Çoktan Seçmeli Hayatlar İçin | RUH DİYETİ

DECISION



Even after a year, Chad still called us Aunt Pat and Uncle Bill. But we thought our job had become that of mother and father – until that letter arrived from the 6th Artillery headquarters in North Africa in our mailbox in East Orange, New Jersey.
Chad had come to us as an English refugee. He was supposed to stay until they had put “Mr. Hitler in the bag,” as he expressed it, and he could go back to his adored father, Major Jollison of the Royal Artillery. In other words, he had been sent to the United States like many other English children to live with an American family for the duration of the war, after which time he planned to return home to London.
But Major Jollison had been killed while resisting a Nazi tank attack in the North African desert.
Chad had taken the news without the slightest show of emotion. Probably Pat and I alone realized the sharp pain that must have torn through his young heart when he learned that his father was dead. He was English and his people were fighting a desperate battle, so he could not let his own individual tragedy show.
England meant much to him, but when he had recovered a little from the shock he seemed resigned to living with us and becoming an American. He had had no one else but his father.
“I shall try very hard,” he told us seriously in that thin, rather sharp voice of his, “to be as you would want your own boy to be. I shall get onto your American ways as quickly as I can and try to make you quite proud of me.”

He smiled. “I shall even admire your Revolutionary patriots.”
So we could not help loving him, you see, and hoping he really wanted to stay with us forever, even after the war had ended.
He did brilliantly, and an early problem – the way the other boys at school kidded him about his English accent and manners – had disappeared. Everyone in town knew how bravely his father had died, and this gave Chad a certain romantic interest.
In fact everything had gone beautifully – till that letter came from a member of the 6th Artillery, Captain Burroughs. The 6th Artillery had been Major Jollison's military unit.
Pat held the letter out to me one evening, the moment I came in the door. But she was too upset emotionally to wait until I read it.
“He was terribly fond of Chad's father, Bill,” she said. “And he'd like to offer Chad a place to live – with his mother in her home just outside London.”
I looked up from letter. “He says he recognizes the danger.”
“But he's like all Englishmen, I suppose,” Pat said. “Rain or shine, bombs or no bombs, they think that England is the only place in the world to live. And of course he thinks Chad will be company for his mother. She's old and alone…. Oh, Bill, do you think he'll go?”
I shook my head. “I don't know. But I've been afraid he would some day.”
“But he has no relatives there. Surely he'd rather be with us….”
“It's like you said – rain or shine. And he's not really our boy, Pat; we just hope he would be, and he's tried to pretend.”
She sighed. “I know, I was only hoping, not talking sense. Well…” she took my arm, “ – let's go up to his room and tell him.”
Chad was lying on his small stomach, reading, when we entered his room. He got quickly to his feet and shook my hand – he always did that when I got home evenings. “How'd the stock market go today, Uncle Bill?” He was picking up our ways fast.
I handed him the letter.
I watched his blue eyes move quickly back and forth across the page, and when they reached the bottom they stayed there. He was thinking rapidly. Suddenly I knew he'd made his decision because his face lost all expression: a habit of his.
“Are you going dear?” Pat asked softly.
He nodded. “I must, Aunt Pat.”
“They're raining bombs on London, son,” I said.
“I know,” he said. “That's why I'm going.”
“I don't understand,” I said.
“I mean…” for a moment he paused,” – well, when your country's having its most difficult times, that's when it needs you most.”
That sounded a bit too grown-up, too like something he had read somewhere. I looked suspiciously at him, but his eyes met mine bravely. “All right, son,” I said. “I'm sorry, but if you….”
“I'm sorry too,” he said quickly. “Really, Uncle Bill. But I must go.”
“I'd better finish getting dinner,” Pat said in a queer voice, and left us.
“And I have to wash,” Chad said steadily.
I was left, staring down at the letter from Captain Burroughs, already missing these strange youngster as if he'd been all our own from the very start.
We didn't talk much about his going. But we might as well have discussed it constantly; it certainly was with us every moment. From that first night, on through the week following, there were few signs of cheerfulness in our house.
But the evening I came home with final details about his trip to New York, where a friend of mine would take charge and get him safely onto the boat…well, that about finished it. Chad's quiet unrevealing face didn't change a bit, but Pat looked at me as if I would struck her. I knew how she felt.
Late that night I woke up, frightened, sure I had heard Chad crying in the next room. But it was Pat.
“You are crying, darling?”
“Of course,” she said shakily. “Oh, Bill, it hurts to lose him.”
I held her close. “I know so well,” I said. “He's like our own boy.”
And then so quickly, it was the day for Chad to leave us. I had stayed home to drive him to the station, but Pat wasn't going alone. She said she simply couldn't take it.
The three of us were standing in the doorway, just standing there with little to say. Chad was wearing the same clothes he had come to America in – he had wanted to wear them – the short coat, the small cap, the wool stockings that left his knees bear. But when we had first seen him on a dock in New York, he had been looking about him defiantly, with his chin out, trying to hide his fears; now his face was serious, his lower lip pulled slightly in.
“I've been happy here,” he said.
He was interrupted by the mailman, who handed a letter to Pat. She passed it on to me.
“Goodbye, Chad,” she said weakly. ”Always remember that we….”

“Wait,” I broke in. ”This letter's from Captain Burroughs.” But my enthusiasm was short – lived. “It's just a little consolation,” I said. “He says we won't have to worry about Chad. Mrs. Burroughs is being removed to Australia and Chad is supposed to join her there. There won't be any bombs anywhere.”
“That's something,” Pat said.
But Chad was suddenly all animation. “Then I don't have to go!”
Pat dropped to her knees and stared at him. “You don't have to go? Didn't you want to go?”
“Why, no,” Chad said. “But she was a very old lady and all alone in the bombings. I thought I would be able to protect her. But now that she's been sent to Australia….”
“Why on earth didn't you tell us how you felt? I demanded.
He seemed a little embarrassed. “I was afraid, “ he said, “that it might seem forward of me to think I could protect Mrs. Burroughs. And I knew you wouldn't want a son who was forward.”
Pat was half-laughing, half-crying, and hugging wildly. To cover my own feelings I said with an imitation English accent, “then you're quite happy now, old boy?”
“Quite happy?”. He smiled up at me. “Uncle Bill, I feel like a million bucks!”
Chad Jollison – American schoolboy, our boy.