Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rachel de Beer - A Folk Tale Written During Hurricane Sandy

Randomly stumbled upon this story on my Internet Sandy excursions. It’s a story that was initially passed down as a true story, but then came to be realized as a sort of folk tale. I have tried to retell it. I found it poignant regardless. Enjoy.

I gave up my life to find a lost calf. She was my calf, or my family's calf and I didn't feel any particular attachment to Frikkie, but I felt responsible as the eldest child to take care of everybody in our family, our dealings, our objects, our business. I did love Frikkie a little bit, but only because my little brother loved the cow even more. My little brother Joszef, about 6 year old at the time, I was 12, loved this cow. He loved most of the cows but he love this calf even more than the rest. I don't know, but Joszef always struck me as a bit odd in that way. He understood animals in an intuitive manner more than the rest of us. They listened to him, he calmed them down, even being only six years of age, he stilled calmed our animals down.  

Joszef cried when Frikkie ran away. He cried a lot, this sensitive child. He felt so much pain for such a little kid. He scared us all in this way with the intensity of his pain, all his emotional suffering and wounds. But he calmed down and quieted the animals under all circumstances. Just his presence, but even more his touch and his voice. He sung them strange songs, foreigner songs he couldn't have learned from me, or Papa. He sung them to these cows, his friends, he would say, and they would calm down, as if drinking milk before going to bed. So we brought him along to maybe calm down old Frikkie in case we found her and she was scared in her cow body and hide. I didn't think he should go, but papa thought if I watched him, he could trust me, and Joszef would be alright, as long as I watch him, and how maybe he could help with the search party, seeing how good he is with Frikkie and all. I told Papa, I told him that Joszef is too young and something bad can happen to him.

Papa told me he loved me, but I worried too much like my Mama who died a few years ago. He told me he loved my Mama for her worry, for her care about other people, and that's why he loved me too, he told me. Like my Mama, I cared about those I love. I care more than other people, it's what makes special. I think Papa  tells me this because he thinks I miss Mama. I do, but I don't think this helps. I don't think it does help me much, though I do miss Mama a bunch, but I don't think this helps because I know Mama cared much more than I do. People tell me I care, but I don't really care as much as they think. I mean, I love Joszef and my Papa, but not like my mother. She did everything for us. She always thought of us, always, like a good Mama, she helped us with our school work, and ran with us in the park, she tied our shoelaces even when we could, and she sang with us. She taught us to read. We loved her a lot, we all did. Joszef only knew her for four years and I knew her for ten. I told Joszef stories about our Mama. I finished all the stories I knew and he still asked for more. I started to make up stories that I thought would sound like Mama. I don't think Joszef noticed because he still asks me for stories. Sometimes, because I run out of ideas I take stories I know and make them about our family, and about Mama. Joszef might know. He is a very smart little brother. I think Papa is wrong. I think when he told me that I took after Mama, that I inherited her kindness I think he meant Joszef. Joszef followed in the steps of my Mama. 

He really cares, not just because he should care. I care for reasons. Joszef doesn't care. He loves people like mother used to - without reason, all people. I don't like all people. Some people make me feel sad, some make me scared, and others seem mean and selfish. I don't understand the selfish. Papa tells me I would understand the selfish in time, later in life, as if I missed some part or some experience to understand selfishness. Papa says he is often selfish, and sometimes its a good thing, and sometimes you do it because everyone makes mistake. But to me, I still don't know, selfishness never seems like a good choice to make. How could selfishness every help another person? Joszef was never selfish. He was just a little kid and I know that children can often be the most selfish, but we don't call it selfish when they are kids because children, my Mama told me, children don't understand anything besides what they need. They need to learn how to be selfless, how to be nice. But not Joszef. Joszef always cared too much. He was weaker because of that. He would never fight back or yell because he cared too much about the little child yelling at him. He wanted to make him feel better. I thought he was stupid because of that. I though all children should do the opposite of what he did. Papa told me that Joszef was special, different than the rest of the kids. That Joszef cared so much in a different way than anyone else we knew. I didn't believe Papa. I just thought Joszef was stupid because all my friends and people I knew where not like him at all. Sometimes I would treat him in a mean way just to see how he would react. He always reacted in a kind manner, maybe too kind. I tried to teach him differently. Mama and Papa both told me the same thing. We needed to treat Joszef differently. I didn't understand till recently. 

Maybe since Mama died I understood more. Joszef, though just four, he cried a lot. More than me and Papa all together. He cried a lot, and all the time. He cried even when he didn't look like he was crying. Even when he walked with me to the store or something, he cried while doing everything, a quiet cry. Even a week ago, sometimes, I would find him crying and when I asked him why he was crying, he would say he didn't really know, or he just saw something pretty, but I knew he cried for Mama, still. I think he cries because he misses what Mama could have been. He imagines a lot, and he always asks for those stories and when he finds out how great Mama was, how much she loved us, he feels sad, very sad. I think that maybe sometimes I should tell him bad stories about Mama, like when she yelled at me or at Papa, or got angry and mean even for a minute. Maybe these stories would make him less sad, but I can't tell him these stories. He would feel too much pain to think of Mama like this. He loved to think of Mama as a sort of angel, someone who never made mistakes like me. 

I once believed that about Mama, and I still think she was more nice than mean, much more nice than mean, but she still said mean things, and hurt my feelings and Papa's feelings sometimes and I think that matters. After Mama died, Papa told me that now I needed to take care of Joszef more than before. He told me that I need to act like Mama to Joszef, if I could. That Joszef needs a woman to bring him up, and that now, at age ten, I needed to be a woman for Joszef. I needed to look out for him, protect him, because he said he was like glass, he told me he was this word fragile, could easily break, and that I needed to watch him, to stay close to him, to listen to him when he felt sad or wanted to cry. I did not want to take care of him like Mama did. I did not like him enough. He cried too much and never liked to run around. He liked to walk, or sit and try to read. Or just sit and stare and look at flies, or animals, or insects, or other people. He could sit and stare and just think and smile and laugh. We became friends in the past few weeks. I don't know about friends. But he liked me more, and I kind of liked him too, at least more than before. 

After Mama first died Joszef couldn't do anything besides cry. He just sat there or stood there and wouldn't play with the other children or do the small chores given to him. He couldn't do anything. He just cried like a doll who could only cry. He reminded me too much of the sadness and I thought that if he wanted to be sad fine, but why does he need to cry around us, why couldn't he just sit on his own in his room, why did he have to remind us all about the sadness? Papa said he understood my point, but despite the fact they he did understand my feelings, he thought that it would be better for us all to hear him crying. Both for Jozsef and for us, we can all stand to cry a bit more. I didn't like how he said that to me, as if I needed to cry more for Mama, as if Joszef was a better child because he cried more. He was a child, the baby of the family. Of course he cried more, I know, but I still thought he exaggerated, made stuff up because he wanted attention.

My Papa said to me that I was gonna to be in charge of Joszef. That I needed to take responsibility for him, and to watch him, and to make sure nothing happens to him, but most importantly to make sure he comes back, that he doesn't get lost, or doesn't get hurt. I told him that I could do it, of course, he didn't need to repeat it to me, but inside, I know that I felt scared and sick, and tingly. I felt like this was a bad idea. Not because I couldn't watch Joszef, because it felt like a bad idea, a bad night to go look for a calf in the dark.

Joszef held my hand as we walked into the forest but not because he was scared. I saw his face, I knew what his fear looked like, and this was a calm face. But he grabbed my hand and held on tightly just to hold on tightly. We walked together with two adults, two people who knew my parents but we didn't know them so well. A husband and a wife. They were nice to us, telling us to just stay close to them and not to worry, and calling out both of our names, "Rachel, Joszef" every couple of minutes to make sure they knew we were there. They called our names a lot and each time we both answered back loud and clear and strong in our name, as in some game. I yelled my name first and then Joszef called his name in a louder voice, he yelled louder than me. But we kept close to these friends because it was very dark and very cold. We walked in line to cover our section back and forth and then move over a little bit to the left and go up and down throughout the forest so that we could cover all the places Frikkie might have run off too. 

We walked back and forth a lot Joszef holding on to my hand very tightly, his softer smaller hand fitting mine. He walked fast, without me telling him to walk faster just because he knew that we needed to walk faster, to keep up and to be safe. He just knew what to do. He walked fast with us and all of us called out Frikkie's name, we yelled her name but Joszef only said her name, softly, to himself and I could overhear him. He kept on saying her name as if speaking a secret language with the cow. He smiled a lot and held my hand and walked in my pace. I could see his smile because of his very white face. No one found Frikkie yet, and no one even found the smallest signal to where she could be. We walked for an hour just like this and made a circle, a big circle around the camp because we thought that she could only go so far. After an hour, for the first time, no one found anything. 

We took a break for 30 minutes just to rest and to get more energy for the next round of searching. We all walked to the border of the previous search and then began and went further out in the same way that we did the first search, but now the second search took longer because we needed to cover more ground. Frikkie not only was loved by a lot of us, but she also cost a lot of money because she was supposed to give birth to many expensive and beautiful calves. She was important in these two different ways. So we looked for her in a very important way. Joszef didn't even want to rest, he kept asking why we all needed to rest if he wasn't tired? Rachel told him that some other people needed a break and that we all needed to walk together for safety. Joszef never calmed down, but didn't complain anymore as if he understood. It was already about 2 or 3 o'clock. We couldn't tell the exact time, but we knew somewhere between these times, or so people told us, but it felt right. So it was late. 

Many people were tired and many people felt that if Frikkie was out for so long already, they assumed, that an animal, however sad it would be, an animal probably killed Frikkie and that we should not search anymore, because it was cold, and late, and so very cold that it would be better to wait till morning because, they told me, that we shouldn't put ourselves in danger to save an animal, that we should worry more about the human people than the animals, or any money. I agreed with them, but other people, the more powerful, or the people more people listened to, these people wanted to push on, they said that we need to take care of our property as if part of our family or we won't treat our property right in other future times something happens to our property. I didn't understand really what they might or why it made sense. I thought that it sounded strange, but I knew to respect these people and so did everyone else and so we continued to search. We searched in that same manner just moving further off, again until we found ourselves very far away from the camp from the other groups because we had to cover more ground. 

We were still with our family friends and they still called our name, and we still answered. It was late, or early, at this point and we were all tired, even Joszef was tired, we wanted to rest, to save our energy. We stopped for a few minutes and Joszef fell asleep on my arm. He felt warm and held me like he trusted me more than anyone he knew in the world. He fell asleep after two minutes and I felt like I wanted to fall asleep, but I knew that I needed to stay up, that one of us needed to stay up to make sure we knew where we were and to see the adults, the older adults than me, to make sure we weren't lost. When he did fall asleep in my arms, like a little baby even though he was six years old, he did look a bit like a baby, and he did seem very safe and warm though I was cold and very mightily scared. I didn't let him now at all that I felt scared because I knew he would get scared because of my fear. And I knew he did not react well to fear, that sometimes he reacted worse than most other people, that he felt the fear more and I knew that if he felt all of this fear he would cry and he wouldn't be able to search anymore when he woke up from the nap. 

I knew that he needed to stay safe and quiet and calm and not sad that he would be okay so I just made some noises to calm him to sleep then while he was sleeping made the same noises to keep him sleeping. I never did these voices before for Joszef and not really for anyone, I had no idea what to do so I just did what sounded and felt right. I don't know it could be that I remember something I never remembered before, maybe from what my Mama or Papa would do for me when I was younger, so I copied that idea or maybe memory and I just say shhhhhhhhh, but not as if to tell someone to shut up, but to calm them down, in a way that calmed the kid, so I did that. I held him as I sat down right against a tree and on the cold ground, and held him there like a baby, but a big baby, and rocked him back and forth and said softly to him this sound, longer than usual that I made, Shhhhhhhhh, shhhhhhhhh, over and over again until he fell asleep then stayed asleep. Even after he fell asleep I continued making this nice sound both for him but also for me because it made me calm because as much as I needed to remain calm for Joszef, now that he was asleep I found myself growing more scared and full of fear. I didn't know what to fear or why to fear at all, but I feared more for Joszef than for myself, or for anyone else really. 

I really felt scared just for him, that something might happen to him, my younger brother, the only son of my father and my dead mother. Someone they loved very much, that I love very much, that I want to take care of because I am his older sister, and older sisters take care of their younger smaller and more sensitive younger brother who needs your help to do the important things in life and he really loves you because he knows that you take care of him, he loves you because he knows you would always protect him, and he loves you because you love him, and I do love him, I really do, even though sometimes he gets annoying and sometimes he can be mean to me on purpose, and sometimes I don't want him around because he is a burden to us all, with his crying and sadness and sensitivity, and how sometimes we say or I say that I would love for him to go live somewhere else I would never want anything bad to ever happen to him.  

I realized in this weird moment that I would do anything to protect my little brother. I would hurt people, I would hurt a lot of people again and again even if it came to it, I realized, I would kill people. If I had to protect people, even though we all knew that killing was the worst sin you could do, I knew right then and right there that no matter what happened I would kill another person, even more than for myself, just to make sure that nothing bad would happen to my little brother Joszef with his little coat, and his little hat, and little gloves for his little hands. I realized that I would kill just to make sure he felt no real pain, I would kill even if the other person threatened just pain or just to make them feel uncomfortable. I would do everything in my power to destroy that other person, that the moment I thought about real pain to Joszef, to him even feeling like someone hurt his feelings made me want to kill that other person, and I would do it without even thinking about because something in me, when I think of Joszef feeling pain, something with in feels like an animal that wants to hurt another animal, I feel dangerous like an animal about to kill an animal for food.

I sshhhhhhh'ed so much that I began to feel sleepy and I thought to myself that I could fall asleep for a few minutes with Joszef in my arms feeling very warm and calm and breathing in his sleep so that I keep feel his life. We feel asleep holding on to each other, leaning on a tree sitting on the the cold floor, but we still fell asleep because we were both so tired and both now so calm because of the shhhhhhhhing.

Mama and Papa used to talk us for walks in the woods. Papa not as much as Mama, but both would still walk us in the woods. Mama would always point out the different plants and animals in the woods, what we could or could not eat, what the animals ate, what the animals made. Mama loved the woods, she always told us that when she was a kid she also liked the forest and would spend hours in the forest sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, and how she liked to get to know the plants, how they looked and felt. She taught me how know which plants we could or could not touch, and which plants contained poison. She felt at home here, she would always say, but I never felt at home like she did. I liked when she would show us the different animals in the forest, nothing too big or too scary, but sometimes, not most of the time, but sometimes the animals would come next to us and say hi and smell us and walk away. I used to be scared of the animals, but Mama made me calm and taught me to be calm when an animal would come by to say hi.

I woke up with Joszef still cuddling next to me. The cold sun shone in on our faces and woke us both up. It wasnt so bright and it was foggy and very cold. I looked around and saw that I no one was around us. Not Papa, and not our family friends, and I couldn’t see anyone else searching for Frikkie. Maybe they found her, which would be good, but we were lost, and separated from our family and our friends, and I felt scared. Joszef looked scared, but he wouldn’t say anything about his fear and I felt thankful for that. I worried that if he worried I would worry even more, and I knew because Papa told me that when you are in trouble worrying never helps. We were in trouble. We were very cold and even though it was during the day there was a lot of fog and we couldn’t see anything or anyone. We held onto each others hand so as not lose the other person, and to stay warm. We were wearing very big coats, but it was still cold almost freezing and we hadn’t eaten anything in a while and we were both hungry.

I decided, because I was the adult and the older person, to search for the other people in the same way that we searched for Frikkie. We started by walking out past our tree, a tree that I ripped off some bark to remember which tree we slept next to, in case people came looking for us, then we walked out in a straight line then moved to the right and walked back that way. We came back to the tree then did all of that again to keep on going farther and farther away. We didn’t really know which way to go, but we needed to go one way. Joszef didn’t say much, but whenever I looked at him he smiled at me, a very nice and comforting smile that he smiled at me. He didn’t cry or ask me annoying questions. I think he understood our situation, and he understood that I didn’t know anything or know what to do but he smiled at me and told me he trusted me. I loved him for that.

Mama once showed me an aardvark. She told me that aardvark was called that because those words mean a ground pig, because the aardvark always looks for food in the ground. I liked the aardvark because I thought it looked funny, with its big and weird nose. Mama used to tell me that sometimes aardvarks take out everything in an ant hill leaving them empty.

We searched a lot. We walked far then returned to our tree for a few minutes to rest. It started to now, a lot, and we got colder and colder and still didn’t have any food. Joszef was much smaller and skinnier than me, and therefore he shivered a lot from the cold, much more than me. We both were wearing a lot of clothing, but with the snow falling all over us, and the cold, Joszef shivered so much that I got more scared. We still held hands and I could feel his hand turning to ice and I got scared. He said we should walk more to find other people, but I wasn’t so sure. I was the adult here and I needed to make a decision. I needed to make a decision to either keep walking or to stay put and try to find some shelter or some food. I didn’t know what to do neither Papa or Mama ever told me or Joszef how to deal with something like this.

Joszef shivered more and more. He wouldn’t say anything bad about the situaiton, but I knew anyway it was bad. We were both very scared and didn’t know what to do and I worried that Joszef would get hurt, or worse die from being so cold and having no food to eat. Papa told me stories about people in our community who died from both of those and he told me that it was a painful death. I knew that I couldn’t tell Joszef about any of my worries, but I know that he worried about it too. He was a very smart little brother and he understood our situation. He told me that we should remember to walk around a little bit to not only look for food but to get our blood flowing. Papa used to say that all the time that we should move around to get our blood flowing and that it’s good to fight cold to keep moving. After some time though, we couldn’t move much we were so cold. We walked around some more and I noticed that Joszef started to look different. His skin looked like a sick persons, and he looked more cold than me. His skin was blue and a bit read, he looked beaten up but very white. I touched his skin with my fingers and his skin felt colder than my fingers. He still smiled but I could tell he was in a lot of pain. We couldn’t find any food, especially with all the snow coming down making everything look white with powder.

At first, Joszef wouldn’t take my coat from me. He told me I was crazy, and that I must be cold too. I told him I am the older sister and that he has to listen to what I say and that he was colder than me and that he needed this jacket more than me and that if he didn’t take the jacket he would get in trouble with Papa when Papa found us. Joszef knew that my threat wasn’t such a real threat, but I think he understood how serious I was so he took my coat. The coat was too big for him and he tried to put it on his shoulders but I made him put it over his head because I remember that Papa told me that when you are cold it’s most important to cover your head. Joszef looked funny with my coat over his head and we both laughed for a second. I got colder when I took my jacket off, much colder, but I could tell that Joszef was warmer and this made me proud of myself and happy. I realized that if I didnt find Joszef a place to hide while it snowed that giving him my coat, or anything else wouldn’t help in the long run and that he would get hurt from the cold and snow if I couldnt find some way to protect him better than this.

We walked around a little bit to get our blood flowing and to try to find some food because the snow stopped snowing so hard and because we could walk a little better. Joszef saw how cold I was but also saw that I wouldn’t take the coat back. We walked around and still found nothing but I saw an ant hill, a very big ant hill covered mostly by snow but I could still tell it was an anthill. I walked over to it and with my sweater over my hand I brushed aside some of the snow. The ant hill looked strong and intact. My mother once told that sometimes, aardvarks as they looked for food would look for their food in an anthill. Sometimes, I remember her telling me with her soft kind voice, aardvarks will empty out the whole anthill making it look like an anthill from the outside but inside there will be nothing, just space. I remembered all this when I saw this anthill. I thought, maybe, Joszef and I could both hide in the anthill. We would need to make a small hole so we could get in and then maybe we could cover it up and it would provide us a place to rest and be out of the cold. Joszef thought it was a good idea so we first brushed off some of the snow from the anthill.

We kicked in a small hole, and Joszef crawled in and said that he felt much warmer in here, but he told me that he didn’t think we could both fit in there and maybe we should take turns. He got out and I tried to get in but I didn’t fit. Joszef wanted to make the hole bigger so I could get in but I had to explain to him that if we made the hole too big it might not work for either of us, and it might break. He didn’t really understand but I told him that for now, if it only worked for one person we needed to use it. I told him to go first, and that he should rest up and then after he rested up and got warm maybe we could switch spots. I lied to him, but I think both Mama and Papa would be proud of the lie I told him. In fact, I knew both Mama and Papa would be proud of everything that I was doing for Joszef. I was the adult and I was taking care of my younger brother because he couldn’t take care of himself. I was being a good older sister, and I knew it and this made me feel good. I was very cold on the outside but inside I felt very warm, like I used to feel when my mother would hug us after we came inside from the cold outside.

Joszef sat inside the anthill, and I told him I sat watch on the outside, but I really just wanted to cover the hole against the wind for him. I worried that even inside he would be too cold so I sat on the hole but made a little space so he could breathe, because I wanted him to be warm but also to have air. Joszef, I called from time to time, and he told me that he did feel more warm, and he felt tired and warm and comfortable and that he loved me and always loved me even though sometimes I didn’t seem to love him as much. I told him that even when I seemed angry I always loved him that you can be angry or annoyed with someone you loved and still love them more than anything in life as I loved Joszef. Joszef said he didn’t really understand but he knew how much I loved him and he loved me even more than that. I said I really felt the love and that his love was keeping me warm outside in the cold while the anthill kept him warm. He asked me every couple of minutes or so if it was time to switch. I told him not yet, not yet, and then he understand he didn’t need to ask so much. I told him that he was my favorite person in the world since Mama died and he said the same to me. He told me he missed Mama still, all the time, and I told him I knew that because he cried so much. He apologized for crying so much and I told him it was good that he cried so much because it reminded us how much we all loved Mama and how much we all still cared and remembered Mama. He said sometimes he cried because he felt like he couldn’t remember Mama besides for what I told him. I said not to worry because as he grows up more and more people will talk about Mama, about all the things she did for us and how much she loved us and that he will always remember Mama. He said that I reminded him of Mama. I really liked that he said that because I did think that if Mama was in this situation she would do like I did to protect Joszef, and I also knew that if she could see us now she would be both sad but very proud of how we treated each other. Mama always liked when we were nice to each other. I told Joszef that this was a very nice thing to say because I loved Mama and I always tried to act like her, and he said that I was the kindest person he ever met. I knew that this was a lie because Mama was nicer than me and didn’t say or think mean things about the people in her family, but right now I felt like Mama a lot and it made me feel very warm inside and tired.

Eventually, after about 20 minutes like this Joszef told me that being in the hole was making him sleepy and I told him he needed a nap to save his energy because we would need our energy to wait for all the people and family who would come to rescue us. Joszef said that he was scared and I said I was a bit scared too, but that we shouldn’t be because sooner or later someone, probably Papa or one of his friends would find us and we would go back home and take a very hot bath. Joszef felt good about that but told me that he couldn’t fall asleep right now because he felt too afraid and that he didn’t think he could fall asleep without a story. I asked him what kind of story he would want, my lips shaking at this point, making all sorts of noises, and he told me that if I could, please tell me another story about Mama because he loved when I told him all these stories about Mama. I told him I told him all of my stories about Mama. That I had no stories left. He said that couldn’t be and that anything can be a story, maybe one time Mama walked funny, or took me to a park, anything, even something stupid or not fun or funny.

I tried to think through my cold and teeth making noises but I couldn’t come up with anything. I really wanted to come up with something about Mama, a new story that I could tell Joszef so that he could fall asleep while warm, but I couldn’t remember anything at that point. I needed to tell Joszef a story because I really wanted him to fall asleep so that I could fall asleep and not feel so cold anymore. I asked Joszef if I told him about how pretty our Mama looked. He said that I told him all the time, but that he loved when I talked about how Mama’s prettiness. I talked about how her skin was softer than a babies and how I loved to just hold her hand or to brush her hair with my fingers, and how Mama always let me do that. Sometimes I would just rub my fingers over her hands and fingers to feel how soft her skin was. Her skin was softer than mine because I got my skin from Papa. I could hear Joszef short and loud breathes he would make when asleep and I felt good that he was asleep in a warm and somewhat comfortable place. I stopped telling my Mama story, but I kept on reminding myself in my mind all about Mama because it made me feel warmer. I remember that Mama had very pretty eyes that sometimes looked very blue and sometimes looked green. They always looked pretty and big and like they contained other worlds in her eyes, like she could see more than anyone else. I used to sit and ask Mama if I could just stare at her eyes and most of the time she said yes, but only for a minute because she was busy. Sometimes though, she would let me sit and stare into her eyes because she would say that when I stared into her eyes she never felt more loved than she did right at this moment.

I could see her eyes looking at me as I got more cold and more tired. I felt really tired and all I wanted to do was to go to sleep just so I wouldn’t feel this cold. I realized that Joszef, however warm he said he was, couldn’t be that warm because my body couldn’t cover the whole hole. I took off my sweater, the purple one I was wearing, a heavy sweater, and used it to cover up the hole before I fall asleep just to make sure that Joszef would be actually warm for however long he could fall asleep. I saw my Mama’s eyes all blue and green, all warm just smiling at me as I fell asleep. I knew that if she could talk to me she would tell me how much she loved me at this moment and how proud she was of how I took care of my little brother.