Thursday, August 31, 2006

Indescribable/100 Moods

ER/Luka Kovac 052.Indescribable
Title: Firstborn
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka and Jasna Kovac
Prompt: Indescribable
Word Count: 450
Rating: PG
Warnings/Spoilers: None to speak of
Summary: Luka meets his newborn daughter for the first time.

He had paced the hall for hours it seemed when what he had wanted most was to be inside at his wife's side. When he was sure he was going to go through the door despite the doctor's orders to the contrary he had heard it, the cries that signaled the newborn's arrival and suddenly nothing else mattered anymore. He rushed to the double doors, unable to control his impatience any longer, he was a father.

"Mr. Kovac." The nurse pushed the door open before he could do it himself and smiled at the young father's eagerness. "Congratulations, you have a daughter, would you like to see her?"

Luka shook his head as the answering grin temporarily made words impossible. "Danijela, my wife, is she alright?"

"She's fine, they're finishing up with her and will be moving her to recovery in a few minutes, your daughter is this way, and she's perfect." She led him down the hall as she spoke, motioning him into the small nursery.

"My daughter?" There was a hint of worry as his eyes first landed on the newborn, only to find a doctor seemingly bagging her. Isn't she breathing?" He was at her side before they could hold him back, the hint now succumbing to panic as his mind raced through all the worst case scenarios he had studied to date.

"Luka, you need to calm down, for your daughter and your wife, can you do that?" The man glanced over to the young med student only long enough to see his nod of acknowledgment before returning to his small patient. "She's just forgetting to breathe, so we're just helping her until she figures out what she's supposed to do."

"She'll be alright?" He extended his hand to touch his daughter but hesitated just shy of actually touching her with the question.

"Luka, she'll be fine, it happens all the time, you know that." The man paused long enough to scoop the small girl into his arms before turning to present her, bag and all, to her father. "Take her, you can do this just as easily as I can."

For a brief instant disbelief flooded the young father's face but as her looked down at his firstborn child any remaining hesitation fled. As he cradled her into the crook of his arm it was as if she were made to fit exactly there. The feelings that were sweeping through him were indescribable.

"Jasna." He whispered her name softly before he began the counts that would mark the tempo of his squeezing of the bag. "She's beautiful." He stated to no one in particular, and there was no doubt by anyone there that she was.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Plead your case for getting into heaven/RotM challenge

1.22.2 Getting Into Heaven
Muse: Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 689

His time had finally come, after all the years of praying, of pleading, of begging for death to find him it had finally come. Standing now in front of the gates he found the tears wetting his cheeks beyond his control. The one thing he had wished for was finally here and as much as he had wanted it he knew it had meant leaving behind the new life, the new family, he had at long last welcomed into his life.

He saw the man approaching but it wasn't him his eyes were on, no, his eyes had moved beyond him and to the three figures in the distance. If it were possible he was sure his heart would have stopped at the sight.

"Danijela." He whispered her name as if saying it too loud might break the illusion and erase all of them before they were fully visible.

"Tata." It was Jasna who called to him first, and before her mother could stop her the small girl had broke free of the woman's hold and was running toward the gates. His eyes shifted from her only long enough to assure himself that her mother had the only other person he still needed confirmation on, and then he saw him, the dark head resting on her shoulder.


He approached the man at the gates. "I have to get in.

I'm coming baby" He slipped into Croatian as he offered the reassurance to his daughter as she reached the fence and began repeating her demands for his entry.

"Tata...Tata..." The little girl's cries to him became louder.

"Name?" The man flipped through the large book before him.

"Luka Kovac...please, that's my wife, those are my children.."

"Tata." Jasna's pleas had become more insistent and were now joined by Marko's voice as Danijela joined her.

"Tata." The toddler stretched his chubby hand out and motioned to his father.

"Can't you see what you're doing to them?" Luka found himself pleading with the gatekeeper, while trying to remain calm for the sake of his wife and children.

"What makes you think you deserve to be here?" Peter scanned through the book until he found Luka's name and then browsed through the list of notes under it, all the while shaking his head.

"I'm here aren't I?" His eyes shot again to his family as Danijela tried to calm the two small children.

"How can you do this to them, if I wasn't supposed to be here, would they be here to meet me?" His gaze leveled on the man for only a moment before he moved over to where the children were. Kneeling, his tears fell freely as he stretched his hand through the gate's bars to touch that of the child who had died in his arms. "Let me go to them..." He made the request while keeping his eyes on his daughter.

"I've missed you so much." He'd stopped switching back to English, the realization that in this place all language was one finally dawning.

"Down...down...want Tata!" Marko had begun to get restless seeing his father so close and Danijela finally gave in using his squirming as an excuse to allow her to kneel beside her daughter as well.

"Luka..." For the first time she spoke and to his ears it was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.

"Please...don't do this to them, they've suffered enough...please."

The gates opened...

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Croatia 1991

Laying on his side in the medical tent Luka found himself wishing for quiet, it was never quiet here. It had only been three days since he'd been found on the side of the road near death, three days since he had been forced back into a life that he had no desire to be in. He spent most of his time sleeping but those increasing hours awake were inevitably being filled not just with memories, but with the sounds of families living a life he would never again know.

Leaning over the edge of the cot he succumbed to an intense barrage of coughing as his lungs battled against the pneumonia that infested them. Conditions here were harsh, supplies limited and he still clung to the hope that death would find him.

"You're awake." His coughing had attracted one of the nurses to his side and she braced her hand against his thin back, supporting him as it ran it's course.

"Are you hungry? I have some broth and tea for you." When she received little more than an icy stare in response the woman drew back.

"Govorite li engleski?" She waited a moment more, studying his face until he laid back down and turned his back to her. "Have it your own way. She returned to her own language before moving on to the man in the next bed.

In truth Luka did speak English, and the quiet rumble of his stomach told him that it would have welcomed the broth and tea she'd been offering, but he didn't want comfort from them, not yet. He had made his peace with God, he was ready to join his family, he didn't ask them to save him. It was his life. What right did they have to bring him here, to force him to accept care when what he really wanted was death?

Yet another round of coughing silenced his thoughts and left him exhausted. All he wanted now was sleep, and the death they denied him, laying back down he turned once more on his side. Pulling the thin blanket over his shoulder he closed his eyes and willed his mind to silence the voices in the tent. There was no guarantee that his sleep would not bring another nightmare, but he clung to the hope that it could just as easily bring a fonder memory, one in which he might, if only for a moment, be reunited with Danijela and his children, and it was that thought on whose wings he was carried off to sleep.

Friday, August 25, 2006

One thing about human nature that puzzles you./Theatrical Muse Challenge

:::Shakes head::: Weaver set this up didn't she?  She's always doing that, setting up appointments with the hospital psychiatrists or psychologists because she is convinced that either my personal life or the pressures of work are becoming too much for me.  It's not, and I don't need to be here, which isn't to say that I haven't needed to be at other times despite what I might have said.  But, that isn't the question is it?

Self-guilt...that would be my answer.  I'm a doctor, I more than most should understand how harmful this can be to a person, but that doesn't stop me from being a victim of it.  I don't know that any of us choose willingly to have it befall us, it's more the kind of thing that sneaks up on you while your mind is overwhelmed by something else.  I doubt too it's something you'll find that someone suffers from on it's own, likely it'll be a companion illness, shared in my case with depression, and a mind numbing sense of loss that seemed to prevent me from letting go of a life that was no longer mine to keep.


Bah...counter reset itself

Well if that isn't frustrating...looks like I lost the total on how many people have visited my journal in the last two years...this 275 is only representative of about two weeks.

Bah I say

Our Love/Romantic in 100 Moods

ER/Luka Kovac 082.Romantic
Title: Our Love
Fandom: ER
Characters: Luka and Danijela Kovac
Prompt: Romantic
Word Count: 481
Rating: light R
Warnings/Spoilers: Sexual Situation
Summary: Luka and Danijela find some time alone

"Luka, it's time to wake up."  Danijela sat on the side of the bed before leaning over her sleeping husband so she could whisper in his ear. "Luka." A smile spread across her face when he did little more than moan and press his face deeper into his pillow.

"Oh, you're going to play this game are you?"  Her smile grew wider before she blew lightly into his ear. "Luka." She whispered his name softly so as not to wake their two small children who slept not far away, before running her finger along his jawline.

"We could play something else..."  Her tone became sing-song as she traced the bone.  "Luka..."

When her actions finally prompted him to crack an eye open she laughed lightly.  "Good evening, sleepyhead."  With him now awake she lay alongside him, and rested her head on his shoulder.

"I have supper waiting for you on the stove, but, it's still early and the children are already asleep." She kissed his neck with the invitation.  Moments that the two found together were too few and far between to pass up on.

A still drowsy smile spread across his face as he rolled onto his back, then drew her on top of him before kissing her.  "Evenin', I think that sounds like a wonderful idea." His long fingers threaded naturally into her curls as he whispered to her.

"Did you have something in mind?"  His smile brought his accompanying dimples with it as he teased his wife for more details and in return watched the blush he knew would follow tint her face. "You're so beautiful."

Instead of answering Danijela glanced toward the doorway that separated the two of them from their two small children, when she was sure that she heard no sound she returned her eyes to Luka.  He was the only man she had ever known, her first love.  Instead of speaking,  she lowered her eyes as a concession to the modesty she was used to, and slipped out of her sweater, revealing her nakedness beneath.  Then, as she lifted her eyes to his for his reaction, she smiled.

"I love you so much." His hands abandoned her dark locks for the newly revealed pale skin as he took hold of her and pulled her close so that he could kiss her again.  "So much."

He rolled her onto her side, letting his fingers explore her skin until they brought goosebunps up on it and forced little mews from her.  Only then did he coax her from the rest of her clothes as he let her do the same from him...dinner would have to wait.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Realm of the Muse 1.21.2

In my next life I'll come back as ...

a nobody, one of those people who have nothing eventful happen in their lives. What an amazing thing that would be. Think about it, to go through your life, day in and day out and find it being totally predictable. To meet and marry, to have children, to raise that family and know you will all grow old together. To know the joy of watching your children become adults, to see them through school, to experience their joy as they meet their first love.

I know how it sounds, most people would wish to be rich, to be famous, to travel. Not me, none of that means anything once you've experienced the loss of your wife, and worse, that of your children. I think about all of the things I've been through in my life, the places I've been, the things I've seen and I know I would gladly sacrifice all of IT to be back in that small two room apartment again with my wife and children.

In those early years after the deaths of my family I thought often about karma as I tried to find ways to accept what had happened. I blamed myself and thought that were I to believe in the possibility of it then I must have done something quite grievous to have warranted repayment with so many deaths. I never accepted the deaths as a fair trade in any stretch of the imagination, how could I have? How could anyone think the deaths of not just one but two children could hold equal value to anything someone had done?

So, that would be my choice. Though in truth I know this is my only life and on my death I still hold out hope to be reunited with those I lost so many years ago.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What is your most powerful memory?/Talking Muses

Is there any question to how I might respond to this? How could anyone ever look upon the face of their own dead or dying child and not forever have that image embedded into their memory? It's hard to decide whose is the most difficult to live with, each carry their own degrees of guilt with them. 

Markos are first, layers under that of his sister's as he was under his crib when I first found him.  All that was visible of him in that first moment was his tiny hand, reaching up through the rungs of his crib as if somehow he hoped someone might see it and save him, though no one could, for I found him too late.  Even as I saw it I could do nothing because I knew in that instant that he was gone and there was still hope for his mother and sister.  I had lost my youngest, my baby boy before he could even turn two. How long had he clung to life with that hope of being saved?

Jasna's life would hang in the balance for far longer and I would have hours to struggle to save her, knowing that in choosing her I was condemning her mother to death.  I think Danijela knew how badly she was injured even though she remained silent to me of the pain she was in.  How could she complain, and risk her needs being placed ahead of that of her firstborn?  In the end I would lose them both, mother and daughter, so alike, yet at times so very different.

The hardest memory of that night is of my unburying Marko, I couldn't leave him like that, even as tired as I was.  He was alone and I needed him with us.  From somewhere I found the energy to pull the debris from his small body, he might have been sleeping for the peace that was on his face.  I wiped my tears from his cheeks as they wet them, using them to clean the dirt away before I carried him to Danijela.  It seemed only right that she have her babies with her, and I placed him, as I had Jasna in her arms before laying next to them. 

It was there that I was found when help finally arrived.

Luka Kovac/ER
Words: 368

Friday, August 18, 2006

Going for Water (Original pic from Welcome to Sarajevo)

Going for Water/Vulnerable in 100Moods

This was the worst time of the day, he was sure of it. He hadn't used to feel that way, there had been a time when he had thought of dusk as just the opposite.  With the sun settling low in the sky as it faded into a wash of purples, oranges, and reds, could anything have been more beautiful?  But that was before.

Gathering together the water containers he slung the three smaller, which were connected by a length of cording, across his shoulder before grabbing the larger two. "Danijela, I'm going to go before it gets fully dark." He made the announcement even as he knew that it was one he made almost every time he went out at this time.

"Be careful, Luka." His young wife came around the corner with their son draped over her shoulder.

"I always am." He stepped closer so that he could give first the sleeping boy, then her a kiss. "I'll be fine, it's been fairly quiet."  He gave his wife a smile of reassurance 

"Jasna, come give Tata a kiss before I go." He called to his daughter, knowing that he couldn't leave without seeing her in the oft chance the worst did happen.

Almost immediately a miniature version of his wife appeared and locked her arms around his knees before he sat the two water jugs down and picked her up.

"Can't I come?" She slid her arms around his neck with the request she knew would be denied.

"You know you can't."  He kissed her forehead before pressing his to hers.  "I'll be back though before I go to work.  Be good for Mama, help her with Marko."

"I will." The quiver of withheld tears was in the words despite her attempt to hold them back.

"Okay, baby, I need to go." He shifted his head so that he could kiss the girl once more before sitting her back on the ground. After mouthing a final I love you to his wife he opened the door and grabbed the containers. "I'll be back as soon as I can."

While the dash to the water spigot had been fairly quiet the run back from it was looking to be a not so.  The line for the tap had been longer than usual and by the time his turn came he could already hear an increase in the rounds being exchanged.  As he finished and shouldered his burden he quickly crossed himself before grasping the larger containers, one in each hand and beginning the zigzag run back toward their apartment.

The trip was one he would never get used to.  Running from one side of the street to the otherwas just one of the methods he used to evade the snipers that he knew watched over the streets.  Pulling up to a stop at a corner his breath came in ragged gasps, and he used the time not just to catch it but to make sure the coast was clear before taking off again.  He barely acknowledged the several other people who stood with him, though when they, as a group, stepped off the curb and began their own dashes for safety he too moved.

When the sounds of gunfire seemed to suddenly break out around them Luka somehow found a renewed burst of energy despite the screaming of his lungs.  Running though the empty streets he crossed to an alleyway only to be forced to duck as the mortar above his head splintered and rained down on his hair. For a moment he was sure his heart was going to stop and he stumbled, nearly losing his balance as he realized just how close he had come to being on the receiving end of one of the sniper's bullets.  Danijela couldn't know, it was hard enough for her now, if she knew how vulnerable he really was...he couldn't do that to her.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Prompt: Curious for 100Moods

Once Upon a Time

"Mama...isn't it time for Tata to wake up yet?" For no less than the tenth time since she'd eaten lunch the small girl was tailing her mother with the question.

"Jasna, baby, you know Tata has to work tonight, he needs to sleep, now go play with Marko while I finish the washing."  Danijela looked down at her young daughter as she spoke, her hands still in the basin of water that sat next to the sink.  What she wouldn't give for running water again, which only served to remind her that she needed to remind Luka that they would need water again before he went to the hospital.

"But, Mama," The fact that her daughter's voice had settled into a pleading whine became enough of a distraction that she failed to see her young son crawl out of her line of sight.

"Tata...Tata," Marko had himself picked up on his sister's need for their father's attention and decided to take matters into his own small hands.  Not yet walking, he crawled around the divider that separated the small kitchen from the front room and over to the couch where Luka slept. Pulling himself up on his feet he leaned his face in close to his sleeping fathers. 

"Tata, up?" At the question he lifted the man's visible eyelid open as his own came so close that their eyelashes very nearly touched.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Prompt 2A - Write a letter to someone/Talking Muses

He had worked a double shift and still sleep was eluding him, rather than waking Abby, Luka eased the covers back and slipped from the bed.  He knew what was bothering him, the same thing that had been bothering him off and on since Abby had told him she was pregnant.  He had to make peace with this before the baby was born.  As he settled at the desk in the living-room he found himself releasing a breath he hadn't realized he held.  What was he so afraid of?  Pulling out paper and a pen he started the first of the letters he knew he had to write.

My beloved son Marko,

It's hard to believe you would be the age your mother was when first I saw her, that so many years have passed since I first held you in my arms.  You were so tiny and I fell in love with you from the first moment I saw you in the hospital.  Every day since I lost you, Mama, and Jasna, I've missed having you with me. I think about all the things you were never able to experience, and what I would have given to have traded my life for yours if it had been possible.  I loved you so much, still love you, and wanted you to know that you're going to become a big brother.  It's been hard for me, for so many years I was afraid to allow myself to think about having another family for fear that it might mean betraying you and my memories of you. I know now that doesn't have to happen, and if anything those memories will only strengthen as I share them with your new brother or sister.  So, for that reason I wanted to share this news with you.

I love you baby, and always will, Tata.

Rereading the letter brought tears to his eyes but it also brought the closure he knew he had hoped to find in it's writing.  As he finished he slid it in an envelope only to reach for then begin the next...

My beautiful daughter Jasna...

Following Prompt 1.20.2/Realm of the Muse

Something is following you. Everywhere. No matter where you go, it's there. What is it? What will you do?=========================================================
For too many years I lived this exact scenario, and only in the last few years have I finally begun to find ways to escape it.  I know, your first question is what is following me, or was in my case?

Guilt.  Guilt over my failing to see the signs of what what happening in the early stages of the War for Independence.  Guilt for not taking my family out of Vukovar when Danijela suggested it in the early stages of the conflict.  Guilt over not sending she and our children to one of our parent's homes when the siege began in the City.  Guilt over not having taken them to the market on that fateful day.  Guilt over not having been able to choose between my wife or my daughter so that one could have lived.  Guilt over failing them and losing them all. Guilt over being the sole survivor.

For many years I allowed it to consume me, denying myself even the simplest of pleasures as a means of punishing myself for the mistakes I felt I'd made.  I refused to allow anyone to get close for fear they might learn the truth, or worse that I might feel something other than the grief I felt was all I deserved.

But times change, and I'm changing with it.  I'm slowly accepting that what happened to my family was beyond my control and am making peace with those losses.  For the first time in fifteen years I'm looking forward to what the future holds instead of living for the past. I have a new child on the way, a child with whom I want to share so much, and yes, that includes the memories of the brother and sister he or she will never know.  It's a start.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Do you tend to make friends easily? Why or why not?/Theatrical Muse Challenge

Once again we touch on one of those subjects that has a complicated answer, the before Vukovar vs the after Vukovar Luka.

Were we talking about the before Vukovar version of who I am my answer would be a resounding yes. As far back as I can remember I had a close-knit group of friends with whom I spent most of my time, I was also the first one out of the group to strike up a conversation when we went anywhere.

If you were to ask those who knew me then to describe what I was like they would likely recall me as a practical joker, someone who liked to laugh and was rarely alone. I was always the first to suggest a night on the town after class, or just a gathering of friends in our apartment over good food and wine or beer.

Even after marrying our friends were an important part of who we were and nothing changed in that when Danijela became pregnant with Jasna. When our daughter was born it seemed only natural that she became part of our circle. Carried willingly by any and all only to be cradled by each as she slept throughout the course of the evening.

When we moved to Vukovar, so I could begin my residency, we stayed in contact with those who were no longer part of our daily lives through phone calls and weekend trips back and forth as time allowed. At the same time we found ourselves forming new friendships to fill the holes their daily absences left within us.

Time passed, our family grew by one, and our friendships, both near and far, tightened, we thought life could only get better...we were wrong. The war began and with it came the siege on Vukovar, the death of my family, and with them the death of the man they had all known and loved.

I remained in Vukovar until it's fall, escaping through a side exit of the hospital in those same final moments that Serbian troops were pulling up to the front doors. Even as I fled I knew it was in body only, everything I was, all I'd wanted to be was being left behind in that City, and I was being driven from it.

My escape left me wounded in both body and spirit and at first I allowed myself to sink into a depression that left room for little else. As I struggled for recovery in one of the many displaced person's camps throughout my homeland I disconnected from everyone, including my family.

My healing came slowly and with it came my decision to immigrate to the United States, the farther I could get from my past and the reminders of it the better.

Which brings us to the post Vukovar version of who I became, the loner, because if you get too close it means talking about your past and that was something I couldn't do.

Fifteen years have passed since I lost my family, and in that time I have almost become a mirrored opposite of the man that I used to be. Where once I was open, now I am reserved, where once I was the center of a close-knit band of friends, now I often drink alone. Where once I was the man who swore his love to only one woman, I became one who not only thought nothing of sleeping with a married woman, but would pay for sex as well. Where once I had friends with whom I shared everything, now I keep all my hopes and fears to myself.

I would like to think some of these behaviors are behind me now. I find myself hoping that the fact that I will again be a father will lead me back to where I once was. That the relationship Abby and I are re-discovering will one day become as comfortable as that which I had with Danijela. Lastly, I find myself wishing that Abby and I will one day know and share the joy of true friends as Danijela and I once did all those years ago.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hallucination/Artistic License

This is hard for me because so much of what I remember comes in bits and pieces, disjointed fragments that twist memories of my past with the horrors we were subjected to while in the Mai Mai's hands.

It was hard to breathe...they loaded us all into one truck, throwing one body on top of another.  Some have been dead for days, oh God, the smell.

No, don't cover it.  They're covering it with a tarp.  I can feel the panic rising. It's like a tomb as they  block out the light, closing off the little breeze the moving vehicle might bring.
What's to stop them from killing us too?  What's to stop them from burying us with all the rest?

"Danijela?" I can feel her hand brushing across my brow, through my hair. It can't be her, but her touch is there. I can't understand her...why can't I understand her? Her words ease the panic even if I can't understand them.  I can't keep my eyes open, but I'm afraid that if I close them it'll be the last time.

"Danijela!" Then there are hands grabbing at me, pulling me from the truck, pulling me away from her. "No, Danijela." She's gone, but others are here, I hear their voices as they carry me past their tents and shelters. But the words are all wrong.  The ones carrying me keep walking and soon their voices are gone too, and there's only the darkness again. 

They push through a doorway, I feel the material covering it brush across me as we move through it.  Once inside then they lay me on a rough blanket on a wood floor and I somehow find just enough energy to realize that Chance and her mother are here as well.  We were the only three to survive.


Greatest Fear/Talking Muses

There was a time not so long ago where I would have said that my greatest fear was that I would never again have the chance to be a husband or father again.  Losing Danijela and my children during the siege on Vukovar had left an emptiness inside of me that I was sure could never be replaced by anything.  It didn't help that I accepted full blame for our being in the City.  It was my fault that their lives had been placed in danger, for not leaving when we'd had the chance.  It had been my fault that I hadn't been able to save them when they had been injured.
When Abby told me she was pregnant I wasn't sure how to react, I was stunned, then frightened, what if she decided to abort the child?  I knew she didn't want to be a mother, not with the way Maggie was but I still knew I wanted my child.  When she decided to keep the pregnancy I was thrilled, I was going to become a father again.  Abby and I haven't discussed marriage, I think it's too soon for that, but, I'll do what's best for the child and for her.
So, what is my Greatest fear now? My fear is that I won't be the kind of father to this child I was with my first two.  That somehow, my loss of them will carry over to how I treat this one and I'll find myself overprotective.  I don't want to deny this child any of the experiences they deserve to have in life but I'm scared.  This child is a dream come true to me, and if anything were to happen to it I think it would kill me.  So, maybe in truth that's the Greatest fear,that my child won't survive, because I can't go through that again.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Prompt 1.C: First/ Talking Muses


She was more than just my wife, and the mother to my children. Danijela was my first love, my only love.  We met when I was 18 and she was just 16, for over a year we met in secret, the love we felt for each other ours alone. When we were together it was as if the world seemed to stop and all we could talk about was the day when we could finally be together.

The day that I asked her father for her hand in marriage was one that would forever change who we were.  No more would we think of ourselves as individuals, no more would we think of what we would do as affecting only one of us, as soon as Danijela turned 18 we would become man and wife.

Because Danijela and I were both raised as Catholics, and she, and her family were quite religious, there was also another first to our wedding, or should I say to our wedding night.  Yes, as old fashioned as it is to admit to, Danijela and I not only consummated our marriage that first night, we both also lost our virginity. There had never been any question of that being the case of course, and I don't even think it entered my mind for the very reason that I knew it would be an insult to both her and her family to have even asked it of her before then.

I wonder sometimes what our future would have held had the war not taken it from us.  Our first child, Jasna would have been old enough to be thinking of marriage and possibly her first child and Marko would have been the age his mother was when we met.

I can't change what happened to my family, I can't stop living my life because they are no longer here to live theirs, even though for many years I did just that.  What I can do and will do now is live mine for them.  I've recently learned that I'm going to become a father again and I couldn't be happier.  For most of the last 15 years I have kept the memories of Danijela, Jasna, and Marko to myself, but no more.  My newest son or daughter deserves to know the brother and sister he or she will never meet and for the first time I can openly say, I look forward to sharing them.

Spirit/Theatrical Muse Challenge

So much of what happened to me during my time with the Mai Mai is a blur.  It's hard to know what was real and what was hallucinations caused by the untreated malaria I was suffering from during that time.  What I do remember, and maybe it's because it was the last conversation we had before he was murdered, was the one Patrique and I had on the Holy Spirit.  It's hard not to think that I was the one responsible for his being drawn to their attention. If I had remained silent would his fate have been the same?

Kneeling there in the blistering heat I remember asking him if he was religious as the Mai Mai were moving among us, stripping us of wallets, jewelry, shoes. I told him my mother was, and I'd go to church with her because I liked the music. For some reason this set one of the rebels off and he kept shoving Patrique from behind as I talked, he'd push him forward and I just kept on talking like nothing was happening.  I think one of the last things I said to him was how hard it was to feel the Holy Spirit in a place like that. He was murdered within minutes of the conversation as he pleaded for them to spare my life rather than his own.

The remaining men being held were drug one by one into one of the tents where they were killed.  Chance and her mother were huddled outside, forced to listen, not knowing if they would be raped, or killed next, and Patrique's lifeless body lay where he had fallen next to me.

It's funny how things change you.  The first time we encountered the Mai Mai in Matenda I taunted them, I think I wanted them to kill me. I was daring them to do it.  Now, three weeks later, I'm searching for something I haven't had in my life for twelve years.  Amidst all that death, I found the strength to drag myself to my knees and pray for my life.  I can't say that I knew at the time that what I was doing would save my life, that it would save the lives of Chance and her mother, but it did.

So I guess I was wrong, even in a place of such horror as that the Holy Spirit did exist. I only wish more lives could have received the gift that we three did on that day.  At the very least I wish Patrique could have.

What's the biggest whopper you ever told?/RotM 1.18

"It's probably just the flu, you'll be fine."

The words were just the beginning of a series of lies I'd tell that day.  I could excuse my actions by saying I wasn't even supposed to be there.  I'd drank too much the night before and when I arrived I was still hung over.  I went over the case with Carter but he hadn't really done a history on the kid and I wasn't alert enough to pick up anything unusual with what I saw on first look.  Abby tried to tell me something was wrong, wanted me to do more tests, but I wasn't listening, I knew more.

By the time, someone else got involved the damage was done, instead of preparing for his wedding day his parents and fiance were sitting in the ICU preparing for the moments that would lead to his funeral. 

You would think I would have learned from my mistakes that day, but I hadn't, I left, tired and angry, driving too fast in conditions that should have mandated caution. Making matters worse, I put someone elses life in danger and I didn't even care.


Have you ever woken up in the morning and not remembered what you did the night before?/TM Challenge

I've done things in my life that I'm not proud of, that night of the staff Christmas party at Susan's is one of those.  I couldn't tell you most of what happened that evening, I do know Abby was with John at the time and I wanted to be anywhere but there.

I started drinking almost as soon as I walked in the door, like I thought that would help make the situation more tolerable.  I shouldn't have been there, I wasn't in the mood to socialize I wasn't in the mood to watch John and Abby together, and I definitely wasn't in the mood to be present when the gift exchange began.  I think I still held onto the hope that there might be something between us, and her gift reflected that.  I don't know how I possibly thought that drinking would make things easier, when in truth, the night only served to set in motion things far worse.