me know what had happened. He was gone.
I ran up to my room full speed not looking back. Several family members tried to stop me but I couldn’t. Why? Why was somebody doing this to me? The one time that I finally decide to enjoy myself this happens. I slammed the door shut and before I came back to reality gasped as the teacup fell over and shattered across my floor.
“Thanks a lot Adam, you left me and now your little teacup is broken.”
I said these words through sobs as I put my life into perspective I was now an only child and the one person who gave me my strength was gone. I always thought something was going to happen to his silly little teacup one day, but why tonight? Why when I need it the most?
“I knew this stupid piece of trash didn’t mean anything, what are you trying to say? Are you trying to tell me that I’m not strong, that I can’t face obstacles anymore?”
My parents came upstairs to console me for a while after the rest of the family had left and little was spoken through whimpers and tears. I couldn’t sleep that night and so around midnight I realized that I had never eaten dinner. I slowly lowered myself down the stairs and grabbed what was left of a turkey sandwich as my parents sat in the living room making funeral arrangements.
I stumbled up the stairs and saw a slight glimpse of my reflection in the hall mirror, eyes swollen hair a mess. I guess this was going to be me for a while. As I walked past Adam’s room something had shone from the moonlight and caught my eye.
Everything was still the way he had left it organized and clean except for his desk. Papers and books were scattered across it, but on the far right corner the moon was lighting up a tube of something. What could this be for? I wondered as I slowly inched closer. I picked it up and was shocked at what I held in my hands.
Across the tube simply read “crazy glue”. I laughed at the irony but then became serious and thought of the possibilities. I looked at the teacup still broken upon my floor and slowly piece my piece put it back together. I spent hours and the work was tedious, but it had to be done.
As the sun rose I finished putting the teacup back together and although it was painful I let myself smile because looking at this teacup made me realize that no matter what happens I am strong enough to be put back together. I will always be Adam’s little teacup.