Alina just stood still in front the of the small wooden house painted in varnish. The house was beautifully surrounded by flowers and there was a small pond filled with variation of fresh water fishes. She was holding the address the old man gave her the last time they met, while she was carrying her little brother Franklin on her back strapped tight with a strong belt, sleeping soundly to keep him in place. There was no one in this world she loved more than her own brother, who suffered from autism since the age of three. Alina vowed to protect her special brother, even if it meant to cost her life.
She came to the old man’s house in hope for a new life. A life that promised her a better future for her and her little brother. The last word the old man told him, “There is so much more to this world one needs to find out, rather than sitting next to a trash container,” really hit her. She decided to be braved, stepped up to the house and knocked the door.
“Hello! Sir? Anybody home?” shouted Alina. An immediate respond put a smiled on Alina’s face.
“Come on in. I’ve been expecting you.”
Alina carefully opened the door and saw the old man sitting on a couch reading a book. He wore half moon glasses, a classic hat and he has an old style cigar that people called pipe lit on an ashtray on the wooden table. There were also cups of coffees served on the table as well, three exactly, and the exact same amount of sandwiches. Alina was amazed by his hospitality. The old man knew they were coming.
“Have a sit.” Said the old man. Alina did as what she was told, and unbuckled the belt that held her brother to her back and put him lying on the couch just next to her.
“Drink.” Said the old man again. Alina took a nice sip, and she was delighted, to be able to taste coffee again.
“How long has your brother been sick?” said the old man starting the conversation.
“Since he was just a toddler. Around three.” Alina replied, then she continued. “I want to thank you for saving me yesterday from that thugs. I’m in debt to you.”
“Not to worry much about that kid. I’ve been watching you all this time.” Revealed the old man.
“What do you mean you’ve been watching me all this time?”
“You and your sacrifices towards your brother. To stay alive. Withstand the struggles. You’re very strong for a little girl kid. And I’m amazed by that.” He answered.
“Why wouldn’t you come to see or talk to me before?” asked Alina.
“I want to see how far can you go with your hard life. From my observation, you’re very independent, hard working and high spirited person. But you missed one important thing.” Added the old man.
“What did I miss?”
“What’s with my brother? I look after him my entire life. I love him and I’ve never ever abandoned him in any way!” Alina raising her voice.
“True. But you’re doing it wrong. You’re spoiling him kid. As an older sister you should know that one of the first most important thing is education.”
“What? I can’t afford school! I don’t have any certificates or I.D or anything!”
“Calm down kid. If you think school is the only source of education than you’re wrong. You’ve been spoon feeding your little brother for so long. You need to teach him for being able to take care of himself. What happen if you’re gone? Who’s gonna take care of your brother? From now on, I’ll be guiding you and your brother to live life, as it should be.”