Hard to Say Good-bye
"Tata? Why are you still there? We're waiting for you, Tata, aren't you coming with us?" Luka reached out to his young daughter as she called to him, trying to catch her hand in his before she turned away.
"Wait, Jasna, wait for me, Tata's coming." Without a thought he lunged for the small girl as she started to move away, only to find himself rudely pulled from the dream as he sprawled on the floor beside the cot he now claimed as his bed, his daughter nowhere in sight. Releasing an anguished groan, Luka buried his face in his arms, that which had only moments before been so real, now clearly nothing more than another dream.
She wasn't here, none of them were, the reality struck with a clarity that immediately brought tears with it, and for several minutes he could only lay there on the rough wooden floor and grieve for their losses.
"Luka, are you all right?" The voice preceded the rap on the door, and even as the question was asked, he knew the man outside wouldn't dare enter before permission was given.
'No, yes, I don't know." Brushing away the betraying tears, he climbed to his feet and turned the knob on the door, opening it only enough that it would signal his consent and nothing more before he went back to sit on the bed.
"I brought you some soup." Easing the door fully open, the older man entered, a mug, wrapped in a towel in his free hand.
"I don't want anything." Unwilling to look at him, Luka dropped his eyes to his hands, the hands that had failed his family so badly. He squeezed his eyes shut as the unwanted reminder seemed only to taunt him, leaving him feeling even more hollow then he already felt.
"You have to eat son." He took a seat beside his student, though he allowed a long moment of silence to pass between them before he did anything else, and then he only passed the mug to the younger man.
"It'll get easier, I know it doesn't seem like it now, but it will." He touched the towel where it still covered the mug, bringing it again to his student's attention.
"Everyday will be less painful, and one day it won't hurt at all." He touched Luka's shoulder, finishing the words as he stood.
"I know you can't see past what you feel now, but you will, trust me, now, eat your soup before it gets cold." He applied a brief squeeze of pressure before releasing the younger man's shoulder. He expected no response from him and was not disappointed as he was met by only more silence as he turned and left the room. It would take time, but, like those before him, and those to come after, life would go on, and the young man would go on, their future depended on it.