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The Magic Window
Jason sat on the lumpy mattress in a rundown motel, flicking absentmindedly through the channels on a tiny television in the corner of the room. The room contained only two queen-sized beds, a small bathroom, a mini fridge, and two nightstands, which held lamps that cast an eerie glow in the room. Their Dad said he was out to look for work, which meant he was at some bar, drinking his sorrows away. They would have to live off of the fake credit cards until their dad found real work, which would probably be never. This left 11-year-old Jason alone to take care of his 6-year-old little brother Cody.
“A whopping ten channels and surprisingly nothing to watch,” Jason said, flinging the remote angrily across the room. The remote crashed against the far wall and the batteries flung out to rest lazily on the carpeted floor. He silently wished that their mom were still here. If she were here, everything would be okay, and they would not be sitting in some dirty motel while their so-called dad was out boozing. They would be sitting together in a warm and cozy house, watching game shows and eating popcorn. Instead he was sitting on a bed that had a stain on it that looked suspiciously like blood and an empty pizza box on the floor.
Jason rubbed tired eyes and began to wonder where Cody could be hiding in such a tiny apartment. Worry began to set in, as Cody was very curious and was not above sneaking out of the apartment door to see what was on the other side. Just as he was about to get up from the bed, a small figure came out of nowhere and jumped onto his chest, giggling madly.
“Ouch Cody, what was that for?” Jason asked, looking affectionately down at his 6-year-old little brother. His brown mop of hair was tangled in an unmanageable mess and he was smiling a wide, goofy grin.
“I wanted to scare you!” Cody said happily, hugging his brother’s midsection and burying his face into his brother’s worn t-shirt. It smelled just like him.
“Well it worked!” Jason yelled while he grabbed Cody and engaged in a merciless tickle fight. Jason just couldn’t get enough of Cody’s giggle and didn’t stop tickling his little brother until his face was flushed red and he was begging for mercy.
“Jason stop, that tickles,” Cody said in between bouts of giggles.
“Well that is the point, little Cody,” Jason said, finally ceasing the tickle fight and pulling his little brother in his arms. They sat like this for a couple minutes, big brother and little brother, silently enjoying being together.
Suddenly Cody tore his eyes away from the television and looked up into the green eyes of his older brother. His face looked sad and his eyes revealed that he was on the verge of tears.
“What’s the matter Cody?” Jason asked, looking down into his brother’s hazel eyes with concern.
“Why don’t we have a mommy Jason?” Cody asked. His big puppy dog eyes looked at Jason and begged for answers Jason wasn’t sure he could give.
“Oh Cody,” Jason said and pulled him closer. “Why are you asking this?”
“Well, all the other kids at school have mommies and I am the only one who doesn’t have one,” Cody said, nestling closer to Jason.
“Our mommy died a long time ago,” Jason said hesitantly.
“Why?” Cody asked innocently.
“I don’t know Cody,” Jason said. Was there a reason his mother was torn away from him after only five short years? It had been so hard, being only five years old and trying to grasp the fact that his mother had cancer. He hadn’t really understood at the time, but now he knew. Jason’s mother was always optimistic and happy; it was hard to tell she was even sick, except for the fact that she didn’t have hair anymore. They were so happy one day, and the next day, she was dead.
“I wish she was here,” Cody said, tears spilling down his face.
“Me too Cody,” Jason said, gripping his brother close and tucking his head under his chin. They laid there in silence for a minute, each absorbed in their own thoughts.
“What was she like?” Cody asked. It had been almost six years since he had seen his mother, but he still remembered her clear as day. His mom didn’t live long enough for Cody to get to know her, and to Jason that was not fair. Though he had gotten only five years, it was still a lot longer than what Cody had gotten. He didn’t have those precious memories that Jason treasured in the far recesses of his mind.
“She was beautiful,” Jason began, smiling as an image of her popped in his mind. “She always smelled of flowers from the perfume she wore.” Cody smiled and clung to every word Jason said. “She cooked and cleaned and played with me when she was done,” Jason said. “I remember we had the best tickle fights. She was like the tickle master. No one could beat her, not even daddy. I remember after she lost her hair, we went to the store and tried on a bunch of funny wigs.”
“She sounds like you Jason,” Cody said, hugging his brother tightly. Jason looked down at his brother incredulously, not able to believe he had just said that. Maybe he was making his mommy proud by taking care of Cody. He sure hoped so. Jason knew that he was the only person in this world that Cody could really count on, as their dad was completely useless. When he wasn’t drunk, he was violent and angry at the world for taking his wife away from him. Jason vowed to always be there for Cody, no matter what it cost him.
“Tell me more,” Cody said, his face no longer filled with tears but with excitement at hearing more about the mother he never knew.
“She told the best bedtime stories,” Jason said. “Even Dad listened, she was so good at it. She could always make me laugh when she wanted to.”
“Yeah, she definitely sounds like you,” Cody said with conviction. “What stories did she tell you?”
“Wonderful stories about kings and queens, princes and princesses, and little boys who became heroes,” Jason said, reminiscing on those wonderful stories she used to tell him. He would usually beg for more, but she would always gently turn him down and tell him to go to sleep. Her gentle ‘I love you’ from his door would always make his eyelids close.
“Please tell me more,” Cody begged, his eyes shining with happiness.
“She always said angels were watching over me,” Jason said.
“Are they?” Cody asked.
“Of course Cody,” Jason said. He wasn’t sure if he believed that himself, but he wanted Cody to believe that there was someone watching him from above: someone to protect him from all the evils that were lurking out there.
“Is mommy in heaven Jason?” Cody asked, looking up at his older brother. His face was illuminated with a childhood innocence that Jason fought for him to keep by sheltering him from the cruel realities of the world.
“Of course she is Cody,” Jason said, snuggling with his little brother. “But she was so good and perfect, God decided to give her beautiful wings made from the clouds of heaven. He made her an angel and gave her the duty to watch over all the children without mothers in the world.”
“Wow,” Cody said, his face filled with awe.
“For the past six years she has fulfilled her duty and protected all the motherless children in the world,” Jason said, watching as Cody’s face filled with wonder and joy. “All the other angels loved her so much and she soon became God’s favorite angel. She brought smiles to the lonely children and protected them from harm. But though she loved her job and her new home, she missed a certain little boy she had never gotten to know.”
“It’s me right!” Cody yelled in excitement.
“Sh!” Jason said, putting his fingers to his lips, “let me finish the story. Anyway, she missed her little boy so much her heart began to ache. God saw how sad she had become and asked her what was wrong. She told him that she wanted to see her little boys and protect them. So God used his magic and made her a window that was made of starlight and fluffy clouds. When she looked through it, she could see her boys as clear as day. Every night before she went to bed, she would look through her special window. She would watch him and his older brother live their lives and protect them when they needed it. Though she could never talk to them, her love for them grew as each day passed along. That was her job, protecting those without mothers, and that included her two boys.”
Jason paused when he saw that Cody was crying. He put his fingers under Cody’s chin and lifted it gently until Cody was looking into his eyes. Tears continued to run down his face until Jason gently wiped them away.
“If angels are watching over us, then why didn’t they save mommy?” Cody asked.
“I don’t know Cody, I guess they were a little busy,” Jason said sadly. Cody had just asked the question that had been haunting him for six years. Why hadn’t the angels helped his mother while she suffered through chemotherapy with a smile on her face to hide how much pain she was in? She had never doubted their existence, and they had let her down. It was the reason he had begun to doubt they were even real.
“I miss mommy Jason,” Cody said. “Why did she have to die? I want her back!” Cody nuzzled his face against Jason’s shirt and cried with his shoulder’s shaking. Jason slowly massaged Cody’s back and tried to comfort him.
“Me too Cody,” Jason whispered. “But you are forgetting one thing.”
Cody’s head shot up and he looked at Jason questioningly. Jason pointed up at the ceiling and Cody followed his finger.
“Mommy is watching us right now,” Jason said, even starting to believe it himself. “I don’t think she would want to see you crying, especially over her. She would want you to be happy. All you have to do is think about her every once in a while, and she will be happy. And you have to promise never to forget that she is watching over you.”
Cody’s face spread into a wide smile. “I promise.”
“Most importantly, you must never, ever forget that mommy loves you more than anything,” Jason said, smiling while his own eyes began to water.
“I love her too Jason,” Cody said. Jason smiled and Cody did the same.
“Okay Cody, time for bed,” Jason said.
“Can I sleep with you tonight Jason?” Cody asked, maximizing the power of his puppy-dog eyes.
“Okay,” Jason said, giving in. “But only for tonight.”
Jason gently pulled back the covers on the bed and covered himself and Cody. Cody cuddled closer to Jason and was asleep within minutes. It was these moments that Jason savored the most. Just being able to lay here with Cody on top of him, safe, was one of life’s greatest treasures. He could feel his warm breath on his face and his heart beating against his chest. The steady rhythm made his eyes heavier and heavier until Jason himself was fast asleep with his little brother curled up in his arms. From up in heaven, their mother looked through her window and smiled down at her two boys.