"Did you know that in other countries, they've got four seasons?"
Bryle turned to look at his little 5 year-old sister, Bell.
The two siblings were sitting at their front porch as rain pours down unrelenting before them. It had been raining since the morning, and because of that, school was canceled. Apparently, there was a typhoon coming, so the children needed to stay home.
There wasn't many things that Bryle can do sitting at home, maybe watch TV or play video games, but he was getting bored of that. He actually missed school. Out of boredom, he decided to sit down at the front porch of their house to watch the rain, and he was later joined by his sister.
He told her all the things he learned at school. And that's how they came to the topic of the seasons.
"What's a season?" Bell asked, chewing on her favorite cookie.
"I don't know. But our teacher calls it that." Bryle wrinkled his nose at that thought. He wasn't really fond of not understanding things. "She said that our country is tropical, so we've only got two seasons. But the other countries are not. So they experience summer, winter, autumn, and spring."
Bell's eyes sparkled at the unknown words. "What's a spring?"
Bryle smiled. "It's a season. And my favorite."
"Why is it your favorite?"
"Because, our teacher said that spring comes after winter. The winds will get warmer, and the cold would slowly fade. After the snow melts, there will be lots and lots of flowers and trees will start sprouting new leaves. And animals will come back from long sleep." Bryle explained. "Flowers will grow in fields, just like our wheat, but just with flowers in different colors. And they smell nice."
"It sounds beautiful." Bell exclaimed.
"It is." Bryle agreed.
When his teacher showed them pictures of what spring was like in Japan, and America, and other counties that have them, Bryle had this sudden feeling of wanting to see it for himself. Sure, the idea of snow and snowmen and snowflakes sounded very nice, but spring and seeing everything being renewed was an even nicer thought.
Being in a tropical country, Bryle rarely see plants that weren't the color green, or darker green. He'd seen flowers, but they were in pots, not in fields. He'd seen animals, but either they were too big, or too small. He wanted to see a squirrel.
"Do you think the other countries have typhoons too?" Bell asked, nibbling at another cookie from the box.
Bryle thought for a while about it. Had their teacher said anything about typhoons?
"Yes." Bryle replied after a moment's pause. "If we've got them, then surely they got them too."
Bell seemed to consider that. "But then why don't we have spring, but they do?"
Ah, here comes the questions. Being a little girl, Bell was eternally curious. She was always asking questions about everything that sometimes Bryle doesn't know how to answer and he has to ask help from their mother.
But this time, he was fully prepared.
"We don't get spring because we're near the equator. It means that we get much sunlight and heat because we're basically at the front of the Earth, so our country doesn't get snow. It's the same with spring. We can't have spring if we don't have winter, right?" He explained, feeling proud of himself for listening to his teacher.
Bell stared at her brother as she continued to nibble on another cookie. Bryle worried. If she eats cookies first thing in the morning, she won't want to eat breakfast later. Mom wouldn't like that. But he didn't say anything. He'd let her have some cookies for now, but he'll hide anything else that can potentially stop her from eating healthy later. They fell in a comfortable silence afterward.
Bryle stood up abruptly at his name being shouted.
Bell stood up from beside him as well.
Worried and a little scared, both siblings stepped inside their house to go to their mother. When they came into the kitchen, Bryle saw his mother frantically stuffing food and drinks into a big bag, and she was pulling wires from their plugs and locking the kitchen window.
Bryle's heartbeat sped rapidly at seeing his mother acting so strangely.
"Mom, what's wrong?" he asked, voice trembling. Just then, a loud clap of thunder boomed and Bell jumped beside him.
"We have to leave." his mother firmly stated as she held both her children's wrists and led them to the backdoor, where their car was parked at the backyard.
"Mom, what's going on?" Bryle asked, now equally as frazzled.
"No time to explain. Get in the car." His mother commanded as she sat Bell as well, putting her seatbelt on.
Even though he was scared, Bryle obediently got in the car and fastened his seat belt. Whatever was happening that he didn't understand, his mother did, and it scared her.
The rain was pouring even more ferociously as the car drove away from their home. Bryle looked out the window and had to squint his eyes to see that other cars and people were leaving their houses as well.
From what Bryle could see, people were crying and were bringing just as big a bag as his mother did. Children were being carried by their parents and the adults ran as fast as they could. Through the road, Bryle realized that people were going in one direction. It was the same direction their car was going.
Bryle was only barely ten, but even he could see that the situation was dire. Whatever was happening that he didn't understand, his mother did. A choked sob sounded from beside him. He turned to look at Bell, and his heart broke.
Bell was crying silently. She was holding onto her box of cookies, watching their mother drive silently though the chaos. Seeing his sister's tears, Bryle felt like crying himself. The gravity of the situation, of whatever it was, was keeping up with him.
"Bell, honey, it's okay." His mom called to her without looking back. "Mommy's right here."
Bryle swallowed his cries and held back his tears. Whatever was happening that he didn't understand, his mother did, and she was being strong. Bryle will as well.
He scooted closer to his sister and held her hand, squeezing just a little bit.
"It's okay, Bell." He soothed. "Me and Mom are here."
Still, Bell continued to silently cry. His mother was focused on driving, so it was up to him to make Bell feel better.
"Bell." He called. "Did you know that when spring comes, there will be lots and lots of butterflies?"
That seemed to catch Bell's attention. She turned to look at her brother, tears still streaming down her face, but she was listening.
Bryle saw that as a good sign and continued. "I told you that animals wake up from a deep sleep when spring comes right?"
"It's the same for butterflies. Although they don't sleep, but they turn to a butterfly from a cocoon, so when spring comes, they can fly away with their friends." Bryle wasn't sure what he was saying, but anything to make his sister stop crying was as good thing as any.
"Really?" Bell whispered, voice hoarse from crying.
Bryle nodded. "Yep, and they're in many different colors, just like flowers."
Bell wiped the tears from her face. "Are there pink ones?"
Bryle didn't know but nodded his head anyway. "Yep. And blue, and violet, and green, and there's even black."
At that, Bell's face scrunched. "A black butterfly? Do they hurt princesses?"
Bryle smiled, relieved that Bell was finally not crying. He laughed. "No. Butterflies, no matter what color, don't hurt princesses. In fact, they help them beat the witch."
Throughout the ride, Bryle kept Bell busy with different information he could think of while their mother drove. Bell would ask questions, Bryle would answer, and that would raise even more questions for Bell.
That was how Bryle managed to get it together for the rest of the ride.
When they finally arrived at their destination, his mother carried Bell, carried the big bag, and held his hand through the throngs of hundreds of people that was filling the whole place.
Turns out, they were at an evacuation facility. It was a wide gym complex, and there were tents put up. Bryle's mother talked with some people, and they were led to one of the tents. She put a sleeping Bell down to a blanket she spread, while Bryle changed his wet clothes to dry ones.
"Mom, why are we here?" Bryle asked when they were turning in for the night. He had been holding his tongue back the whole day, afraid that his questions might make his mother mad.
His mom smiled tightly. "We're here because if we stayed at home, we would've been in danger. Your aunt called from the other town. She said that the roads were flooding and it was constantly rising up to the neck. It was only a matter of time before the flood gets to us."
After that, his mother remained quiet. Bryle wasn't able to sleep soundly that night.
When they returned home the next morning, Bryle's heart further broke. What remained of their beautiful home looked like it would go down if he ever so much as touch it. His mother assured him that it was fine, told him to stay with his sister outside, and went on to get some things from the house that she could still save.
Bryle held his sister's hand as they stood outside their home.
"Will it be spring too?" Bell asked and Bryle turned to look at his sister, not really understanding her question.
"What do you mean?" He asked.
Bell blinked. "You said that when the snow melts, it will be spring. Yesterday, there were lots of water, so snow must've melt somewhere, right?"
Bryle was surprised at his sister's reasoning, but then nodded in reply. "Yes, of course. There were lots of snow. It all melted and that is why there were lots of water yesterday."
"And then after the snow melts, there will be spring?" Bell's eyes looked hopeful.
Bryle swallowed, but then nodded again in agreement.
"Yes." He said. "There will be spring."
Bell seemed to like that answer, because the grim look on her face turned sunny and she was bouncing on her heels again.
Bryle internally sighed. For now, that answer will have to suffice. But when he gets older, he was going to show Bell and their mom what spring really looks like.