Jacob and I were listening to the nine o'clock news. Once again, there was more news of bombs being built, cities destroyed, people killed. Sadly, this was nothing new.
I turned my head from the radio and looked at Jacob. His eyes, those soft, hazelnut eyes, started earnestly at the radio, almost expecting news of his many brothers and friends fighting in the war.
The radio program was coming to an end.
"Just remember folks, pray for the men fighting for America, and know that we will overcome this. God bless America and goodnight."
Jacob still stared at the radio. When this would be over, I didn't know.
I got up from the small couch and looked around. The pink, patterned wall paper was something that could definitely be changed once this all was over.
I moved over to the window and peeked outside through the black curtains. The stars were out tonight. It was the clearest it had been in a while.
"What's wrong?" I asked, still staring at the night sky.
"Well, there's something I've been meaning to tell you." The way he said it frightened me. I looked away from the window and into his eyes, which were now staring at me, not the radio.
"Well, tell me-"
I was stopped mid-sentence by a siren. It was getting louder every second and booming across the entire town.
Jacob and I stared at each other for another tense second.
"Basement. Let's go."
As Jacob said so, I yanked the curtains closed and grabbed his hand as we darted for the cellar door across the hall. He turned off the lights when I remembered . . .
"The flashlight, we won't be able to see down there like last time!" I called halfway to the kitchen. I pulled open every drawer, groping around in the dark.
I pulled open the cabinet under the sink and felt something resembling a flashlight. Sure enough, there was the switch.
I found my way back to the cellar door and sprinted down the narrow steps as Jacob shut the door behind him.
I waited for Jacob at the bottom of the steps and turned on the flashlight, still not much of a help. I spotted our survival station in the corner, and started making my way towards it around the boxes, with Jacob close behind.
We sat down on one of the quilts and barely breathed, listening for any noise. Eventually, the siren stopped, but we didn't want to take any chances.
After silent moments of only staring at our stash of green beans and Spam, Jacob put his arm around me. Surely, nothing could be that wrong with this world.
"Do you think it was just a drill?" I whispered.
He looked at me and with a chuckle said, "Well, we're not dead, are we?"
I punched his arm and we both sat there and smiled. A pair of headlights shined through the musty, cellar window.
"Should we go back up, then?"
"No," he said abruptly, "I wanted to tell you something." His deep voice got serious. Much too serious.
"You said that you're sick of the war, right? You just want it to be like it was. And, I think I can help you."
"What do you mean?" But I was pretty sure I knew what he meant.
"I mean, I can help the war end. I can fight. I just want to be apart of this-" I crossed my arms and pushed his arm away, "-because you know I can do something. Now, don't be like that. You knew this would come. I hate this war just as much as you do and-"
"Then, Jacob, hate it here! Hate it with me! Don't leave me here. If you hate it, don't join it. It will end. It will end."
"I'm not one to wait things out, and you know that better than anyone-"
Tears started to sting my eyes. Why was he doing this, why was he doing the exact opposite of what I wished? This war had cost me so much, but to take my Jacob? I couldn't think of that.
"-not too bad, I'm not stupid and I won't be asking to be killed or anything, it's not as bad as you think, darling! I could be done there in a couple of months. I've already signed myself up to deport next week. They needed soldiers to fight the Japanese, and I won't be on the front lines. I'll come back to you. I will. I love you, Elsie. I would never leave you."
" . . . I would never leave you . . . Never leave you . . ." The words bounced around my head as I searched the station.