Vol. 12


Eyes of Fear

c.1944; St. Louis, Missouri, USA

I stared at the camera when it flashed. I tried to smile, but Mama had made my braids so tight that it made my head ache. I was sitting next to my father, who was wearing one of his best suits that day. It made sense, because it was Christmas, but I could tell he had something on his mind — and it was not because Joan and I had gotten into his cigars again. No, it was something more serious.

Three weeks ago my uncle Randall had gone off to fight in the war. My father was a strong man, but I could tell that he was afraid. I glanced at my older sister Joan; she gave me a dirty look. I could tell she was still mad at me. Last week I found her diary. Being the “brat” (what she liked to call me) I was, I blabbed it to everyone I knew. I had fun, until she got back at me by pushing me down a hill while I was roller-skating.

Finally dinner was served. After eating some chicken, I went into my room for the rest of the night.

The next morning I walked downstairs to see my mother in the kitchen. I asked her where everyone was. She said, “Papa is in the living room watching the television set, Joan is out.”

Joan was out? This early? It didn’t sound like her. I decided to go look for her. I walked past the living room to see my father staring at the television. He still had the look of fear in his eyes. It was as if he had a dark cloud over him that wouldn’t go away. This terrified me. Joan always said I was a chicken (especially when I saw spiders), but to have Papa be afraid was more than I could bear! I did not know what to do. I needed to find Joan.

I hopped onto my bike and took off towards town! I passed all the spots Joan liked to go, but she was not there. I even asked Joan’s friends if they had seen her, but they hadn’t. Losing hope, I decided to go home.

But then I remembered one more place. I burst down the road, then into the woods, and then into the blackberry field. As I scanned all of the bushes, I saw Joan crouched in a ball. I ran over to Joan to find her crying. She looked up at me and had the same look in her eyes as my father. Joan wasn’t the best sister — I have the scars to prove it — but I’ll never stop trusting her.

We made our way home, and then into the kitchen to see Mother and Father. Mother was holding a box of chocolates. Mother stood there smiling, then said, “It is from your uncle Randall!”

I looked at my father, who was standing next to her. For a moment, I thought I saw his eyes light up.

Gummy Rizer, great-niece of Carol, the narrator; Missouri, USA



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