When I was a child, my father would always read me Peter and Wendy: Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up as a bedtime story practically every night. I was always intrigued by the story of a place where one would never grow up. If one stayed in Neverland, they would never age. The idea was fascinating to my mind. My father would always have to listen to my proclamations of wanting to go to Neverland one day, in which he would just chuckle and kiss my forehead in response.
My father, Oscar, was a great man. He was six feet tall, but his build was slim and his pale skin was covered in millions of freckles. He had almond blue eyes filled with kindness and compassion and his copper-colored hair was beginning to gray. People would often say we looked alike from our pale, freckled covered skin to our copper colored hair. I had received my late mother’s hazel eyes instead. Father ran a small but busy shop in Amsterdam and I would help out. It was just him and me. We did not make a lot of money. Just only enough to pay the bills and food. I was happy though.
I have been homeschooled my whole life. Father would rarely let me outside, he said it was too dangerous for me because of my condition. You see, I was fragile. It was as if I was made of glass, but I could be broken over and over again, but only to recover within half a minute to looking brand new again. I neither bleed nor did I felt pain because of this.
The date was December 11th, 1957 and our store was about to close. We had just said goodbye to our last customer or so we thought and proceeded to clean up a bit before we went upstairs to our living quarters and cooked dinner.
Father always made me reorganize the bookshelf. I was pretty excellent at alphabetizing them quickly so I would usually have one hundred disorganized books in order in at least 20 minutes. My record was 14 minutes! Father polished items that needed to be polished, made sure everything looked proper, and other things.
I was almost done with my task when I heard the door open for the story. Quite honestly, it made me jump because we usually didn’t have anyone waltzing in. We were closed, after all.
“I’m sorry, but we are closed,” My father said. I was between two shelves so I couldn’t see anything, nor could I be seen.
“I know,” there was a click, “Get on the ground.” the male voice demanded.
“But I am already on the gro-” FATHER, THIS WAS NOT THE TIME.
“All the way!” The voice said more aggressively. I was peeking my head around the corner, but accidentally made eye contact with the man, “You too!”
I gulped and quickly lay on my stomach with arms above my head. The man had a gun with him and he was pointing it at my father. I could not make any facial features at all because he was wearing a black mask over his face.
“Where’s the money?”
We were being robbed by gun point at this moment.
“It’s in the register,” father said meekly. I could hear the trembling in his voice from where I was standing.
The robber stomped over to the register and popped it open.
“Where is all of it?” the robber questioned, “There are only 100 euros in here!”
“That’s all of the money!” father cried out, “And here is fifty more euros!” he fished out the money out of his pocket.
“No! Tell me the truth!” the man’s voice raised, “If you don’t tell me the truth, I will kill you both and look for it myself!” he pointed his gun towards father then to me.
“I am telling the truth!” father told the man, “Please, just take the money. Don’t hurt us.”
A gun shot. There was a gunshot. I looked around the corner to see father, lying on the ground like before, but this time, in a pool of blood. I gasped and quickly noticed the pair of polished shoes right in front of me.
And the last thing I heard was the sound of a gunshot with a bullet hitting be in the back of the head before I blacked out.
My eye fluttered open. I hoped what had happened last night was just a nightmare. Why was I on the floor though? Why was the store a mess? Unless it wasn’t a dream…
I propped myself up and looked around slowly because I was terrified of the possibility of seeing something I did not want to see. My eyes landed on my father and I covered my mouth with my hands. What happened really did happen. I jumped up and ran over to his side.
My hand clasped his hand and I squeezed it firmly. Tears had to begin to prick my eyes and there was a lump in my throat, a sob that was trapped but was to escape soon afterward.
“Father… father! Please!” I whimpered, “Don’t die on me…” A part of me knew there was a chance he may have already died. I had no clue how long I was passed out for.
I brought two fingers to his wrist to check his pulse for a few seconds but felt nothing. Nothing at all. I had hoped there was a miracle and he was alive, but that was wrong. I dropped my hand and brought my knees to my chest and hugged myself tightly. I rocked my body back and forth as I had to begin to cry. It was a light cry at first, but soon I was bawling at the top of my lungs.