I want to thank all my lovely reviewers for their support and help so far. With all the suggestions I recieved I have rewritten the story and this is the result. I hope you enjoy it!
If only I could turn back time… I would've stayed in Europe.
My name is Kaja Maas, and this is my story.
It all started when my father had told me the news, I was leaving my country, the place I was born. I was leaving behind all that I knew.
"Kaja there's something I need to tell you." My father said as he sat me down on our soft brown suede sofa. I frowned at him. He was never this serious, at least not with me. "What's the matter dad?" I asked him softly. If he was this serious about it, It couldn't be good.
I could hear my dad's breathing go in a sigh, I could see his shoulders slumping. And the the way he rubbed his forehead in thought… It all told me that I wouldn't like this news. I wouldn't like it at all. "Dad what's wrong?"
My dad let out another sigh and looked up at me. "I got a new job, a better one at Philips medical solutions."
I actually smiled, that wasn't so bad. "That's great Dad." I said happily.
But my dad wasn't smiling. "Yes, It is." He said. "But Kaja, we'll have to move to the United States. We'll have to move to Boston, Massachusetts." My father looked at me with a worried expression. I could clearly see the frown lines upon his face, the crowfeet by his eyes.
I looked at him in shock. This wasn't real. He was lying. I could feel tears stinging in my eyes. I shook my head in denial. This wasn't real, I was dreaming.
"Kaja, please listen to me." My father began. But I wasn't listening and before he had a chance to stop me, I ran out the living room and out of the house. Tears streamed down my face as I ran past the houses in my street. The pavement underneath my black sneakers was wet from the earlier rain. It was cold outside. I could see my breath as I ran. But I didn't care. I had to get to him. To the one person that mattered.
I ran through the village. People were staring at me, but I didn't care. It didn't matter. I ran up to a Dutch style house with brown bricks and a red tiled roof. It looked like all others in the street. Except for the Labrador Statue next to the front door. This was it. I slowed down and took a minute to catch my breath. I walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell.
I waited for a few minutes till a silhouette could be soon through the door. It opened to reveal an elderly man stand in the doorway. "Kaja?" He said. "What are you doing here?"
I looked at the elderly man with tears in my eyes. The idea that I would never see him again broke my heart. As a child he was always there for me. He was there to comfort me, to care for me when I needed him. And now I had to abandon him. It certainly felt like that to me. "Opa.. I'm so sorry."
My grandfather looked at me with a worried expression etched onto his face. He could tell I was extremely upset about something. "Whatever for my child?" He asked me softly.
I didn't know what to say. I certainly didn't want to say it within the threshold. "Can I come in?" I whispered in a broken voice. My grandfather nodded quickly and stepped aside. "Yes of course my dear. Come in. Would you like some tea? I have English blend I think." My grandfather mumbled as I watched him disappear into his kitchen. I walked down the small narrow hallway and into the cozy living room. Some would call it small. I'd describe it as quaint. As I looked around the room I noticed the beautiful hard wooden floor, the cream white walls, the black sofa and relatively modern and stylish furniture. My grandfather was a more modern elder. He knew quite a bit about computers. He even taught other elders how to operate them.
I was pulled out of my thoughts when my grandfather walked back into the room with a white ceramic teapot in his hands. He set it down on the dark wood small round dining table and pointed to a chair.
I sat down opposite him and let out a deep and heavy sigh. I watched as my grandfather poured the tea and sat down. "Now child, what has gotten you so worked up?" He asked softly.
I opened my mouth to start talking, only to find that the words got stuck in my throat. "I-"I started. "I'm gonna leave this country. " I managed to choke out.
My grandfather smiled at me and laid his hand on top of mine. "I know sweetie, your mother told me." He said. "You'll be fine."
I knew he was trying to reassure me. But all I could think about was that I would never see him again. Tears rolled down my cheeks again and I watched as my grandfather stood up from his chair and walked over to mine. He gently lifted me up, sat down in the chair and held me in his lap.
"It will all be alright Kaja." He whispered. "I will always be with you, inside your heart. Where it truly matters."
I couldn't help but sob as he rocked me in his arms. Of everyone in my family, it was my grandfather that I was the closest to. He was my support, my friend and my protector. All in one. And now, I would leave him behind.
My father came to collect me that evening. I don't remember a lot from that week. It was all so messed up. I visited my grandfather one last time before we left. I had to say goodbye. It was on a Sunday morning, I remember it well. We left for the Airport of Schiphol that day. I watched as my old life rolled away from me. I watched with a terrible pain in my heart, and tears in my eyes how my familiar surroundings disappeared. And I was left wondering if I would ever have a life like this again.
I certainly hope so.
Even though I know it will never get better for me. No matter what country I am in. With my dry, uncontrollable golden blonde hair, weird blue, green eyes and the scar on my nose I would never fit in somewhere. If anyone would look at me, they'd see a young woman with an oval shaped face, almond shaped eyes, a medium length nose with a small scar on the left side of it. I consider myself weird, ugly, hideous even. My eyes are a blue/green with brown bands around the pupil framed by long thick eyelashes. But I will never use make up to make myself 'prettier'. It wouldn't work anyway. I always hide myself in my baggy clothes. My favourite being the clothes I'm wearing today. My blue Oxford University Hoodie, bought on a trip to Oxford, England. My usual blue jeans and my black Reebok sneakers.
But I won't bore you with anymore details about me. Let's talk about that day on the Amsterdam airport. The day my life changed radically.
I stepped onto the rolling surface of the terminal. The black band took the passengers across the massive hall.
Behind me I could hear my parents chatting with one another. They were talking about their new jobs. I couldn't help but turn around and listen in. It wasn't like they would notice me anyway. My father works for Philips; it's an international company that specializes in Electro technical solutions. My father is the type of man that everybody seems to get along with. His golden blonde hair and vibrant blue eyes seem to radiate trust to all he meets.
My mother and I often joke that his smile could solve wars in seconds. Of course that probably wouldn't work in real life. But it's nice to fantasize about. That brings me to my mother; she's a veterinarian that specializes in wildlife surgery.
Unfortunately she could only find a job in the local animal hospital. So she has to give up some of her pay and passion to make this move happen. I feel sorry for her. It can't be easy to give it up. She says she's doing it for us, for the sake of her family. So in essential she's doing it for me. I have always looked up to my mother. Her dark blonde hair and green eyes are set in a 'smile mode' nearly all the time. My parents are friendly people. I know that. And I think that's the reason I want to protect them.
I yelped in surprise when I fell backwards. I hadn't been paying attention to the rolling band and as a result it had caused me to lose my balance. I can tell you one thing, the floor was hard. I groaned softly as I stood up. My parents looked at me in worry and my father held out his hand.
"Are you alright Kaja?" I heard him ask.
I just smiled and nodded. We needed to get into the plane soon anyway. As I dusted myself off I couldn't help but to think back on similar situations. Things my parents knew nothing about.
My thoughts wandered as we walked to the gate. It wasn't something I could help, It just happened with me all the time.
I remember that one time on a hot summer day, my mother took me for ice cream in the park. The leaves in the trees rustled softly in the wind and children ran across the lush green grass. Things seemed peaceful back then, and so simple, so very simple. I remember the wooden ice cream stand in the middle of the park, right next to the playground. My mother got me an ice cream cone with strawberry flavoured ice cream. It was my favourite back then. I also remember a person being there. A woman with white robes, but when I pointed her out to my mother, the woman had vanished… As if she had been taken by the wind.
My mother had smiled and ruffled my hair. She shook her head at my behavior, dismissing it as a part of my active and vivid imagination.
"Kaja, we're at our gate."My mother said to my six year old self. That couldn't be right… She hadn't said that to me back then..
My mother tapped me on the shoulder. I had dozed off into my own little world again. We had arrived at our gate.
I sat down on the black plastic chairs in the waiting area and patiently waited with my parents for our boarding call. I sighed softly, I hated waiting. My feet tapped and danced over the ground. I could never sit still. Was never particularly good at it.
"Boarding call for all economy passengers of flight KLM107. Boarding call for all economy passengers of flight KLM107." A woman's voice announced over the speakers. My parents and I gathered our bags and walked towards the plane doors.
Once inside we found our place quickly. We were seated in the tail section of the plane, aisle seats. I didn't mind. I looked up survival rates in planes and apparently the tail section held the highest survival rates in plane crashes. That was a comfort at least. My parents sat down on my right and we waited patiently for all the other passengers to board. The preparation, safety briefing and taxiing alone took about one hour and a half to complete. But finally we were ready for takeoff. My stomach made all sorts of flips when we lifted off the ground. The higher and faster we went the more my ears hurt.
"Here sweetie, chew on this, It'll help." My mother said as she passed me some chewing gum. I did as instructed and felt relieved when the pressure eased up a little.
When we finally were on cruising altitude and the seatbelt signs went off I got up and went to the nearest restroom. It was located a few yards away, in the back of the plane. I went in and closed the door behind me to take care of my needs. I must have dozed off again for not much later somebody pounded on the door…
"Hey you! Hurry up! We haven't got all day! People here need to go." A male voice thundered from outside. I quickly finished up, washed my hands and opened the door. The man on the other side was huge, to me he looked like some sort of body builder. "S- Sorry Sir." I stammered softly. I quickly squeezed past him and walked back to my seat.
My father looked up when I sat down and smiled at me. "Some people huh?" He asked amused. That's my dad for you. He never sees a downside to a situation. I gave him a small smile and stood up again to grab my bag. I struggled to get the heavy thing out of the baggage compartments. "Excuse me? Do you need some help? "A voice asked from behind me. I turned around and couldn't help but blush.
The voice belonged to a handsome tanned young man. I think he's around my age. His black hair was styled in an out of bed look and his blue eyes were just captivating. He had a typical handsome face, I would say he was either Greek or Italian. But don't pin me on that. When he raised an eyebrow I figured he was waiting for an answer. "Oh yeah, I uh, I can't get it out. It's too heavy." I said quickly. God I felt so stupid. Be cool Kaja.
"No problem, Here let me help you." He offered smiling. With ease he lifted the bag out and handed it to me. "There you go." I gave him a smile and looked to the floor for a second. I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear and chuckled softly. "Thanks, I appreciate it." "No problem." He smiled at me one last time before he walked off and sat down in his seat again.
I mentally slapped myself. God you're so stupid Kaja! You should've asked him for his email at least! He was cute! But a voice inside my head whispered other things. Why would he want you? You're so hideous he would hide you in his basement… You could never have a man like him. You could never have any kind of man.
I sat down with a sigh and dug around in my bag for my IPod and headphones. It would be a long flight and I could certainly do with some distraction. I turned my IPod on and put on my headphones, leaning back in my chair I relaxed and closed my eyes to the soothing music of Phil Collins.
I woke up to someone shaking me, and when I opened my eyes I noticed it was my father. My bag was gone… That was strange. "I've put it back into the compartment for you." My father said amused. "Oh, thanks dad." I answered softly, why was everyone staring out the windows? And why hadn't I noticed before?
"We landed on American soil. We're here." My father answered my unspoken questions. I looked at him in surprise. Had I really slept that long? " We're here? At Logan international airport? We're in Boston?" I still couldn't believe it. I had slept for 13 hours. That had to be a new record.
My father just chuckled and shook his head. "Yes sleepy head. Their taxiing us to the gate now. In just under an hour we're on our way to customs." I smiled at that answer. Going through customs would also mean we were going to pick up Nova. I could only hope that the flight hadn't hurt my best friend. Before you ask, Nova is my two year old black lab. And the best friend I ever had. He never judges me, and he's always there for me. And that's all I could ever ask for in a friend.
But anyway, by the time we got off the plane and walked to customs two hours had gone by. I mean, wow, Schiphol was a big airport but this place was huge! I looked around at all the strange people around me, there were so many! A man ran past us holding a child's hand, dragging her into the nearest bathroom. Apparently the child had to go. At least that's what I thought of the scene.
I was pulled back to the real world when I heard my mother yell for me. "Kaja keep up! Don't linger like that!" I quickly hoisted my bag higher on my shoulder and ran after them. They were right, we had to hurry.
Customs was mostly just a very long wait. Everyone's passports had to be checked. And luck had it that I got the grumpy customs agent. The elderly man was obviously Chinese or Vietnamese. He had a round head, the few hairs he had left were all grey and his expression seemed to be set in a permanent grumpy mode. I passed the elderly Chinese man my passport and gave him a smile. Judging by the thunderous look the man gave me, it wasn´t really appreciated.
"Middle finger please." The man simply said as he pointed to the device that scanned fingerprints.
"Oh right. "I said softly as I placed my middle finger on the scanner. And nothing happened.
The man grumbled, glared at me and bit out a "Too wet." He passed me a roll of what looked to be toilet paper to wipe my fingers dry.
I'm embarrassed to say the entire process of taking my fingerprints took half an hour. I never knew my hands could be so sweaty, and I never knew customs agents could actually turn purple in annoyance. Or perhaps he was genuinely angry. I wasn't too keen on finding that out.
When we finally had all our paperwork done, checked out and god knows what else they wanted, they led us to a room. And we were finally reunited with Nova.
The poor black lab looked very… out of it. He was wobbling and dizzy and he seemed miserable. I hated seeing him like this. He obviously hadn't enjoyed the plane ride here. Poor Nova.
We had to fill out more paperwork, It took us nearly half a day to finally get off the airport and into a cab. The cab ride to our new home wasn't anything special really. And if my parents saw anything interesting I didn't see it. I was too busy with watching Nova. I quite often wondered how a dog could mean so much to me. Then again, he was my best friend.
I was shook out of my thoughts when the cab slowed down and my mom tapped me on the shoulder. "Kaja were here. Welcome home." She smiled and got out of the cab to help my dad and the driver with the bags.
"Home." I still couldn't believe it. I looked to the house and let my thoughts wander. I mean sure it looked great for a colonial styled house with it's off white bricks, dark roof tiles with a white trimming, and on the plus side it had a front porch. We could place one of those bench swings on it I suppose.
Nova seemed to like it though, as soon as I opened the cab door he walked out and laid down on the grass in the front yard. It seemed he felt home.
I wish I could say the same thing. I just felt lonely. After all, I left behind all that I knew.
I hope you all enjoyed this! And don't forget to review and tell me what you think about this chapter!
I'm looking forward to all constructive critism you can give me!