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|Return to Chin Village Part 2|
January 22, 2015
The ground feels cold and smells terrible, but I refuse to let myself get up. A painful chill rushes up my spine and my stomach starts to ache, creating an illusion making me feel as if I want to vomit. I'm not only scared out of my mind, but also confused and betrayed. Why would Kentaro do this to me? And how does he know my mother? I know it didn't start out great, but my friendship with Kentaro has been better than I could've ever imagined...to me at least. I trusted him. I thought we would go to his home and I'd spend my time helping people there while hanging out together. I was excited to see the world outside of the Earth Kingdom and now all those hopes and dreams are shattered. Now, I'm fearing my life is at risk. Mother looks so sinister; I feel as if there are endless tortuous things she could do to me as a way of getting back at me for leaving.
I wouldn't dare to make even the slightest movement right now. From the corner of my eye, I see mother walking over to Kentaro.
"You've done your job, here's your reward," she says as she reaches into her jacket pocket and hands him what looks to be silver pieces. Hmmm, that's odd. I don't remember mother having silver pieces when I was last here. And from the looks of it, there is no way she has a paying job. Perhaps it's money she was saving for something.
Kentaro looks at the money in an unpleasant way. "Hey, you said ten silver pieces. You only gave me five."
"WELL I WANTED YOU TO BRING BACK BOTH OF MY CHILDREN, BUT YOU ONLY BROUGHT ONE! COUNT YOURSELF LUCKY YOU GET TO LEAVE HERE WITH ANYTHING."
"Well you count yourself lucky I brought you back someone!"
"ENOUGH! BOTH OF YOU!" I yell. I'm not even sure where my sudden rage came from, but as long as I have their attention, I should try to get answers. "How do you two know each other?"
Mother begins to slowly approach me. "You dare speak outta turn, young lady! When the Avatar leaves, I'll tear you to shreds!"
Before mother can make another move, Kentaro pulls her back towards him. "Relax, Urara. I am more than happy to explain to Naomi the whole story."
Kentaro walks over to me, and instead of what used to be happiness and joy when we would hang out together has now been replaced by terror that he might hurt me.
"It all started a few months ago when I was traveling through the Earth Kingdom to find a teacher. Taya and I were strolling through Chin Village, and though many people were excited to meet me, no one thought they were worthy enough to be my master. On my way out of the village, I was approached by a woman. I got one good look at her, and felt sorry enough to stop Taya and take a moment to speak with her. She told me that her children abandoned her a while back. She asked that if I came across them, to bring them back to her. I didn't actually think I'd find you or your brother, but when I went into Gaoling, I couldn't believe you two were the ones Urara was telling me about. I thought it was some coincidence at first, but as you told me more about you and your life, I realized that you were it. Believe me when I say that this was not an easy thing to do; but I am not one to break a promise."
"Oh, so why was it so easy for you to throw me on the ground like I'm some kinda toy?"
Kentaro looks away from me frowning and hesitating to answer. "...Sometimes you just have to do things you don't want to, but have to."
I can't believe what he just said. He didn't have to throw me to the ground and turn me in to my mother. I would think that me explaining to him over over these past few months about how terrible she was to me and Wakato made it clear that I was beyond terrified of ever facing her, my own mother, again. It took all of my emotional and physical strength just to walk to up to this house. Instead of being supportive, Kentaro broke my trust before I hit the ground.
Still sitting on the ground, I turn around so my back faces both my mother and Kentaro. The last thing I need is for them both to see me vulnerable. Mother will use it against me, and despite how angry I am at Kentaro, I still have this caring nature towards him that has yet to fade away.
"Leave this house, Kentaro. I never want to see you again."
I wish I could get to see the look on his face when he said that. I wish I could see how hurt and broken he is for breaking my trust - breaking my heart and our friendship. It would satisfy me to no end. On the other hand, our friendship could all be part of him acting like he liked me and Wakato and he could feel nothing.
A minute goes by before I hear the door open and close with the sound of his footsteps walking off the property and later on Taya's footsteps trotting off down the road. Out of my control, water starts the form in my eyes, but I hold them all back. The real battle is between me and mother now.
I hear the slightest squeak come from one of the chairs in the living room. "I give you permission to face me," mother says in a booming tone, causing her words to echo off the walls.
I slowly, turn around, still sitting on the ground and with my eyes closed. I open them to see mother sitting in the chair by the corner of the living room. Her expression looks still. It worries me to see her look as calm as she does right now, because ever since father's death, her emotions are like a volcano; they erupt at the most unexpected and unpleasant times.
"You will answer all my questions with complete honesty. Understand?"
I nod at her in response.
"First off, I want to know why you left. Why did both you and Wakato leave me and leave Madoka in charge to break the news?"
Remember: complete honesty.
"We left because we were afraid. When father passed, you changed into a completely different person. I thought it was a phase and the anger you were letting out would only last a few days, but a couple weeks went by, and you were getting worse. At that point, I felt that I was responsible for Wakato, so I woke him up one morning and we both left to go who knows where. And we didn't leave Madoka to break the news; I wanted her to know that we were leaving so Chin Village wouldn't go into panic of two minor's being lost."
Mother stares at me as if she's trying to reach into my soul. That changes into her closing her eyes and breathing in and out roughly. "Where did you go?"
"We ended up in Gaoling. It was an accident, but as long as we were there, we thought about stopping to eat. In the restaurant, we met a nice local named Ryoma who worked there. We told him about our journey and he offered to give us a place to stay. There, we met his parents who were also as kind as he is."
"He's still in Gaoling with Ryoma and his parents. I asked him if he wanted to come with Kentaro and I to the Southern Tribe, but he didn't want to. He said that he wanted his life to be spent there instead of traveling."
Mother closes her eyes again; shutting them tightly and a frown forms across her face. I will admit, she's in more control of her emotions than I expected during this conversation. After answering the first question, I thought for sure she'd snap. What is she thinking about? Is she letting all this information sink in?
"Do you have any idea what you put me through?" Mother asks suddenly.
Am I supposed to answer this question? Is she testing me? I obviously don't know the answer this one. Only she does. I'm sure I hurt her a lot, but I will never know how much unless she tells me.
"The day you and Wakato left was the worst day of my life. Even worse than when Takashi died. At least when he died, we knew he was no longer suffering in the war. He died a hero for our village. I had the hardest time coming to that conclusion along with accepting it as his fate. But when you two left, it was different. I didn't know where my own two children were! I was afraid you were kidnapped and I had no control over it! When Madoka told me you left, I was relieved, but it only made me angrier! I refused to believe that my children left because they were scared of me. I pushed away Madoka and have spent the last few months alone in the house! CRYING MYSELF TO SLEEP EVERY NIGHT! FINDING MY OWN FOOD IN THE HILLS BEHIND THE HOUSE! I WOULD'VE GOTTEN BETTER IF YOU DIDN'T ABANDON ME! I NEEDED SOMEONE TO UNDERSTAND ME! NO ONE DID!....When the Avatar came through town, it gave me hope. It was a longshot, but I told him if he ever came across two children that confessed about leaving Chin Village, he'd bring them back. Months went by, and my hope started to fade again...but today...you've returned. AND NOW YOU CAN TAKE ME TO GAOLING AND WE CAN RETRIEVE WAKATO! WE CAN BE A FAMILY AGAIN!"
Angry tears blind mother's vision as they fall down her face. I do believe every word mother has said. It's nice to hear her perspective of how Wakato and I leaving made her feel. The thought of us being a family again...would it really be like old times again? No, it wouldn't. I think we could recover, but do I really think that's the best idea? No. Mother has improved some since we've been gone, but it'll never be safe to live with her again. Whose to say she won't snap at us if we do something she won't like? I can't put Wakato back into this house again.
"No," I say in the middle of her crying. My sudden outburst, makes her stop mid-tear, and look at me with her eyes wider than an ostrich horse egg. "We used to be a family, and in a way, we always will be. But you don't understand how much you put us through either. I was scared you end up killing us. I could see the fear in Wakato's eyes as well. After father's funeral, I knew that I was responsible for getting myself and Wakato away from you. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but it had to be done. The most bittersweet feeling was missing you, and knowing that we hurt you after we left. I cried myself to sleep a few nights myself. I had nightmares about you finding us and torturing us when we got back home. I want to be able to trust you again, but I don't think I will ever be able to. But if you forgive me and Wakato for leaving, we'll forgive you for everything you did to us before."
The look in mother's eyes start to change. They become wider and far more bloodshot than they were last time I saw her. Her hands form into fist. Angry tears continue to fall from her eyes again, making them red and bloodshot. Her body begins to shake as she suddenly stands tall to her feet.
"YOU CAN'T TRUST ME? I TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE SUFFERED AND ACCEPTED OVER THESE LAST FEW MONTHS AND YOU CAN'T EVEN TRY TO TRUST ME?"
"You expect me to automatically put my trust in you because of that? Don't try telling me that you fully trust me again after all I put you through! I wouldn't trust me either if I were in your shoes!"
"BUT I DO! LOOKING BACK, I DON'T BLAME YOU AND WAKATO FOR LEAVING SO DON'T BLAME ME FOR ACTING THE WAY I DID!"
"I'm not blaming you for acting the way you did, you simply acted without thinking. Instead of caring to your children, you treating them poorly, even when they tried to make you feel better. You didn't even care how father's death impacted our lives. Even Wakato was holding back his feelings until he broke down to me one night in Gaoling. But our feelings didn't matter to you because all you thought about was how much father's death affected you."
Mother doesn't respond with words. Instead, she grabs a butterfly sword, one that looks just like Wakato's, off a small table next to the chair she was sitting in and points it right at me. Blood begins to rush up into my head, causing me to feel light-headed. I don't understand. She wants me to trust her right away, and instead of building my trust back up with kindheartedness or continuing the conversation on a happier note, she points a sword at me? The sad part is, I can see her killing me in a second. The thing she doesn't know is how much better of an earthbender I've become since I was last here.
"TRUST ME, NAOMI! TRUST ME SO WE CAN BE A FAMILY AGAIN!" Mother says with her voice shaky along with the hand holding the sword.
Don't show any sign of fear. "How can you ask me to trust you while holding a sword pointing towards me? At this point, it's not a plead for desperation for things to be the same; it's a threat putting my life on the line. After this, I'll never trust you. And you'll have the learn to accept that fate as well. However, you should know that despite the fact that I can't trust you, and won't forgive you for doing this to me, that you are still my mother, and I will always love you because of that, but as a person...I absolutely hate you."
I guess that last part could've gone without being said, and I will someday regret telling her that, but it needed to be said. Mother freezes in her attacking stance for a second, but them proceeds to charge me even though I'm laying on the ground without the slightest hesitation to move. I'm not going to let myself get killed; I'm going to wait for her to get to a certain point before I earthbend a rock from the ground and move her away from me. Any second now...and......
Before I get the chance to defend myself, an unnatural gust of wind blows across the room, taking my mother with it all the way down the hall. I turn my head feeling another rush of blood go up my body to the sight of Kentaro in the doorway, standing straight, tall, and of course, confident. Why is he back here? Why did he come back?
Kentaro rushes over to me, and picks me up off the ground. "Come on, we gotta get you outta here!"
Over his shoulder, Kentaro rushes me out the door and places me on top of Taya. He stands in front of my house and airbends the front door shut. Next thing I know, He hops onto Taya, telling her to run. She does as she is told and the three of us get out of town faster than I can process. Where did Kentaro come from? Why did he come back to save me? Should I even trust him?
We make it to a hill just over the horizon of Chin Village. Taya stops running and Kentaro jumps off. He picks me up off from Taya's back, and embraces me tightly to the point where my muscles feel squished. I can tell by the way he's hugging me that it's genuine, but I still have my doubts.
"I was so worried about you. I promise I will never let anything like that happen to you again," he says hugging me even tighter.
His voice even sounds like he's about to start crying. I still don't understand why he came back, but I might as well have a little fun with him.
I slam my foot on the ground, causing the earth around us to shake. To his surprise, a rock forms below his feet and he falls to the ground. I let go of him before he lost his balance.
"How should I even know what you're saying is real or not? My mother was going to kill me! And you just left me there hoping I wouldn't die? How can you expect me to trust you again?"
Kentaro looks to the ground in absolute sadness. He sighs deeply. "You have a point. I know I shouldn't have done what I did to you, but I'm not one to break a promise. After I left, I was beyond afraid of what would happen to you, so I promised myself that I'd get you back. I'd do anything to put my trust back in yours."
My eyes widen at the sound of his kindness. I know he means every word that he's saying, but I have to keep this going a little longer.
I turn my back to him and cross my arms. "I appreciate what you're saying, but I went through a lot with my mom after you left. I think it's best if you went back home without me."
I can't see Kentaro's face, but I bet he looks pretty shocked right now. Another sigh comes from his mouth. "Although I don't like this decision, I have to accept it. I made a huge mistake; the biggest mistake I've made yet. If us going our separate ways makes you happy, then I respect it."
Ugh, he got me. I thought he'd be begging me to come with him. Why does he have to be some understanding and sweet. Oh yeah, he's the Avatar.
I start laughing. I continue to cackle humorously as I turn around to see the look on his face of pure confusion.
"What's so funny?"
In between laughing, I say, "Gotcha!"
"Wait, this was all a joke? You're still coming to the Southern Tribe with me."
Holding my stomach, I nod my head.
Kentaro chuckles at me. "You think you're sooo funny now, don't cha?" Kentaro playfully punches me in the arm. "Okay, come on Miss Giggler, we got a tribe to visit."
Without saying anything back, I get back on Taya along with him. As he gives his animal guide the signal to start moving along again, I take a final look back at Chin Village, feeling confident knowing that what I'm leaving behind is nothing more than the past. Will I visit there again? Maybe someday. Will I visit Gaoling again? Most likely. But for now, the Southern Water Tribe is calling me, and I'm going there to begin the next chapter in my journey.
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