Here is the link to chapter 1: The verdict. It is in three posts so follow the links at the top of part 3 to start at the beginning.
Here is the first installment of chapter 2: Two homes and journey
(c) All material is copywrited by the author please do not reproduce or use without the express written consent of the author.
Symbols of our Making
Chapter 2: Two homes and a journey
We sat in silence on the small prison cot for about forty-five minutes. Sierra lying against my chest sobbing as I held her in my arms and stroked her hair. She has always been so strong and able to keep it together; yet here in my arms she clung to me vulnerable and afraid. Fourteen years of buried pain and anguish came bursting forth in one sudden explosion. As I lay there holding her close my mind wandered between happy memories of days spent at the Channel Island beach home together to the painful reality of what this war has cost both of us.
“Si – Sierra, I’m sorry they sent me to tell you that Jacob’s visiting time is up,” said Gregory as he interrupted the strange comfort of the stolen moments we shared. Sierra got up wiping tears from her eyes. As she reached the door she turned back to me and said, “Jacob, please don’t leave me I need you.”
“I love you beautiful I’ll make things right I promise,” I responded as the door shut behind her.
“Sierra is- is everything ok,” asked a shocked and shaken Gregory. I’m sure that is the first time he had ever seen his heroic sister cry.
“No, Gregory things aren’t ok,” whispered Sierra as she walked away.
My mind raced as I tried to take in what had just happened. I was so sure that Sierra would have been strong and supportive of what I must do. I have spent so much time idealizing my wife that I completely missed the depth of the hurt this war has wrecked on her. Uncle Eric’s death changed everything. From the moment he died we started descending down a rabbit hole that we should have never explored. Lying on my small sheetless cot staring at the cold grey wall of my cell images of Sierra’s crumpled crying body in my arms kept chasing sleep from me.
“Wake up Jacob” frantically my father called as he turned on the light in my room. “Jacob get up we have to leave now.”
“What – Why do we have to go,” I said as I realized that we weren’t alone. My father, his friends Hector and Amir were in the room with us. Hector was holding a shot gun and Amir had his hunting rifle. “What’s going on dad” I asked.
“Jacob it isn’t safe here anymore pack whatever clothes you can in this bag” he said placing a large green army duffle bag on the bed next to me. “Hector and Amir are going to stay with you to keep you safe.”
“But I don’t want to go – we haven’t done anything,” I said protesting, “I have a big test and game at school tomorrow.”
Raising his voice my father said, “Jacob don’t argue with me. We are leaving tonight. You can’t go to school they will pick you up. Uncle Eric’s death has changed everything. We have to get away and change this or we will never be safe.”
Looking at the determined and frantic expression on my father’s face I realized that we were leaving our lives behind forever. Before Uncle Eric’s death my father was an English teacher at my high school. He was a popular and good teacher. My mother was an artist. She made beautiful pottery and loved to paint moving and dramatic seascapes and sunsets. We lived in a small three bedroom post war track home in Garden Grove, California. It was a good house with a big backyard with a pottery studio for my mother. My sister’s and I used to spend hours swimming in our kidney shaped pool and playing explorers and soldiers in the tree house that my dad and Uncle Eric built in the old Elm tree. I was sad and angry as I packed my duffle bag. It was a good house. While I packed Hector looked out the window and Amir stood nervously guard that the door I realized that we would never play in the pool or start an adventure by climbing the wooden planked ladder into the tree house again. We were starting a great scary adventure where playing soldier would be replaced with real life adventures as rebels, soldiers and leaders in something new.
As Hector, Amir and I walked into the living room I saw my mother and my sister’s Sissy and Mara standing packed like the Israelites ready to flee Egypt with suitcases in hand. Each had had a scared and anxious expression and were standing amidst a similar duo of guards as I was. “Jacob, come here please” said my father.
As he handed me a small 9 millimeter hand gun my mother tensely said, “Gabriel, he’s just a boy.”
“Justina we talked about this. Things have changed and he’s not just a boy and needs to be safe.”
“Jacob, he said, “Don’t ever go anywhere without this. You need to be prepared to protect yourself. You will be traveling with Hector and Amir”
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“Hector and Amir will keep you safe but you need to be prepared to help them”
“Justina you and Sissy will be going with Oliver, Micah and Danny and Mara will be traveling with me,” my dad said as he ran his hands through my six-year old sister’s hair.
“Gabriel, why can’t we travel together,” said my mother pleading with my father.
“Justina, it isn’t safe for us to all travel together. We will be too easy to spot. Beautiful, I promise it will be ok.