I saw a dream of her. It was summer, we were running in the forests, towards the lake. When we got there, we dived into the cool water with our clothes on. She is fair; she smiles and touches my face. We laugh as we look at each others; both soaking wet, but it’s warm, so we don’t really mind. We walk back to the shore. She takes some mud in her hand and draws lines on my cheeks with it, and on my nose. I do the same to her. She throws the mud on me and we start to play, wrestling on the ground, on the mud. She laughs, her laugh is soft and sweet.
“I beat you.” She says as she straggles me onto the ground. Her golden hair is wet and muddy, as is her face. She is beautiful, I think.
“That’s because I let you win, I would beat you, if I wanted.”
“No you wouldn’t” She insist and I end up rolling her under me, holding her wrists down.
“What did you say?” I ask grinning, she grins back and I start to tickle her to get her to admit her defeat.
“Alright, alight you won!” She finally agrees with a laughter that fills the air and I stop the teasing. We clean up in the water and she kisses me on the lips carefully, I think I love her.
I wake up to the cruel reality. Only a dream, dream of a better time, of a day that once was, such a long time ago. Pain, I feel it quivering on all over my body, in my heart and in my mind.
”Emma,” I whisper the name, almost without a sound.
The men are a sleep, the beasts are a sleep.
I travel back in time in thoughts; she was my best friend, the first girl I kissed, the only girl I’ve kissed. My first love… I haven’t seen you since the summer of 1939, back when everything was still as they should, when the hardships were still only ahead of us.
I sit on the ground, by the tree, our tree, waiting for her. She comes running, knocking me onto the ground once close enough. A tickle fight that neither of us wins
“Come Elias! Let’s go swimming!” She gets up and we start to run towards the lake. I pull my shirt off, and my pants, I toss them on the ground and jump in the water wearing only my underwear. She keeps her dress on, stands in the water, I splash the water on her and she laughs. Slowly she walks closer to me.
“They’ve started to grow.” She tells me when placing my hand onto the small, soft bulge of her chest. I blush a little, I always blush so easily and I look at her in confusion. “I’m starting to grow into a woman” She laughs.
“You will not change Emma, will you? I don’t want you to be like the others, they’re boring, never do anything fun, like you.” I ask with worry.
“I’ll never change.” She promises, leans forward and kisses my lips; a soft, innocent kiss, but it is enough to almost stop my heart from beating. I love her, she is so different from the others, she does not care of the rules, she does not care what others think of her. When I’m with her, I do not care either. Emma is a wild child; she fascinates me.
“Elias, time to come home, dinner time!” My father shouts, and he smiles when seeing us together. I quickly ran out off the water and dress. I look at her.
“See you later Emma!” I shout before I ran to my father, who ruffles my hair with a grin on his face.
“Running after girls already, at the age of eleven? That’s my boy.” He laughs softly, as we’re walking home together.
“I’m twelve soon! And I’m going to marry her when I grow up.” I tell him.
“Oh? You don’t waist time much, do you son?” He smiles.
“I’m in love.” I tell him. He shakes his head, but smiles still.
Dad tells mother that I have a girlfriend now.
“My boy is growing up fast.” She says smiling gently, setting the table. Olavi starts to cry in their bedroom.
“I can go mom.” I tell her and hurry towards the room.
“One day, you will make some woman very happy Elias.” My mother tells me, when I return into the kitchen with my siblings. I smile, already knowing who she’s going to be.
At the end July, she tells me that they are going to move away. Her mother has found a new husband, he is Swedish, and he is taking them to Stockholm. I do not want her to go, and she does not want to leave. We cry, holding onto each others tightly. We think our love is like what the adults have, we think we know everything, and they who say that we are too young for this kind of feelings, know nothing of life. They do not know us and there for they can’t say what we feel. It felt like the world would end for me, when she told me that she was leaving.
Emma promises that she will come back to me, when she is old enough to leave home. I ask her to marry me then, she says yes and the promise is sealed with a kiss. I worry that some Swedish guy is going to take my girl from me. She says that I won’t have to worry, that I am her only man forever. In return she confesses her fear, that I look at other girls, she says that they will try to woo me. But I don’t want any of them, that I only want my crazy Emma, I explain her and another kiss is shared.
The end of August and she’s leaving. Father takes me to the train station. I want to see her for one last time, who knows when the next time shall be? She told me that we’d see each others next year, they’d come here for the summer, but the waiting already feels like forever. A year? How can I live through a year without her? Who will play with me when she’s gone? Though I have other friends, none of them can compare to what she and I share.
She’s about to step into the train when I see her. I call her name, running as fast as my legs can carry me. She throws herself in my arms, kissing my cheeks.
“I found this for you” I whisper and give her the heart shaped stone that I found the previous night. I wrote on it with some red paint: “Elias & Emma.”
“Thank you, I’ll always keep it with me.” She whispers back, her brown eyes are watering and too soon her mother calls her, the train is about to leave.
“I’ll write!” She promises. I want to stay and watch as the train takes off; taking my best friend with it, my wife to be. I look around and finally see her through the window and I get close. She leans against the glass, making funny faces and making me laugh. Closer still I press my face against it too. I can see her laughing when I compete with the funny expressions she was making before. We share a kiss through the glass, before my father calls me to step back, the train is leaving. With sadness I watch, taking few running step close to the train until I have to give up. Who knows when I see her again? A year… it feels like forever.
-End of flashback-
I never got to see her, the war kept them away. Letters were exchanged, but even the letters stopped coming months ago, and it was impossible for me to send them either. I didn’t stop writing though, I wrote a letter every week, kept them safe, thinking I could just give them to her once we’d be reunited.
Maybe she’d forget me with time, maybe?
Was it only yesterday that I woke in my own home? in my own bed? How odd… It was just like any other morning; nothing could have prepared me for this. I didn’t even know of these things that were done to me, I did not think it was possible.
I don’t know what I am anymore… a man? No… They used me like a woman… They humiliated me and my body feels sore all over. The disgusting taste of them fills my mouth and I feel close to throwing up. They made me… they made me took…it…them… in my mouth… I shudder and I tremble.
I am going to be killed, if the pain won’t kill me now, they shall, I can not take it not anymore, I don’t want it. It’s disgusting! Wrong… I’ll be punished, God will curse me, and will I end up in hell? I pray silently for mercy, telling God that I did not want it and had I been able, I would have stopped them, I tried. I beg for God to take me home. I beg for a miracle to wake me, so that I could find that this is only a horrible dream.
I become aware of a man’s body close to mine. I can hear and feel his breath, my body tenses all over, but I can’t move, I can’t run and they’re all around me. I can’t get away. They’ll hurt me again, why? Why?? What wrong did I do?
Suddenly the man moves, dear God he’s awake, I lay still, frozen, almost afraid to breath. Suddenly I feel his touch on my cheek, I whimper in freight; please, no more, I can not bear it. He whispers something that I can’t understand and his hand leaves my skin. I force myself to open my eyes and I see a pair of brown eyes, again the man speaks, quietly, so quietly, but his voice is gentle, different from the other men. I blink in confusion, his eyes look friendly and yet sad, he was not the one to harm me like the others; he did not touch me that way. For a moment I fear that he will do so now, but… his eyes… his eyes are too warm, too kind… and …
Then there are other voices, the beast have woken and I look at the man in his friendly brown eyes, pleading for his help. Someone is getting closer and by instinct I wrap my arms around him,
”Please, please, help me, please,” I whisper feeling desperate, reluctant to let go of the only human I see, I do not want to be fed to the wolfs.
But they tear me away from him, I scream, panicking, kicking and struggling. I can’t bear it, not anymore, not again!