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Faith and Fate

Author's note: Every detail of this story is a piece of my soul. I got the inspiration from various aspects...  Show full author's note »
Author's note:

Every detail of this story is a piece of my soul. I got the inspiration from various aspects of my life: from movies to people I talk to but mostly it was the story of my mother. My mother had to immigrate from a young age and many emotions are involved with this concept. I also wanted to bring to the spotlight another valuable theme that is innocence. After reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, this topic became very important to me. This topic is hidden in everything from political conflicts to law to personal times. I hope that when someome reads this story, they can realize something new as well.

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Letter from Belarus

     The exit of the restaurant creaks open as we step out into the chilly New York air. This isn’t just any air, this one moves around you containing the zeitgeist of the Roaring Twenties. The zeitgeist is what flappers breathe when their high heels kiss the boulevards, it can be heard in every engine sound of a fresh car, and it can enter your body and make you open the door of your home in a yearning to explore. It’s all around now.
     I look up to the sky between the skyscrapers, dotted with stars. Mumbled jazz from inside our go-to restaurant La Vie Est Belle enters my ears. I see groups of young people like us fill the city so late. I smear salty sweat from my forehead- a product of dancing for an hour. I look towards the right and see a group of men, above them a cloud of smoke. I subtly cover my mouth with my coat and usher Dorothy and Lucy away. One of my irritations is when I am standing enjoying the weather and then somebody comes up, holding their cigarette out to the world.
     “Sofia, we were thinking of taking a drive around in my new car before we split. Want to?” Dorothy’s vivid cherry red lipstick matches her spontaneous personality, the kind of personality that never lets out a yawn.
     “I better get home. My mother is waiting. Don’t you have a curfew too, Dora?”
     “Oh, right. I do. You’re always right, my watchwoman. Come on, I’ll drive you home.”
     “Thanks but a little walk will do me good.”
      I grew up in Belarus and I knew my town like my own face arrangement. A revolution happened, politically and emotionally, when my mama uttered the words: “We have to move.” And so, coming to America from around the world at age fourteen with no friends, no knowledge of the language, and questioning the customs, left me with no choice but to get into the habit of falling into my own arms. To keep my head held up high, I remind myself that I am independent.
     “Are you kidding, Sofia? A little walk?” Dorothy echoes. “Your home is ten blocks and friends don’t let each other turn into ice pops. Plus, I just got a new car. Come on, let’s ankle.”
She leads us to her squeaky-clean, polished, cobalt Ford automobile. There’s no use in persuading her, once she’s got her mind set on something, she won’t take it off. I secretly feel relief. I thank her and nod and hide a strand of my dark copper, medium-length hair behind my ear. “Don’t even mention it.” She responds as we trot down 84th street like we usually do. 
     “I’ve been meaning to tell you Sofia, I really like your decision to cut your hair.” Lucy scans and compliments me, with a voice that is a pattern of catchy Irish and is enhanced with an upbeat, childlike tone that makes me feel like protecting her all the time.
     “Thanks. I work with heat and machines and so, as you can see,” I gesture to my 19-year old thin figure that encouraged adults to tell me to eat some more, “I’m blending into the popular ‘flapper image’- short hair, short everything. Every time I enter a store, I shop for those miniskirts like I’ve never seen them before.”
     “Same. I’m embarrassed just taking ‘em to the register.” She giggles and we keep following Dorothy.
“So have you decided what job you want to have when you finish college?” She asks me, changing the subject to something much more serious.
     “No. I really have no idea and need to decide.” I scratch my forehead and sigh. “You see, I have so many things that I like but it’s hard to find what I love. You know what I mean?”
     “When you fall in love with something or someone it’ll feel natural. I love Jack and I knew it from the first date.” Lucy tells me.
     “Yes, but this is different,” I slouch down and then slouch back up.
     “Not that different. You will find something, believe me.” she reassures as I murmur uncertainly. 
      “Right now I’m trying to find my car,” Dorothy calls. “I forgot where I parked it!” She cackles.
     “That’s not good.” I say, thinking of the consequences that could come if one never finds their car- their new car.
     “Oh, relax, Sofia.” Dorothy says carelessly. With a breath of relief, we find her Ford. We slide in and the doors click. As we drive through the city, neon lights reflect on us. I roll down my window, the breeze brushing against my nose. Strangers pass each other, all affecting another’s destiny in an unknown way. When the brakes are pressed at a red light, I stare at a gentleman crossing who seems so familiar. I jerk up in my seat but the car belt holds me down. Lucy asks me what’s wrong, noticing even my most hidden emotions.
     “I thought I saw someone familiar. Nostalgia, right?”
     I can’t wait to go home and tell my mama about this. Dorothy turns on the car radio as a good song comes on. She makes it loud and opens the windows as we playfully shout for her to turn it down. Through the drive, our faces stay crimson from laughing and being embarrassed. Dorothy puts her sole on the brakes in front of my townhouse which is adorned with pots of roses on the staircase. My family never stopped being amused at roses being my mama Rosa’s favorite.  I part with the girls, slamming the car door. 
     I cringe as I turn the key, trying not to disturb anyone’s slumber. The only source of light is coming from the living room where I find Mama browsing through mail on the recliner.
     “Hi, Mama.” I try to keep my voice like the bed I yearn to crawl into: soft.
     “You’re home, dochenka. How was your time?” She asks me in tranquil Russian and looks up at me with a heart-shaped face outlined with black curls.
Mama is my favorite story-teller, my best friend, and my temple- I could always go to her. The house and family rests on her small shoulders. Disregarding what is acceptable for women, she works until her fingers are numb and my papa, while stripped of his role as head of the house, shows his appreciation and I really like that fact.
     “Guess what happened?” I speak as she shushes me. “I saw a man crossing the street who looked just like Alex. Imagine if it was him?” Was it him? Could’ve it been him? Could that mysterious man on the crosswalk be Alex, the boy who was sewn into the fabric of my childhood? Every holiday, he would show up at my doorstep. Every day afterschool, he would offer to carry my books and I agreed, not realizing he was under my spell. We would spend hours in the yard between our buildings where we would play until the ends of our childlike fantasies were reached. Soon, we began locking eyes and got closer to each other with each apprehensive but naively romantic centimeter. After a while, we learned our distance would now be by thousands of miles when he had to immigrate to Boston and I to New York. On the brink of my leave, his hand shaking, he handed me a love poem depicting vague first feelings. Being an inch shorter, he then leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I never looked at a boy the same way again.
     “Could be.”
     She puts a paper down so I won’t see it; probably a bill or check. She doesn’t want me to stress about money yet because to her, I will always be a child. I will always be a child who once took the bag off the cash register and darted off, forgetting I was owed change, a child who would always point to the donation basket with trust that the money will end up in the right hands, and a child who looked at money and saw it not as a prize but as an item passed around by so many people that it could’ve been touched by the love of her life. 
     “But my time was great as always,” I plop on the couch, take off my stilettos, and rub my feet. “We went to La vie Est Belle down on 84th street as usual. It was dancing, eating, and dancing again. I talked with this boy. He’s from the navy, wants to be a doctor, and comes from an Italian family with five siblings from Brooklyn. After he asked if I wanted to meet again.”
     “Ooh, Sofia. Did you say yes?” She flashes a crooked grin.
     “No, actually. He seemed fine, but I want to like somebody for who they are, not what they are, you know? We had fun though- exchanged some clever banter, did the Charleston,” dimples form on my face. “But I decided to spend time with Dorothy and Lucy instead. How are you?”
     “I am fine. I just put Anna to bed, Papa gave me tulips just because, and I was waiting for you to come home.” Her mouth changes from an upside arc to a straight stern line when she opens an envelope.
    “What have you got there?” I ask as she skims the message.
     “Grandmother Rachel needs me to travel to Minsk-” she clicks her tongue.
     “Why?” I furrow my brows, remembering my old city. 
     “Grandmother is not in the best condition right now, as you know and she says she needs to see us. I must go soon. Do you want to come with me? Your winter break just began. ”
    When I think of my childhood, I think of my grandmother Rachel. She never spoke much about her early life, but I saw her every day of mine. She believed the most important thing she could do was give me advice and she did which made me ponder every time we parted. When we left, that part of me was chipped away and bit by bit I began to forget her smile, then her scent, then her voice. Yet, I never forgot that safe feeling I encountered when I was in her arms.
     “To see Grandmother?! Of course!” I light up. “I can’t wait to tell Anna and Papa.”
     “I don’t want Anna to see Grandmother ill and in a wheelchair- it’ll be too much for her. So Papa’s going to have to say with her at home. When Grandmother heals, I promise we will visit her altogether.” My sister Anna is a tall eleven and since we are almost the same height, it’s been easy to level with each other. I learned that no matter our age difference, I will always have something in common with her. She’s a gentle schoolgirl who gets attached to almost everything she sees. She’s the one that has pulled me back to youth all these years.
     “I understand. I can’t believe we’re actually going back to Minsk!” I jump and Mama doesn’t seem to mind.

     “I can’t believe we’re going to Minsk!” I squeal to myself as I neatly fold my warm clothes into my copper duffel bag the day before. “It’s all going to come back to me, isn’t it? We’re going on a wild adventure.” I search through my shelf filled with books of every genre until I come across a hardcover journal that I received for my fifteenth birthday. Out of it slips a paper with the first love poem, crumpled with age. I drop down on my bed my, mattress bouncing, clutching it, and taking a breath in memory. I recall reading it, sensations overflowing inside of me as I, amongst immigrants, was heading towards the Statue of Liberty. I remember it smelled like dew from the early morning rain, I started feeling a bit seasick as the ship had to turn and turn to find the perfect spot, and everybody started to clap and cheer which made me forget about the queasiness. I put the paper the down and skim through my journal. I would spill my heart out every night onto those sheets that are now filled with new experiences, observances, and problems that make me laugh right now. How I changed since then.

Chapters:   1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 10 Next »

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This book has 4 comments. Post your own now!

KMG28 said...
May 22, 2016 at 5:34 pm
Thank you for commenting!
Suzanne said...
Apr. 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm
What a magnificent job you did writing this many chapters long love story! There was suspense, and young romance, perfect combination. Your descriptions of feelings/emotions very realistic. Congratulations! Suzanne
alemargo said...
Apr. 19, 2016 at 10:03 pm
very beautiful and touching story
ALEMARGO00 said...
Apr. 19, 2016 at 9:19 pm

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