It was a cloudy evening. That’s always the first thing I remember. A cloudy evening after school got out. It was spring and the Japanese water beetles had started coming out in swarms. It had been a rough day for me and I feared that it would only get worse. Sitting in the dining room while my little brother was in the living room watching Curious George on PBS Kids. I felt numb. The world around me turned into a black and white haze and I couldn’t feel my limbs. I couldn’t hear my brother laughing as the man in the yellow hat stepped in his soaked slippers. I couldn’t see where I was and my ears rang. My heart hurt immensely and it felt like someone had taken a shovel and pounded it into my chest. My throat was impossibly tight and it was hard to hold back tears. I could now hear the ending theme of my brother’s show and hurried footsteps towards me. I stood, wiped my face, and took a shaky step forward to greet the bubbling ball of energy that was my brother.
He turned the corner and looked up at me with this innocent look in his eyes. I looked down at him and asked,”Is your show over?” He nodded silently and I asked if he wanted to do anything. He responded by taking my arm in his tiny hands and dragged me to one of the chairs. He pointed t the chair and told me to sit down ‘criss-cross-applesauce’. I did, and he climbed into my lap, sat down on my legs, and hugged me as I looked out the window. He looked up with his arms still around my torso and asked me how my day went. I said,” It was good.” he responded with a simple word. “Liar.” I chuckled. How was he the most gullible person alive when it came to pranks yet he could always tell when I had a bad day?
We sat there as I told him about my classes and he listened well until I brought up a topic that we talked about in Geography. Desert Storm/Shield. He looked at me with his eyebrows furrowed (cute little bugger) and asked me a simple question.
“What’s a shield?”
I looked at him confused. He watched shows with shields and swords all the time, they never explained it? I responded with what I knew would get his attention, a story.
“There was once a little boy who loved to play and sing. He would play with his friends at school and sing with his family whenever he felt like it. One day at school, he saw a small girl being picked on by a group of tall boys. The girl was a grade younger than him and the boys were older than him by two years. He didn’t like what was happening so he ran up to the girl, stood in front of her and glared at the boys silently. The group of boys laughed as the tallest one took a swing at the young boy. The hit never made its mark. The boy caught the fist, pushed back, and brought it to the taller boys back with impressive strength. The group of boys grew scared and the girl looked on with both awe and fear.
The leader of the group, the one with his arm behind his back, pleaded with the boy to let go, promising that they would stay away from the girl. The boy smiled, and let go, dusting off his hands before grabbing the girl’s arm and running to one of the wooden benches. They talked and became the best of friends. From that day on, the boy protected the girl from bullies and the cruel torment from their schoolmates. The boy became known as Shield while the girl became Knight. For the shield would always protect its knight from the evil dragons.”
“So, a shield is a person who protects someone? Like you protect me?” I nodded while a smile graced my face. “So would I be a knight?” I nodded once more. He looked up at me like he was sentenced to death.
” Does that mean I have to kill my stuffed dragons?”