History and Beginning
It was a dreary, insipid November day, the kind where you think there'll be no sunshine to look forward to for a long time. I was walking home from school, looking desperately for the ephemeral sun. The quiet, new '51 Chevys and white fences of my suburban neighborhood seemed to stretch on forever, and the harsh wind was blowing my beautiful new plaid skirt, but I soon reached the front door of our cozy house.
I couldn't wait to rush inside and give my mom a kiss; I was hoping she would have some warm brownies waiting. But as I approached the door, I couldn't help but notice the incessant barking of our dog, Jack, was gone. And then I opened the door.
At first, it was silent, then my heart began to beat like a drum. Being the astute person that I am, I racked my brain, thinking of all the possible places they could be. Mother running errands? No, it was Tuesday; she only goes on Fridays. Was I supposed to pick up Jimmy today? No, he should have been home, ill with a cold. The stagnation in the house seemed to whisper the inevitable answer, I feared all too well that I knew exactly what was happening. This was it.
They've been taken.
I knew I couldn't squander my precious time. Soon they would be coming for me, too. It was messy work, leaving behind a stray - and I was very valuable property. Rushing to my room, I pulled out the old leather suitcase. Tears left dark brown spots on the worn bag. My papers had to be found; any negligence on my part would cause my family to suffer. The phone began to ring, but I remained resolute, staring at it with utter contempt. Perhaps it was futile. But if I didn't escape...we wouldn't live to see the difference.
I didn't want to understand. My mother had tried many times to explain to me the gravity of our situation. I didn't want to be anything but a normal, bouncy American teenager. How could people as infamous as Russian spies be the benevolent parents I've always admired? I've tried for years to repudiate the evidence, ignore the blatant and ugly truth that was thrust upon me as a birthright.
My mother once told me, "We may have to go away, but I don't EVER want you to be compliant. You have every right to be free. We will send someone for you; I can't bear the thought of us being separated - for you to be alone and vulnerable to the enemy, but I have to believe that it will happen." She deterred further talk about the heresy. From my provincial outlook, I disparaged the very idea of living on my own, of running from the enemy. But now, it was happening.
The sky outside grew dark, prosaic, almost augmenting my worst fears. They would know I was home if I dared stay longer. Who's to say that I wouldn't submit to them, beyond my volition? Although the night covered me like a cloak, I worried about looking conspicuous. I ran through the elms in my backyard, after leaving the doors unlocked and a few lights on. Down the block, past dogs, and around trees I went. My legs were fastidious about slowing down; I didn't know exactly where to go. At the corner, I turned and dropped my suitcase, and saw at once a large black car. Following me. I slowed, so frightened I was going to lose so soon after just beginning that I almost cried out loud. I had to think of some way to explain my suitcase, and my frantic behavior.
"Excuse me, Miss?" A deep masculine voice chilled my ear. Slowly, I turned to face him. Never have I seen such stature of a man before. It was going to be difficult not to languish in front of him, drop to his feet.
"Yes?" My voice returned, calmly, almost irritated. I was searching desperately for an anecdote - a way to explain why I was out here, at night.
"Would you mind telling me what you are doing unchaperoned outside, on a school night?" he asked, stepping closer.
"Well, sir..." I began coyly, "I was trying to find my dog...and, heh, I took a little side trip to Billy's house..." I smiled boldly and continued. "He's my boyfriend. But I would appreciate if you wouldn't tell my parents" I weakened to say that "'cause they think he's too old for me." To finish convincingly, I winked. Inside I was wincing.
"You wouldn't happen to know a young lady, about your age, named, oh, Samantha Roberts?" He scrutinized my face after saying my name. When I didn't answer, he began again, quietly - "Listen to me." And with that his accent changed to Russian. I've heard it so many times before with my parents, switching to American to talk with Americans...but it was always an act. He caught my arm. "I know your parents. Now is the time, when they've been discovered, for me to take you to safety - away from here."
"Look, I don't know what you're talking about!" I cried in a belligerent manner. He had me very confused. He held my other arm, yet I remained reticent and pulled away.
"You look just like Lara," his voice softened while I fought to restrain myself from making a conciliatory gesture. The young man seemed to be an advocate of my parents, somehow. Solemnly, he declared, "There isn't time, you must come with me. Be it my duty, when they come for you we shall be very far ahead."
It was profound, but something at that moment made me want to trust him. A sign from God perhaps? I've never been sure. But it seemed like all that I had been sheltered from was out in the open. My only choice now was to trust and resign. I had been warned I would be ensnared, but my parents loved me enough to make sure it was by the right person.
© 2000 Copyright held by the author.