www.whyville.net Jul 31, 2011 Weekly Issue

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Waiting was always something I was never good at. I couldn't wait to find out what my Christmas presents were when I was a child. I unwrapped them a week before and managed to get them rewrapped and under the tree unnoticed. I couldn't wait for that car my parents couldn't afford, so I got a job and bought one myself. But I'd never had to wait for something like this.

The train platform was dirty, and crowded with people. I saw mothers, children of all ages, grandparents, all waiting just like me. Some people were already crying, while others were bursting with excitement. I was only anxious.

Last time I came to this platform, these tracks, lying in rubble and looking fairly used, led to some far off country. Led to a war, that was none of our business if you ask me. It left me standing here alone.

There was really nothing going on outside of the station. Only a few chimneys were smoking. Birds were flying from the beams of the station to the trees beyond the tracks. Our small town looked rather sad, lost in a war.

My observations were interrupted by a train whistle. Everyone's head turned as a train was spotted in the distance. Could it be bringing Jacob? My Jacob?

Everyone on the platform held their breath as an eerie silence draped over us all. The train moved closer.

What should I do when I see him?

The whistle sounded again.

Should I beat him up first, for not writing me?

The rhythm of the wheels drifted into earshot.

But what if he's not on the train? What if he can never write me again?

My nerves built up even more as the train reached the station. I saw my own reflection in the metal.

What will he think when he sees me?

However, I failed to see that the train was not slowing down. The train moved right on by the platform. It wasn't Jacob's train.

People around me sighed. More waiting. I heard a child's cry to my right. A mother tried to console her tired son. He was no good at waiting, either.

I began to let my thoughts overwhelm me. I couldn't stand not knowing.

I cannot believe I waited for two months for Jacob to write back. I'm sure fighting the Japanese is quite time consuming, but he doesn't know what it's like here. Letters from him mean that he's still alive and that he's still got all of his limbs and that he's not stranded somewhere, or worse. I'm afraid that by not getting letters from him, I'll get a letter written by someone else's hand, reporting that he's . . . that he's . . . Oh, I mustn't think like that. But two months without a word. Two months, Jacob.

It's not fair, so many other soldiers came back to their families with stories of England, France, and Germany, and of how the Nazis surrendered. But you're just now coming back from Japan. Jacob, you should have known! The Japs do not give up easily. Why, then, did you leave me without a word. I can only pray that you're on that train, Jacob.

And he is on that train, why wouldn't he be . . .

I had to think of something else. I thought of what we'd do when he came back. I thought that we'd start a family and move out of our dingy house. I was sure there'd be time for anything, with this war over.

Another whistle sounded. I hoped I was imagining it.

I wasn't - I saw a train making it's way down the tracks back to me. Once again, all chatter on the platform ceased.

I closed my eyes and said one final prayer. Please, please . . .

I opened my eyes as I heard the whistle right in front of me. The train shuttered to a halt. Then, a sea of green uniforms and dirty boots flooded the station.

"Jacob?" I called. So far, none were my Jacob.

I heard sighs of relief as families were rejoined by fathers, and sobs as one woman began to read a letter. But still, none had my Jacob's eyes.

"Jacob? Jacob?"


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