Mom, Elara and I spent the night in the old lady’s house. It was 4 am when I fought with my bed covers unable to sleep or close my eyes. It was like I have been cursed and the curse was eating me alive. The smell of smoke was still stuck in my lungs, or at least that’s what I felt. Every once in a while, I’d look around me to see if there was anything unusual like the fire that destroyed our home. Our shelter.
That home carried plenty of beautiful and joyful memories. Our family was together in it for years, all of us were united until my parents’ divorce. As I was remembering the good memories, my phone starting ringing. It was funny because the phone was in my pocket when we got out of the house.
I eyed the clock and saw that it was thirty minutes past four. I looked at the caller ID and it was from an unknown number, I hesitated to answer it and debated for seconds but then I collected my courage and pressed the green button. “Hello?” I said in a quiet tone, not wanting to cause any trouble to Mrs Smith and her grandchild, they were kind enough to let us in and stay the night and my mom and I will be forever grateful for that favour.
There was silence on the other end for a few seconds until I heard the voice I’ve been yearning to hear. My beloved older brother’s voice. I haven’t heard from him since last month and haven’t seen him since he was deployed in Afghanistan. And that was three years ago. We are all proud of him, serving the country by his own choice.
My brother, Nolan breathed through the phone as if it was in relief. ” Evelina! Oh, thank God. Are you guys okay? I heard from my commander in chief that there was a fire in our neighbourhood. He didn’t tell me the details so I had to call, are you alright?” He asked all that at one breathe. I chuckled because I felt calm to hear his voice.
I looked through the small window next to the bed and gazed at our burned house, it was right across the street from Mrs Smith’s. I fought the tears from falling but couldn’t hold them for too long. “No, Nolan. It was our house that was burned down. The fire destroyed it... We have nothing left. All of our stuff had gone with the flames. But, I thank God that we are all okay. No one got hurt, I... I d-don’t know what to do Nolan, I’m scared,” I let everything out and held no more tears. My hiccups were too loud and I knew that it was audible throughout the house. I couldn’t be strong with my big brother. He was my protector and I loved him along with my other brother, my other half.
“What? How did that happen?” He asked, sounding hurt and shocked. He did not expect that from me. I’ve never cried like that ever since my parents split up and I was parted from my twin brother, Andro. That day was absolutely the worst day of my entire life. “Talk to me baby sis, please!” He pleaded in a pained tone.
“I d-don’t k-know, I was sleeping in my room when I smelt smoke. I woke up and saw dark smoke, I rushed to Elara’s room and got her out then ran to mom’s but she was not there so I figured that she’d be in her office which she was. We got out of the house and soon after the home was swallowed by fire. Now, we’re in Mrs Smith’s house for the night and we don’t know what to do... ” I explained in a weary tone. I was exhausted and the lack of sleep didn’t help with my situation.
I heard him sigh. “Okay, stop crying. It will be alright, I’ll do something about it. You’ll hear a call from me in a couple of hours, now go to sleep. You need it. I’ll talk to you later and I promise that I’ll do something” he assured and I hummed in return. I ended the call and laid my head on the pillow and felt darkness take over my mind.
“Should we wake her up? She needs food” I heard hushed tones near me. I recognized the voice as my mom’s so I cracked my eyes open and saw her standing near the bed and Elara was in her arms. I lifted my head up and smiled weakly at them. “Good morning dear” She greeted and Elara got out of her arms and sat on my lap. I wrapped my arms around her and sighed.
“Good morning, what time is it?” I asked as I remembered the conversation with Nolan. Mom looked at my phone and showed me it. It read fifteen minutes past seven so I grabbed the phone to check any missed calls from Nolan but luckily found none. “Mom, Nolan called me three hours ago” I cleared and her eyes went wide.
“What! Why?” She asked as she sat on the bed next to me.
“Nolan called?” Elara asked with an excited tone and I nodded.
“He called because he heard from his commander in chief that there was a fire in our neighbourhood, so I told him that it was ours and explained what happened. He told me not to worry and he’ll call back in a couple of ho-” I was cut off when I heard my phone ring again. I quickly looked at the caller ID and it was an unknown number again so I assumed it was Nolan. “Nolan! What happened?” I asked and my mom got closer and placed her ear near my ear, the one that I placed the phone on.
A minute later, I heard the voice that I surely did not expect to hear. “No, Evelina. it’s dad” he confirmed and I looked at mom and she was confused like me. “How are you?” He asked in a restless tone.
I laughed nervously. “Dad! Hi, umm not to be rude but why are you calling so early in the morning?” I asked and waited. Dad and I had a strong bond. I loved him so much even though things got awkward between him and mom after the divorce, I never felt abandoned by him. Now that I thought about it, why didn’t I call him last night to inform him?
“Nolan called me, he told me what happened. Are you okay!? Elara? Carina? Did anyone of you got hurt? I think I’m having a heart attack, it’s all my fault!” He cried over the phone after his nonsense. I had to stop him before I get a heart attack.
“Dad! It’s not your fault. You weren’t here so it was not your fault” I yelled through the phone and heard Andro too on the other line agree with me. “Hey, Andro” I called in hopes he’d hear me.
I heard footsteps and then a fight over the phone. Still childish I supposed! “Dad, let me hear my sister’s voice and I want to talk to mom. Let go!” He shouted and I had to remove the phone from my ear and mom packed down with a chuckle.
“I didn’t finish, I didn’t tell her... ” Dad fought back.
“I’ll tell them, now give it to me” Andro assured and then I heard loud breaths. “Hey twin, how are you guys?” He asked and I leaned back on the headboard with Elara in my arms. Mom sat on the other side of the bed and closed the distance once again and leaned over to hear. So, to make it easier, I put it on the loud speaker.
“We’re fine... For now” I replied, honestly because I still didn’t know what we will do. We couldn’t live in Mrs Smith’s house forever.
“Don’t worry Eve, we already arranged a flight for you three to come and live with us. I’m sure the taxi will be there in half an hour or so. And mom, don’t you dare refuse. We know that you have nowhere to be and you are our family. Even though you guys got a divorce, that doesn’t mean that we’re not a family anymore. Now, I want to hear my little angel’s voice. Elara!” He countered then called for her. I nudged her shoulder to speak and she did. As she was talking to him, I eyed mom and saw her in deep thoughts. I know mom, she was considering the idea. She could be stubborn at times but in this situation, she had to give in.
She grabbed my shoulder and nodded. “Andro, baby... We’ll come and live with you for a while if that’s okay?” Mom announced and I heard him cheer with dad.
“Alright! I can’t wait to see you guys and dad missed you all, even you mom” he pointed out and mom nodded with a sad smile. I never knew the real reason why they got a divorce. I knew for sure that none of them cheated on the other and I knew that they still love each other but my brothers, Elara and I never knew the real reason.
I smiled at the thought of us being together again. “Goodbye Andro, and thank you guys,” she said then ended the call. “Why didn’t Nolan call back?” She asked me and I shrugged.
“Maybe he only got one phone call after mine and he decided to inform dad. He is smart, but don’t worry we’ll hear from him in no time. As usual.” I replied then hugged her real tight. Elara turned her back and faced us. “I want a hug too,” she whined and we laughed. We hugged for a few minutes until there was a knock on the door. Mom got out and opened the door to see Mrs Smith holding a tray full of food. She was smiling which made us smile in return.
“Here you go, hope you calmed down. Are you okay now?” She asked us as she sat the tray on the table.
I nodded but mom answered. ” Yes, thank you for your hospitality. But we will get moving, we’ll go and live with my ex-husband and son for a while in Chicago.” She announced and the old lady stood there in shock.
“Can’t you stay here, or at least in Virginia?” She asked mom and mom shook her head.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have any relatives here. They are all located in Chicago and we can’t stay here in your house, we are a big burden and you have your own to deal with. Thank you so much for having us. We’ll eat the breakfast and head out.” Mom explained then hugged the old lady. I saw a few tears escape her blue eyes but then she whipped them real quick. Mom was strong.
“Okay dear, I’ll arrange for you some new outfit. You can’t go to the airport in those clothes. For you, I’ll give you from my closet since we look the same size and for Evelina, I’ll give her an outfit that used to belong to my daughter and for Elara, I hope you don’t mind boys’ clothes because they are the only ones available in your size?” She said then looked at Elara, my sister shook her head with a smile then hugged her.
“Thank you,” She replied and I came closer and hugged her as well. She deserved it, she was kind. She offered us her home even though she didn’t owe us anything. People can be kind when they want to.
Thank you, God, for the new road...