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3rd Place, Junior

  • Mya Kubryn

  • Calgary, AB
  • Grade 7
  • A word from the artist

    Mya is in seventh grade and she enjoys writing. She Swims, Runs, is a gymnast, she plays piano, loves archery, she is a Martial artist, she love drama, and she plays badminton.She have a five year old brother that she loves more than anyone on the face of the planet.She is in a high-leveled lifeguard course and has been swimming for her whole life. she is in level 6 repetoire piano course and she enjoys doing acrobatics. She is a hunger games fan and loves anything about vampires.

Tears of Joy

As I lay on our rug, listening to the radio, I watch my little brother. He plays joyfully with his favorite green toy tank beside my mother on her velvet seat. If only his six year old self could imagine the horrid war our world was facing at this moment. It’s my father’s birthday in a few days but it seems pointless to celebrate without him. I listen to the reports; only more detail of the Germans bombing Britain; nothing too exciting happening. Then again, war wasn’t exciting, it was deadly.
My mother was sitting next to the fireplace wrapped up in her favorite fleece blanket. She was so still, so quiet, and so….. dead. I couldn’t find another word to describe how she looked. Her face looked like a statue carved out of glass. Tears slowly made their way from her puffy red eyes to the tip of her fragile chin. I couldn’t bear to look at her. Everything about her expression made me so annoyed and furious that I boiled deep inside. It almost felt like my chest was swollen; empty almost.
I glance over at my brother quickly and I am completely shocked, “Jasper, no! How many times do I have to ask you not to touch Daddy’s belongings!?” Didn’t he understand that father’s drawings and other items may be the last thing we had of him for now? I couldn’t imagine life without him, let alone without anything of him to remember.
“Why not?” he asked in an innocent tone.
“You know exactly why. Now stop! Please?” I begged. “They’re very delicate.”
Jasper pouted, “You’re just being bossy because you know that father won’t come back. I overheard you talking to mommy yesterday. I hate it when you act like I don’t know what’s going on!”
This was the first time mother had spoken that day. “Jasper, watch what you say… Edythe, it’s alright; don’t run off to your room.” She met my dazed expression. “Jasper! Apologize!”
I couldn’t hear him mumble his sorry, I couldn’t hear my footsteps as I bolted up the stairs to my room, I couldn’t hear the door slam behind me. No, no, NO! Don’t cry! Don’t CRY!  I yelled to myself in my head. I couldn’t do it any longer. Mother wanted me to set a good example for Jasper for the past two years. I had worked so hard; bit my tongue, held my breath- I tried anything, and everything.
I could feel my eyes start to water. I crashed onto my bed and sobbed. My soft elbow-length caramel colored hair stuck to my face and I pulled it away. Why did life have to be so cruel? I wanted my father so desperately! Why couldn’t we find peace? Why did war exist? It’s not fair. Nothing is ever fair.
My pillow was soaked within a few minutes. It was silent below me. What were they doing? Perhaps Jasper was making a “sorry” card. He tended to do that often. I really wasn’t in the mood to read.
I checked the little clock above my nightstand. “Ugh. I forgot about dinner.” Once father was drafted, mother expected me to do the cooking. She wasn’t much of a chef. Sometimes her food wasn’t exactly “edible”. I laughed at the one time she tried preparing soup and forgot entirely about actually heating the pot. My laugh sounded depressed and lifeless. I sighed and flipped my pillow over so I could lay my head on the dry side.
Just then, I heard footsteps on our front porch and a knock on our door. I closed my eyes- I knew exactly what was about to happen. They were handing out death notices, of course. This is it, I told myself. Prepare to be crushed. I laid on my back and traced the outline of my laced shirt. I heard lots of commotion downstairs and I started to realize that my mother wouldn’t react well to the letter. You should probably go downstairs and comfort her. You should tell her that we will be fine- that everything will be alright.
I couldn’t make myself move. Every muscle in my body was frozen into place. I couldn’t feel anything. For all I’d known, my heart could’ve stopped right then and there. Edythe, you’ve already known he wouldn’t come back, just let him go. Just face your pain and deal with it. You can’t hide from it forever. I couldn’t do this. I didn’t want to live. If my father was gone, I felt it was the right thing to do and go along with him. He didn’t deserve death; none of those soldiers did.
I heard my bedroom door slowly open, and I keep my eyes shut. I listened to the heavy footsteps move along my lovely dark mahogany floor. They slowly made their way to the edge of my footboard. The footsteps were heavy and even- that didn’t sound like my mother. Who could-
“Edythe,” a voice breathed gently. It sounded soft, calm and welcoming.
I’d recognize that person’s voice anywhere, “Dad?” I hopped off my bed and ran into my father’s open arms. His shirt smelt strongly of sweat and dirt.
“Careful, my arm,” He nodded towards the large bandage wrapped on his forearm. It had dark red blotches on the surrounding crisp white fabric. The bandage covered all the way from the begging of his right wrist to his elbow.
My small spark of happiness froze, “What…”
“I got shot by a bullet. It’s not too bad. They sent me back home anyways. I’m alright, don’t worry.” He smiled and winked. His pale face was skinnier than before but his smile still had the amazing warmth that it always had. If I focused hard enough, I could manage to catch the outline of his cheekbones.
“It’s going to be alright, don’t worry. The war will end soon. Everything will return to our happy regular lives.” He sounded so sure; so determined. I almost wanted to believe him. Almost. I thought to myself. He held me tightly against his sturdy, firm body. I didn’t care about anything at that moment. I only felt relief, tons and tons of relief. It felt like the whole sky was lifted off of my shoulders. It was a very pleasant and cheerful feeling.
I began to sob once more. Tears trickled and danced down my delicate face. For the first time in what felt forever, I cried tears of joy, not sorrow.