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Live, Love, Lose - 5. Chapter 5

There are some changes in POV in this chapter. It may be a bit confusing, so I'm sorry if it is... I tried to make it as clear as possible.

Once Paul and the young boy were gone, the woman turned to her husband.

“Poor boy… I can’t imagine what he must have gone through…." the woman said with a sad expression plastered on her face.

Her husband only looked at her with silent eyes, seemingly too thoughtful to say anything at the moment.

She really wondered what could have happened to him; how such a young boy could have ended up becoming homeless in a country that was not his. This mere thought made her heart clench painfully.

Her motherly instinct made her want to protect him, to help him, reassure him.

She somewhat found him cute, and endearing, even though she had just met him. His boyish, angelic face, the way he sounded when he spoke with that accent and soft voice, and the way he looked so reserved and shy.

“We have to find his family and bring him back to them,” she said, looking quite determined, unlike her husband who was placid.

There were a few seconds of silence before the man finally decided to open his mouth.

“And how? Tell me. How are we supposed to do this? He does not speak a single word of English.”

“Yes, and that’s not quite normal,” the woman retorted. “Do you not find it weird that a foreign youth ends up sleeping on the streets all alone, without money and just a small pack in a foreign city?” the woman questioned.

“He may just be lost.”

“Lost? But what about his family? And how did he get there in the first place? He did not end up here just by some miracle.”

“I do not know. I have not got the power to see things that happen elsewhere while I am simultaneously doing something else.”

The woman did not really appreciate her husband’s attitude on this precise matter. He seemed that he was not taking it seriously at all.

“How can you be so dispassionate and unmoved over something so heartbreaking.”

Again, the man waited for a few seconds before answering.

“Because I choose not to show my emotions doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about him,” he replied plainly.

It was true that her husband had his own way to deal with his feelings and emotions sometimes, which made him so unlike her. She tended to forget it sometimes, though she should not.

And she could not reproach him with that.

“Which country do you think he comes from?” she asked him, a concerned look on her face.

“Given his blond hair and blue eyes, and the language he speaks, it strongly restrains the different possibilities,” Paul replied as he entered the kitchen.

His mother turned her head to look at him.

“Yes, he is right,” his father agreed.

“He must be from some Scandinavian country, I guess, but it’s harder to guess which one it is,” Paul then stated.

“We should try to ask him to be sure,” his mother said.

“When he’s done showering, we will,” Paul said.

His mother nodded.

*

“Here he is,” Karl heard the younger of the two men say as he came into view.

He didn’t know what he was supposed to do now. He just felt like he was intruding.

“Come, have a seat,” the mother said, patting the empty spot next to her husband.

Karl hesitated, but he sat down nonetheless. It’s not that he didn’t want to sit down. But something was escaping him.

“Wait a minute,” Paul said before he left the kitchen again.

He came back not that long after with a world globe in one hand. He put it down on the table near Karl. He then pulled one chair so he could sit next to the Danish lad.

“Look,” Karl heard him say, and he guessed he was talking to him since he was looking at him and not his parents. But as he must have guessed that Karl didn’t speak English, it was probably more a way to get his attention.

He showed the globe with his hand. “We,” he pointed at himself with his index finger. “England,” he showed him the island still with his finger.

Karl observed him earnestly in silence.

“You” he then pointed at Karl and then at the globe. “Where are you from?”

And of course, as Karl was not stupid even though he wasn’t educated, he immediately understood what he wanted to know.

“Danmark,” he replied before showing it on the globe.

His response was followed by a moment of silence.

“And what’s your name?” Paul ended up saying, breaking the silence. Karl guessed it was just a way to catch his attention again.

The young Dane stared into his brown eyes, clueless.

“Me,” Paul pointed again at himself, “Paul. You?” He pointed at the boy.

And it was crystal clear for Karl.

“Karl.”

“Carl,” he repeated it with his English accent.

Said boy nodded. It sounded a bit strange to hear his name being pronounced another way. But it sounded nice to his ears.

“Knowing how he got here will be another story…” he heard the young man say to his parents.

He chose to look at the woman who had a concerned look plastered on her face.

“For now we have enough information about him. We do not need to know any more,” the older man responded.

“But why are his not parents with him? Given his looks, I am pretty sure he is underage… Anything could have happened to him on the streets. He was really lucky you found him, Paul,” the woman spoke again.

“We can’t judge them, Margaret. We have no idea what happened,” her husband replied, his voice grave.

Karl’s gaze shifted from the mother to the father. Since he couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying, he carefully observed their facial expressions.

“Still…”

“Margaret.”

Said woman still had a disapproving look on her face. He just wished it wasn’t because of him.

He heard the man sigh.

“What should we do now? He is too young to work and have a proper job but he can’t go to school since he does not speak English,” he then heard the woman say.

“Maybe we could try to find someone that speaks both Danish and English. It would help us a lot,” Paul was then the one to speak, which sounded like a suggestion. “Otherwise, we will manage on our own; it’s alright if we don’t find anyone.”

Everyone’s eyes were on him.

“Yes, we can still do that,” his mother replied.

“I’m going to go to the city centre to see if I can find anyone,” Paul spoke up again.

His mother nodded.

“Yes, that’s a good idea. The sooner the better.”

Paul quickly left the house. Karl just nodded at him as a goodbye, although he heard the word, he preferred to remain silent.

It’s not that he wasn’t willing to make some effort to communicate. But speaking a language that’s unknown to you wasn’t easy…

Yet, he had already tried with the word thanks.

Once he was gone, his mother sat down on the chair he had been previously sitting on. She put her hand on Karl’s shoulder gently, in a reassuring way.

Karl stared into her greenish-blue eyes.

“Me,” she pointed at herself, “Margaret. And this is my husband, Robert.”

Karl nodded silently.

It’s not as if he were going to call them by their first names anyway. This was not done.

“Robert and Margaret Hopkins,” she added. “But no formalities. Just call us ‘Robert’ and ‘Margaret’.”

“He can’t understand what you are saying, Margaret,” the man said.

“I know he doesn’t. But I am not used to communicating with only isolated words and gestures.”

Mr. Hopkins didn’t reply.

“Come, we’re not going to stay in the kitchen all day long, are we?” Margaret then said to Karl, gesturing to said room. “Come,” she repeated enthusiastically.

She stood up and led the way. Karl watched her walk away and stood up as well to follow her before she could get out of sight.

The Danish boy noticed her husband didn’t follow. He assumed he must have remained sitting in his seat, probably to think. What else could he have done otherwise?

Indeed, he remained still in his spot, letting his mind wander to different thoughts.

*

The day actually went on smoothly. During most of it, Margaret tried to teach Karl some English words, at least she started. At some point, her husband observed them silently, seemingly having nothing better to do of his time.

They ended up finding themselves alone in the hall as the sun was near setting.

“You know, Margaret, I am not quite sure that your method is the best one to teach him,” he told her.

He did not mean to be mean to her or to belittle her. The thing is that she showed the boy objects, various ones, that were displayed in the house and taught him the English word for them.

But this wouldn’t really help him to communicate properly with the local people.

Margaret’s features hardened.

“Well, if you have a better one, please, show it to me,” she somehow said derisively, offended by her husband’s remark.

“Do not take it that way, Margaret. I just think he needs to have a real grammar structure so he can truly try to communicate. Learning isolated words will not help him; I agree that vocabulary is important as well though. But if he can’t make a proper sentence, that is rather pointless.”

He could see in her eyes that she knew he had a point. A concerned look was visible on her face again.

“I hope Paul could find someone that could help us.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint you Mum, but I couldn’t,” the man said as he suddenly appeared before them.

“Oh, what a shame…”

“That’s alright, Mum. Even if it takes a lot of time, we will teach him English ourselves. After all the best way to learn a language is to stay in the country with the locals, isn’t it?” Paul said optimistically.

“Yes, but your mother will really have to modify her method,” his father said teasingly.

Margaret gave him a disapproving look, a look the man knew all too well. She just elbowed him with a stern look on her face. He knew it was just playful anyway. Or rather he found it amusing. He showed it with only a small smirk.

He heard his son let out a small laugh, which earned the young man a slight nudge as well.

“There is nothing funny in this, though,” she said, still looking stern.

“Just calm down. You know there is nothing mean in it,” Robert replied somewhat lightheartedly.

But this didn’t last though. One second later he looked quite grave and concerned as if he were about to announce someone they knew well had just passed away.

“But enough with that. You know, I’ve been thinking about Carl’s situation, and I think I know why he ended up homeless in a foreign country all alone,” he stated.

“You do?” Margaret replied.

Robert nodded.

“The Nazis invaded and annexed Denmark not so long ago…” he explained. “On the 9th of April more precisely. But you both already know this, don’t you?”

Neither his wife nor his son said anything.

It was a heavy silence.

Margaret looked horrified while her son was trying to remain as neutral as possible, even though it seemed to be rather hard for him to try to hide his concern.

“And I bet his parents made him flee their home because they did not want their son to live in a country invaded by fascists,” Robert ended up saying, breaking it.

Silence again.

“Do you… Do you think his parents are…” Margaret trailed off, unable to form a proper sentence, looking even more horrified at the thought.

“I don’t know. But sincerely, I hope not.”

The more it was silent, the more the atmosphere was becoming, eerie, spooky.

Margaret intertwined her fingers together as if she were about to pray.

“Come on, let’s not be so pessimistic. As long as we don’t know for sure, we can’t assume anything,” Paul spoke, certainly to try to cheer his mother up and make the general mood less tense.

His parents stared at him silently.

“And from now on we’ll be here for him, no matter what happens in the future,” He added.

His mother’s face was brightened up by that smile of hers which he liked so much. She was glad to hear her son say that, even proud. Robert could affirm that without any doubt.

“Yes,” she replied somehow relieved, and Robert could picture her shaking out the horrible thoughts and possible scenarios from her head.

She tended to imagine the worst from time to time. Even when it wasn’t necessary.

But that was something he had learnt to like about her.

*
Never had Karl thought that the woman would make him stay in their home, let alone that she would try to teach him their language.

Even if he learnt and memorized a few words thanks to her, he realised that he wasn’t anywhere near to mastering English. He wasn’t criticising her method or anything. Her initiative was quite commendable. He somewhat found her courageous to have the patience to try to teach him her language, knowing she didn’t speak Danish. She could have been unwilling to take her time and spend it with him while she could have had the possibility to do millions of other things. But there she had been all day long, smiling whenever she seemed to think he had assimilated such and such word. She never seemed to get tired of it.

But then maybe she chose to do it because she must have thought she didn’t have any other choice.

He had never learnt another language. Speaking and mastering his own native language was already quite enough for him. But he wasn’t in his homeland anymore… He just needed to adapt, he guessed. If he wanted to survive in a foreign land.

His father spoke some German. But that’s only because he had met German men and had got on with them during his youth. Well, that’s what he had understood from what he had been told. It had happened a few years prior to his birth, apparently. When his father had volunteered to help the Germans in some civil war or whatever. He didn’t know the details.

So if his father had been able to learn a foreign language, he didn’t see why he couldn’t do it as well.

He just needed to be patient too.
Today had been a long day, but he couldn’t complain. Usually, the days passed much faster when you were tasked with various chores.

“Well, that will be it for today. You must be tired of learning so much in one day only,” she told him with a bright smile.

And he managed to figure out that meant they were going to stop for today.

“I’m just going in the hall,” she said as she gestured outside the living room before standing up from her seat. “I’ll be back in a few moments,” she added, still smiling.

Karl just nodded at her, figuring out there was something else she needed to do.

Once she was out of sight, he looked through the window, and he could see it was only a matter of minutes before the sunset.

He remained still in his seat, waiting for something to happen, anything. He waited for Mrs. Hopkins to come back.

As he was waiting, he could hear voices coming from the hall. Familiar voices. He didn’t know why he did it, but this had him stand up from his seat to get nearer to the hall.

It’s not as if he could eavesdrop on their conversation since he hardly knew a few English words.

After taking a few more steps nearer and nearer, he could finally see them. Paul had finally come back. But no one noticed his presence. They seemed to be too busy with whatever they were talking about.

He observed them silently. It was so frustrating to see and hear them talk between them and not be able to communicate with them. He wanted to ask them why they were doing that for him, (because they really didn’t have to), and how they would get organised, how long it would last, how they had found him if they knew anything about his country and the reasons why he had to leave it so suddenly.

So many questions that he couldn’t ask.

Hello! Thank you to all of you who've been reading this story and thanks for all the interesting comments too so far ❤️ Take care and stay safe ❤️

Copyright © 2021 LittleCherryBlossom26; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

It's a beginning, there must be a Danish embassy, or shops, or a bookstore with a Danish/English dictionary!!!

Loving the story!!

  • Like 1
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This is getting better as background gaps and so on are being filled in. Can't wait for next instalment.

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@Bushman60 Thank you so much for your positive comment :) I've just published a thread on the forum about this story, because I need to have my readers' opinions

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3 hours ago, LittleCherryBlossom26 said:

@drsawzallI'm really glad you do! :) I don't know if you've seen the thread I published yesterday on the forum, but so do you think I should keep publishing even without editing?

My thought is to do so, however...if you feel the story you are giving us would be better served with an editor, I believe there are resources available on GA?

Please let me know your thoughts!!!

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9 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

My thought is to do so, however...if you feel the story you are giving us would be better served with an editor, I believe there are resources available on GA?

Please let me know your thoughts!!!

@drsawzall Honestly, I don't know what to think any more.... Well, I posted a request yesterday to try finding one, but I don't think I'll be successful...

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On 10/20/2021 at 9:55 AM, drsawzall said:

It's a beginning, there must be a Danish embassy, or shops, or a bookstore with a Danish/English dictionary!!!

Loving the story!!

 

On 10/20/2021 at 9:55 AM, drsawzall said:

It's a beginning, there must be a Danish embassy, or shops, or a bookstore with a Danish/English dictionary!!!

Loving the story!!

My GrandUncle fought in WWII and told us some 'Annexed' countries Embassies remained open in London but certain staff were replaced by Germans already in UK. (That would change when Britain entered the war). So it is possible Mr. Hopkins could have checked that out (with suspicion and caution) or checked about to see if he could locate someone who spoke Danish. As for foreign language dictionaries my uncle said they were "rare as hen's teeth".

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