a young girls life changes drastically (THE THIRD IN THE ONE LIFE, ONE LOVE SERIES)
|Niklas couldn’t help the tears in his eyes as he held a sobbing, arm flapping three-year-old Izzy. He had to leave to go to America to play hockey for his NHL team. He was leaving his family behind. He had left them before, but never to actually move to someplace.
“Why do you have to leave Nicky? Why,” a tearful Izzy asked him. Niklas pushed her chin up so she could look him in the eyes.
“I’m going to play hockey in America love. You can still visit. And I will call you every chance I can get,” he said quietly. Izzy lowered her eyes for a minute before stealing a glance back up at him.
“Pinky swear,” she said, holding up her pinky. Niklas smiled and locked his pinky with hers.
“I promise love. I promise you with all my heart.” Izzy finally smiled and threw her arms around his neck.
“Take care, my Nicky,” she whispered, causing Niklas’s eyes to fill with tears. He loved her so much, which was more than she knew. He held her close for a long minute as Hank yelled “Come on” in the background. He let her go, gave her a kiss on the cheek, waved goodbye to his family, and sprinted off to join Hank. Izzy started crying hard and flapping her arms faster as Niklas disappeared from sight.
“Izzy, come on baby. Let’s go home,” mom said, picking her up and settling her daughter in her arms. Izzy glanced back in the direction where her brother had left and blew it a kiss.
“I love you, Nicky,” she whispered.
More than a month later, Izzy still was not over Niklas leaving her. Every morning she’d get up to go to Niklas’s room and then sob loudly that he wasn’t there. They had called quite a few times, but it still wasn’t the same as having him here. Mom and Dad hated seeing her like this, but they knew that this was Niklas’s dream.
“Momma, I miss Nicky,” Izzy said, sitting on the bar stool with her sippy cup. Mom looked at her with a slight smile and a shake of the head.
“I love you do love. I miss him too. He said he was gonna call today.” Izzy perked up at that, the light in her eyes showing once more.
“He did?! Wheeeennn,” she asked in that cute little three-year-old voice. Mom laughed and came around to fix her daughter’s hair.
“Later today,” she replied, tying the ponytail to the braid her daughter had. Izzy was too excited about Niklas calling to care about Mom pulling her hair. Niklas had been basically her whole world until he left. He had done almost everything with her. But deep in her heart, Mom knew it was more than Niklas leaving that was causing her to act like this. The flapping and screaming at the airport and at the restaurant last night was part of her autism. They had considered homeschooling her so that she didn’t have to face the teasing and abuse mom knew would come. A loud crash broke her thoughts and she looked up to see Izzy crying and with a bright red face at the broken glass all over the table.
“I tried to be as careful as I could getting that glass out for daddy momma,” Izzy said, tears coming down her cheeks. Her arms started flapping again and mom shook her head. She figured Izzy had tripped or had nearly fallen off her chair and the glass had broken. She knew Izzy was going to start blaming herself sooner or later-that was in her nature and something, she had heard, autistic kids did-so she picked up her daughter and gently kissed her cheek.
“Izzy, this isn’t your fault love. You tripped, that could happen to anyone,” she said quietly. Izzy looked at her, the sobbing dying down.
“I know momma. But that was daddy’s favorite glass,” she said, wiping her eyes with the sleeve of her sweatshirt.
“Daddy will understand I promise baby okay?”
“Okay momma,” Izzy replied. She was about to race to the back of the room when Mom’s phone rang.
“It’s Nicky,” she said. In a second, Izzy was at her side.
“NICKY,” she squealed happily into the phone. Niklas laughed at the sound of her childish voice. He had missed that voice when he left. He missed her running to him everyday after practice and hugging him and telling him “I love you.” There was nothing more in the world he wanted to hear more than his little sister.
“Hi, baby Izzy. Are you being a good girl for momma and daddy?” Izzy was quiet for a minute as she wiped the tears that filled her eyes. She missed having him ask that more than anything in the world. It always made her giggle when he asked it.
“Yes, Nicky, I am,” she replied, her voice trembling. Niklas was concerned, but shrugged it off as being part of her missing him. He wasn’t about to have a breakdown in front of her. That would just make her anxiety worse; he knew that for a fact.
“Hank said to tell you hi.” Izzy stopped shaking and her eyes lit up once more. Hank was her second favorite hockey player after her brother. She loved him a lot-he had been so good to her and had defended her against his teammate. She wanted him back almost as much as she wanted Niklas back.
“Is he there,” she asked excitedly. Niklas laughed and shook his head.
“No not right now love. He went out with his girlfriend for lunch.” Izzy’s ear perked up at that. She was only four, but she remembered a little bit of Hank’s American girlfriend Amber. She had been really nice to her-almost as nice as Hank was. Suddenly, Niklas heard a noise in the background and sighed.
“Izzy baby I have to go. Hank is calling me to go outside with her. I will talk later I promise,” he said before hanging up. Izzy ended up bursting into loud uncontrollable tears. She missed him more than he could imagine. She understood that he was fulfilling his dream, but she didn’t understand why she couldn’t come with him. She didn’t like change-the doctors had told her parents she wouldn’t-but having Niklas move away was the hardest thing for her to deal with.
“I want my Nicky back,” she sobbed, buring her face in mom’s chest. Dad tried to fight back tears as his wife comforted their youngest daughter. He had noticed a change in her since Niklas had left. She acted sad most of the time and spent most of her time in his room, running her fingers over the pictures of the two of them he had left on his dresser. She would burst into loud sobs whenever she called his name and realized a second later he wasn’t there. It turns out Izzy would soon get her chance to move in with her older brother, but in a way that was completely unexpected.
“TURN TURN TURN,” Mrs. Kronwall screamed at her husband as the blue Ranger of a drunk driver spun in their direction. Mr. Kronwall gripped the wheel hard and turned, but by then it was far too late. The two cars crashed and the couple died instantly. The drunk driver got out of his car to see who he had run into. His face went pale and tears filled his eyes when he finally realized that the people he had killed were his closest friends.
Fighting back tears, he whispered, “God forgive me for what I have done. I have no kids left at home and no wife to speak of. Why did you take them from me?” He knelt by the passengers door of the car and bitterly wept.
It was a few minutes later, at another house not ten minutes away, that Izzy was being shaken awake by her older brother Staffan.
“Izzy, you said you wanted to help me at the store didn’t you love?” Izzy pushed herself out of bed and jumped up onto her brothers back the way she did every morning. He carried her down the stairs and was about to start breakfast when the doorbell rang. Frowning, he went to the door and swung it open to see a police officer there. Panic started settling in his stomach, but he wasn’t about to have on in front of Izzy.
“Is something wrong sir,” he asked. The officer twisted the cap he held in his hand and nodded. “Your parents were in a car accident this morning. They are gone.” Those very words send Staffan stumbling backwards and fighting back hot angry tears.
“Gone?! No, they can’t be gone,” he said, looking sick to his stomach. The officer grabbed his arm and steadied him, looking near tears himself.
“Yes they are gone. But be strong for your sister,” he said before turning around and leaving. Staffan was quiet for a minute before he sucked in his breath and walked into the kitchen where Izzy was crying.
“Staffie, Staffie is it true? Are mommy and daddy really gone,” she asked. Sobbing, Staffan pulled her into his arms and held her close to him.
“Yes, they are both gone love. They are in heaven with Jesus,” he said. Izzy sobbed even louder and buried her face in his chest.
“Whyyyyy? Why did it have to be them,” she sobbed. Staffan had no answer for his younger sister, all he could do was hold her close and cry with her.
It was about three days later after the funeral that Niklas, Staffan and Izzy sat in their kitchen on the bar stools. Izzy was playing with her dolls in Staffan’s lap while the boys talked about their parents. Normal as this scene might seem, deep down their hearts were heavy with grief and sadness. Izzy had been a sobbing, panicking mess at the funeral today, not only because of her parents death, but because she didn’t like being around so many people at the same time. She knew them of course, as seeing as they were family, but the fact that they kept crowding around her and picking her up and holding her sent her into a panic. Niklas had held her most of the time they were there, so she had settled down a bit after that.
“Nicky,” Izzy asked, looking up from her toys. Niklas looked into his sister’s tear-filled blue eyes and shivered.
“Yes, love?” Izzy crawled into his lap and rested her head on his shoulder.
“Am I moving in with you,” she asked. Niklas and Staffan looked at each other nearly crying before Niklas nodded.
“Yes you are moving in with me baby girl. We were going to have you move in with Aunt Cassie, but she knows about your autism and thought it would be better to move you over here with me,” he replied. Izzy happily hugged her brother, kissed Staffan’s cheek, and ran back to her room to “get packed.” Her two brothers laughed as she raced off before a dullness came over the room. Niklas’s throat tightened up, a sure sign that he was about to start crying.
“I miss them,” Staffan said, tears filling his eyes. Niklas pulled his younger brother into a hug as tears started coming down their faces. Both of their worlds had filled upside down and they knew it. Staffan hated the thought of having Izzy away from him, but in the end he knew it was going to be better for her to be with Niklas. He had lost count of how many times she had panic attacks because of Niklas not being with her. He had lost count of how many times he had to sleep with her at night because she had nightmares and Niklas wasn’t there to save her. He remembered how she would cry because she would yell her brother’s name and he wouldn’t come and then she would remember he wasn’t there.
“It will be better for her,” he whispered. Niklas released his brother and looked at him confused.
“Who are you talking about Staffan,” he asked. Staffan raised his eyebrows.
“Izzy. I was thinking that I’m really gonna miss her but in the end it’s better for her to move in with you than to stay here. I’ve lost track of how many panic attacks she had because you weren’t here or how many times she would have nightmares and I would have to come in and save her because you weren’t here. She is better off with you,” he replied. Niklas smiled at the unselfish way his brother was acting. He knew that these next couple of days-even weeks-would be hard on them, especially Izzy. He remembered how the doctors had told them that autistic kids didn’t like change. This was the biggest change of her life.
The next morning, Izzy woke up crying for mom in bed. Niklas winced and nearly started crying himself as he got out of bed and went to her room. Izzy was sitting up in bed, tears rolling down her cheeks and the heartbreaking cries of “momma, momma” ripped through her throat. Niklas swallowed back his tears and knelt next to her bed.
“Izzy, momma and daddy aren’t in pain anymore. They went up to heaven,” he told her quietly. Izzy stopped crying for a minute, looking at Niklas, who could see the wheels in her head turning.
“No more pain for them,” she asked, as if trying to confirm what Niklas had said. A flicker of a smile appeared on Niklas’s face as he hugged her tightly to his chest.
“Yes love, no more pain for them.” Izzy swallowed hard and buried her face in Niklas’s chest.
“Why did they have to die?” Niklas didn’t have an answer for his baby sister. All he could do was hold her tightly to his chest as she tried to calm down. A flashback went through Niklas’s mind of all the fun times he had with his mom and dad: going to hockey games, going ice skating, mom making hot chocolate for him, mom and dad surprising him on his birthday..ect. He felt a little teary-eyed himself, but he wasn’t about to let that stop him from comforting his sister.
Izzy was sobbing as she hugged Staffan at the airport. She was leaving with Niklas today: off to start her new life in America.
“Staffie I’m gonna miss you,” she told him. Staffan gave her a tight squeeze and then pulled away to cup her face in his hands.
“I’ll miss you too love. But I will visit you and I will call you as much as I can okay?” Izzy nodded and hugged Staffan one last time before going with Niklas to America: her new home.