Sunday, March 29, 2009

Prompt 276: Siblings? / Theatrical Muse

Are you an only child? Write about your siblings or lack thereof.

For many years I might well have been an only child. After I lost my family I had a difficult time adjusting to the new life that I was being forced into. In those first months I shut myself off from everyone. While I did call both Danijela's and my family I refused to let any of them risk the journey to Vukovar for the funerals, and once they were done, I cut off communication completely. I threw myself into my studies and my work until I was too tired to think, but, it was never enough to stop the nightmares from coming, and I relived that fateful day over and over again so many times.

After the fall of the city I barely made it out with my life, and in truth, more times then naught I wished I had not. I spent months in one of the DPC's recovering from my injuries, with my family not knowing if I was even alive and I myself wishing death would still find me. Eventually I gave up on that hope and realized I was meant to live, even if I didn't want to. Maybe that was my punishment for failing my family, maybe death was too good for me.

In time of course I had to go, I realized that I couldn't hide forever, as much as I might want to. So, as hard as it was, I found my way back to my father's house, back to where all the memories of the happiness that had been stolen from me had been born. I hated everyday I was there, and it was only made worse by the arguments that seemed to daily get worse between my brother Niko and I.

Both my father and my brother felt that being there among those who knew me, those who had known Danijela and our children was the best thing for me. They believed that reminders of our past would comfort me, and in time give me the peace I would need to move on. They were so wrong. The longer I was there the worse it became, until I reached the point where even going to the market was unbearable, and I knew if I was going to survive I'd have to leave.

Once I'd made that decision things between my brother and I fell apart, nothing I said could make him understand why I had to go, and every conversation between us ended in a fight. By the time I left for the United States we were barely speaking and some of his last words to me were of how I was nothing but a coward for running away from my problems instead of facing them.

It took almost 12 years and our father's illness for Niko and I to reconcile and we've both come a long way in that time. I'm not sure he'll ever fully understand why I had to leave anymore then I'll understand why he felt so strongly that I should stay, but, at least we're talking now. Niko's met my wife and my son, he can see that despite what he might have thought, my moving to the United States has allowed me not just to find happiness again, but to build a new family as well. As hard as it might be for him to admit now, in time he may even admit that all those years ago, I was right in leaving.

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