“I grew up in a safe place. I was adopted, but I loved and needed my adopted family, and you have to understand that. We didn’t have too much money, so we moved to a place that we could earn money, but it was so very dry there. I did not feel like I was home. There was no rain ever. It was not a safe place.”
Reader, this is just the beginning. Now, this is only Julia’s perspective of war, and this is just Julia’s side of the story. She is just a normal, young ten-year-old schoolgirl, but a grade ahead of where she is supposed to be. She is so very smart. She loves art and math. She was left at an orphanage at age six and picked up two years later at age eight.
Hi, I am Julia Berkens. You now will know where my story takes place. I grew up in a safe place. I was adopted, but I loved and needed my adopted family, and you have to understand that. We didn’t have too much money, so we moved to a place that we could earn money, but it was so very dry there. I did not feel like I was home. There was no rain ever. It was not a safe place. A war was going on, and my family knew it was not safe at all for me to be there. My parents discussed with the orphanage, and the orphanage came and picked me up. With a knock at the door, my family was gone, and I was alone. I would never see my family again.
And just like that, I was back at the orphanage. But soon, I was adopted by a lady, named Ms. Guis, who said we were moving from England to America. We got in something that made us fly. It was huge and had a lot of people on it. Ms. Guis said it was an airplane, but I was not quite sure if I could trust her just so soon. Though, I have to say, I truly thanked her for getting me out of that terrible orphanage. I could not even do anything there at that terrible orphanage. It was just- well like I said, TERRIBLE, and you who have been in an orphanage: you know what I mean. You see, I wasn’t the child with the most fun, but there is always some fun as you get a little older. Right?
In the airplane, I told Ms. Guis my story.
“I was eight when I was first adopted. And I really grew to know my family after two years. So, as I got older, my family and I painted our house. It was awesome, but then we moved, and I was not safe, so I went back to the orphanage. I was sad, but, you see, if you go to an orphanage, you meet people. Friends, of course. There was me and Mandy, the teacher. There also was Jacqueline, Alina, and my orphanage bestie, Annabelle Refnes, a little girl. She was a year older than me, but she did not mind. We were best friends until she moved to Italy, Europe. When she left, I wondered what I was supposed to do. Just keep on holding on? I guess I had to. Then, you picked me up. I was so happy, Ms. Guis. Thanks,” I said and did a little grin.
But Ms. Guis said, “Where we’re moving, there is also a war, but it’s a safer war. And no one will make you leave me and go back to the orphanage. But, Julia, here is what needs to happen. You are going to fight in this war. You need practice, so get ready. This is going to be fun!”
I was terrified. What should I do?! Fight in a war at age ten!!! Or go back to the orphanage?! I guessed I would have to fight in the war. But, no, I was about to faint or puke. What was I supposed to do? I was freaking out about what I was supposed to do. A complete stranger–my new mother–had just told me terrible information. I literally screamed. The whole plane (as Ms. Guis says) looked at me, and I ran to the bathroom for about 30 minutes and screamed in there about 30 times, walked out, got my bag, sat down, stood still, and did not talk the rest of the ride.
I got home. Ms. Guis told me where my room was, and I stayed in there ‘til supper. At supper, she said sorry, but I was still mad. I was upset that my choices were the orphanage or the war. I guess I had to do the war. Not like I wanted to be in a war, but it was really my only choice. So, lucky me, I was fighting in a war. At supper, I was talking again. I was still upset, but I made my decision and I guess I could blame it on Ms. Guis, but my choice was my decision. Plus, I was pretty sure Ms. Guis actually liked me.
The next day, I started training and got a green uniform. It was scratchy and had a big gold badge. I could not believe it. I literally was about to faint. I saw someone from the military, and they gave me all my information. Where was everyone? Where was my team? What was I going to do? He told me everything. I now knew what my mission was and why it was important. I needed to shoot up my gun since I was special (at least, that is what they said when they saw what I did at the entering test. I was blindfolded, so I was unable to see what happened).
They said the war would stop, and I would kill the whole other team. I was not happy. I was still very nervous, though I knew everything. I do not want to kill people. The man pulled me, and I saw his face. He had a giant scar I wanted to ask what happened, but I did not want to be rude. He even ended up getting the whole military together coaching me! They said I was a special kid, so I was needed. I thought that they just wanted someone else, but they actually weren’t lying. The next day was war. But who did they think I was? I was not ready. I was shooting guns, kicking, and learning how to be a ninja. I was learning a team bomb. It was very confusing. What would I do? I was terrified.
I left Ms. Guis the next day and went to the field. It was dark, and I felt like I was blind, but it got lighter. When it got light, I saw bombs and guns for us. Everyone got armed and stood in our positions. I was nervous, but I knew what I needed to do. Not that I wanted to. I was only ten. This, though, could be one of the best things ever. I could be better. I could be a hero. I could be famous. People might actually know me.
I started to fight in the war. Everyone was getting hurt. There were bombs everywhere. Here and there. I had no idea what to do. Should I shoot, hide, or help? I lifted up my gun, but, then, put it back down. I was very nervous. I started to cry. I was the only kid there, but I needed to help Ms. Guis and do it for my new mother, but how could I do it? I wanted to shoot, but I couldn’t. I tried to hide, but it looked like a dungeon, and in all places, it smelled like dead fish. I hesitated. I could barely move. I fell to the floor, gasped for air, then, stood back up again. With the terrible smell, I wanted to faint so badly, but I could not let down my new country. I lifted my gun again, shot, and the war was over. There was finally peace. I was so scared. I was… I was a murderer. What had I done? I hurt someone. NO!
My whole team was celebrating. I guess I was special. I was so happy that I just saved my whole country. How? I was scared, but excited. It was the weirdest feeling. Everyone was celebrating me. Not like I wanted to kill everyone on that team, but I made it, so that kids could have a good childhood with their families even though I could not. And now I kind of thanked Ms. Guis. She made me a true hero. They had a big party and everyone was so happy, including me, I guess. I felt I was finally at my real home where I would regret things, but still be happy because I felt safe.