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Chapter 2 The Shock

  • It's an old house with low ceilings and lattice windows, a typical fisherman's house.
  • I love to live here and can't imagine living anywhere else ...
  • Where else than in our small fishing village.
  • Because basically Sandycove is exactly that.
  • A small sleepy fishing village.
  • I take the morning paper and sit in the kitchen for a moment. I always need a few minutes to shake off the night and most of the time I flip through the newspaper ...
  • An article on the last page gets my attention and as soon as I read the headline my heart starts beating like crazy in my chest.
  • ........
  • AGAIN DEAD IN FIGHT FOR THE GAZA STRIP
  • Yesterday morning there were again bloody fighting in Bureji, near the Gaza Strip, in which 6 soldiers lost their lives.
  • As was announced in the evening, one of the soldiers is an Irish citizen. According to information from the Irish Defense Forces (IDF), the killed soldier is 26-year-old Second Lieutenant Jake MacKenna from the Special Forces of the Army Ranger Wing Kilnare.
  • MacKenna grew up in Sandycove and was a respected member of the local community.
  • The IDF expresses its deepest condolences to the family members and declares that the body will be transferred to Ireland by the victim's brother, Captain Taylor MacKenna, within the next two days.
  • Underneath is a large picture of Jake, he looks seriously into the camera with his light blue eyes and with all his badges and medals he looks so incredibly grown up. His blonde hair is almost completely hidden under his beret and I shake my head in disbelief as I read the line below the picture.
  • Second Lieutenant Jake MacKenna († 26)
  • Next to it is a small picture of Taylor in his dark blue dress uniform, he too looks seriously into the camera and his dark blue eyes seem to pierce you. His dark brown hair peeks out a little at the edge of his cap and I let the newspaper sink.
  • My throat is constricting and I feel like I can't breathe.
  • I still remember the ruffians both of them were before they decided to join the military, and I need to know ... I grew up with them.
  • God knows it wasn't always fun.
  • Jake and Taylor are like brothers to me and Ava and now one of them should never come back?
  • I put the newspaper aside and what I read slowly works its way into my brain.
  • Oh my god, Jake is dead .
  • He is dead ...
  • Before I think about it, I take my coat off the hook and jump into my car.
  • I have to see Annie and Carl!
  • I drive the 20 minutes over the dark country road to the MacKennas farm, there is light inside the house and I breathe in and out deeply. I park badly rather than right, storm up the porch stairs and I knock timidly.
  • "Oh little one!" Annie throws herself in my arms and I rub her back soothingly.
  • "I'm so sorry." I say softly.
  • We stand for a while in the cold mail air before we go in and Carl puts me a coffee.
  • "When did you find out?" I look at Carl.
  • "Last night ..." he looks at me sadly and I walk over to him and lean my head on his shoulder. "Taylor called," he adds quietly.
  • "How is he?" I look up briefly into his gray-blue eyes.
  • "I don't know, he sounded very calm on the phone." He shrugs his shoulders slightly.
  • "When is he coming?" I hold on to him.
  • Carl is something like my second dad, I trust him blindly and it makes me sad to see him like that.
  • He looks broken ... the worst that can happen to a man.
  • "I don't know, he couldn't quite tell." Carl takes a deep breath and I hold on to him.
  • I would so much like to give him support, but I know I won't be enough.
  • At some point I break away from him, sit down next to Annie on the couch and take her in my arms.
  • "I can't believe it ..." she cries.
  • "Me neither, you were only here for Christmas." I take her hand in mine.
  • "You were so happy to be home again at last." She wipes away a tear.
  • "I know ..." I admit.
  • When the two of them were here we did something together almost every evening, it was almost like before and the two weeks went by far too quickly.
  • I suddenly realize it was the last time I saw Jake ...
  • I can't cry, everything in my body screams for it, but I have to be strong for Annie and Carl now, I can cry later too.
  • I don't think I can really understand yet that Jake is really never coming back.
  • Both of them have been on the road a lot in the past few years, and if there was any problem anywhere in the world, then they were there.
  • You have risked your life so many times.
  • They knew what they were getting into, but no one expected that it could really affect either of them.
  • And now?