“Are you awake, sweetheart?”
“Yes, mom… I am”, Eve said and then she yawned. A nine-year-old child doesn’t have much to worry about, does she? Children’s work is playing and enjoying life; however, helping at home is a plus. And Eve knows it! (hard work will never hurt any kid)
Eve belongs to a loving family. They have worked in their workshop and store, for generations. Commerce has always been a good friend of them. They are not rich people but prosperous ones. It’s the result of hard work which, by the way, has given them a great reputation, as very respectable community citizens.
It’s a beautiful sunny morning in Eve’s town -almost a city. Eve’s town is just an hour away from the capital city; nevertheless, it’s not a suburb. The climate is always nice, that’s why the weather is perfect today. The town’s early activity begins… Everybody seems to be happy since locals are very talkative, they greet each other in the streets or they visit friends, especially if they are ill or in trouble. It’s their sense of community working. Everyone’s learned happiness is based on simplicity.
“Honey, take a bath and then we’ll have breakfast together. Could you go to Mrs. Stone’s house after we open the shop?”
“Sure, mama. I will. Let me guess, mom, it’s about her new dress, right?”
“Smart girl I have! Good guess, darling! But I also need to send her a little vase. It’s delicate and fragile, you…”
“Have to be careful!” Eve finished her mother’s sentence, what drew a sweet smile in her mother’s face.
Breakfast was energizing and now all family members are ready for work. Eve’s father and his 2 oldest sons will go directly to the workshop while Eve’s mother, her 3 daughters (including Eve) and the youngest son, Edgar, will head towards their shop. Both subgroups opened their respective doors to the public. And, as soon as they were organized, Eve’s mother asked her to deliver products, as agreed, to Mrs. Stone’s house. Eve’s mother was aware of the fact that Eve was still little, but there were not crimes in their town -almost a city.
“Go on, Eve.”
“My blessing, mom?”
And, after Eve’s mom put her hands onto Eve’s head and prayed God for Eve’s safety, the lively child left home. Eve got out of the family’s shop, turned right, walked a couple of steps and the noise of many customers bargaining and arguing for a better price or product quality came to her ears. It was the Little Market’s buying and selling routine on the corner. Eve moved faster to avoid the crowd. She turned right again on Liberty Street, got on the sidewalk (too many people at Little Market!), walked in front of the drugstore where she heard the “here, your paper with the latest news!” shouting of her friend.
“Good morning, Eve! Early delivery?”
“Hi! You’re right, Mr. White.”
“Go on then, she’s not known for being patient.”
Because Eve was talking with Mr. White, she didn’t realize Tommy’s father was leaving the National Bank and crashed against him, bumping her little head against his left hip.
“Easy Eve, take it easy!”
“Sorry! I didn’t see you, sir.”
“I can tell.” Tommy’s father smiled. “Say hello to your parents, please.”
“Are you coming home tomorrow to help Tommy (Eve’s classmate) with homework? He needs you, Eve!”
“Yes, sir. After church.”
Eve kept walking. She could have taken a shortcut by crossing the Central Park; however, she loves to see the Obelisk because it’s like an arrow pointing at the exact center of the town, and that’s something to impress a child. After watching the Obelisk for a while, Eve turned left, this time, on Main Street.
“Hey Eve! How’s your rabbit doing these days?” Dr. Right, the vet, asked while she was trying to open her business’ door. She was carrying a sick puppy. Even though Dr. Right was insistently trying to open the door, she never stopped caressing the sick puppy.
“Much better, ma’am, thanks for asking.”
“A busy girl, always busy! She reminds me… myself at her age!”, Dr. Right reflected.
Eve’s elementary school was almost empty since it’s Saturday and there were not classes. However, there were some kids practicing soccer on the field, and the band was rehearsing. She waved at them.
“Good morning, Eve!”, greeted, this time, an old couple while painting whatever they were able to see, in the front yard of the nursing home, across from the school’s soccer field. They’ve been married for 60 years, but, because they didn’t have any children, life forced them to fly into a safer nest.
“Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. Goldbridge!”
“Are you and Edgar coming this afternoon to play cards with us, sweetheart?”
“I’ll ask my dad and mom.”
“Please, do so. She is such a beautiful and fine girl! Don’t you think, honey?”
“Yes, darling. You’re right! Eve’s such an angel!”
Eve had to turn right this time, on Apple Street, as she wanted to reach Mrs. Stone’s house. And she did. She rang the doorbell. Mrs. Stone herself opened the door, not her butler, since Mrs. Stone had seen her coming from her studio's window.
“Good morning, Mrs. Stone!”
“A bit late, aren’t you?”
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I came as soon as I could.”
“It’s OK, I guess. Here’s your money. Be careful.”
Actually, Mrs. Stone liked Eve a lot. But, as an old-school lady, Mrs. Stone wouldn’t allow herself to express affection. She even wanted to invite Eve to come in to have breakfast with her, but she wouldn’t allow that either. There’s nothing interesting about having servants but not a family to talk to. Lots of money and time to spend… yet nobody in her life to share with. Eve has always been kind to her; therefore, Mrs. Stone thought Eve deserved her company. But, again, not this time…
“Hi there!”, said Mrs. Stone’s gardener.
“Good morning, Mr. Green!”
“You’d better go straight home, Eve.”
“I will… but…”
“But you won’t take the same way back, will you?”
“I know how much you love to climb that hill to see the boats, near the shore.”
“You’re right, sir.”
“You must go then. Bye, Eve!
Eve smiled again. There was another shortcut from Mrs. Stone’s house to the Obelisk. All she needed to do was going uphill. And she did. It was a wonderful view, indeed… the cliff, the woods, the boats sailing. It was a living painting, a God’s masterpiece! Eve stayed still, looking at her favorite town’s view.
The sound of airplanes’ engines could be heard from a not far distance. Eve was absorbed in travel dreams, so, she didn’t notice it.
Suddenly, all her world was changed by one explosion. The first bomb frightened every fiber of Eve’s body and soul. She was disoriented. “What is this?!” The second, third and other bombs made Eve understand something extremely bad was happening.
Eve turned and saw her town -almost a city- being destroyed. A coordinated bombers’ attack was performed with military precision. Although Eve covered her ears with both hands for not listening to this recently born hell’s death sentence and fell down on her knees in surrender position, she couldn’t order her eyes not to see this monstrosity. One by one, bomb after bomb, all constructions were damaged… just smoking left. No house, no building, then, no life was spared.
The explosions stopped after 9 minutes, to Eve, an eternity. Her legs told her it was time to check her family’s fate because they started to move by themselves.
Eve stood up, walked again, this time, nobody greeted her on her way back home… corpses don’t talk with their neighbors.
Sometimes, History is written with hope, the way Eve does; sometimes, History is written with work and respect, the way Eve’s family does; sometimes, History is written with money, the way Tommy’s father does; sometimes, History is written with love and compassion, the way Dr. Right does; sometimes, History is written with art and vision, the way Mr. and Mrs. Goldbridge do; sometimes, History is written with fear and hate, the way Mrs. Stone does; nonetheless, many times, unfortunately, History is written with blood and death, the way wars do…
Eve started to run home, this time she didn’t stop to see her friends bleeding and dying; she went straight home. Both, the workshop and the store were burning… Eve’s face was fully covered with tears of pain, wrath, and despair (she was so focused in all this destruction that she’d forgotten about crying).
“Eve, what just happened?”, Edgar, her youngest brother, asked. He was in the shop’s backyard when the attack began. He was pushed against a wall by a bomb’s shock wave; what, miraculously, saved him. “Why did they kill our family?”, he insisted.
Eve approached Edgar, she hugged him slowly and strongly… she wanted to stick to something, to have roots. Then, she answered her brother’s question.
“I don’t know.”