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Without Soldier and Dillon, there would be no Scarcity Sanctuary, so what happens when Soldier is missing? Soldier is the head of the household, the provider, along with Dillon. But, Soldier is so much more. He’s the one who makes all the troubled boys who come through Scarcity feel safe, like they can take on a world that has treated them so badly. He gives everyone strength, love, and support. And if you think the boys from Scarcity are losing their minds over his absence, what about Dillon? Soldier is the other half of his soul. Where is Soldier?
Lord, give me strength…
“Yeah, baby?” he said, turning from the stove to Jaja.
“I know they’re gone to find Soldier and bring him home to us, but do you know where they are? I’m scared something bad will happen. What if they don’t find him or what if somebody mean gets them all?”
It broke Dillon’s heart that at his age, nearly seven, he was not at all surprised that there were so many bad people in the world.
“Come here, Jaja.”
“Jaja,” Jojo said from the doorway into the hall, “are you bothering Dillon again? I told you he misses Soldier as much as we do and it hurts him every time you ask him about it. You said you wouldn’t keep bugging him.” Jojo, the caretaker, stepped in as he chastised his twin.
“Jojo, come join us,” Dillon said. “I’d love to talk to both of you. You know how much I love Soldier and yes, I miss him so much. Jaja is right, a bunch of the guys went to try and find him. Officer Jansen and Detective Baber went with them. I’m as worried as you are and I understand that you have questions and I’m so sorry that I don’t have answers for you. We just have to be strong and be ready to welcome them all back when they get home. Okay?” That was as much as Dillon could say without bursting into sobs. He was holding it together because he had to, for all the little ones. They needed him to be a constant in your lives, especially in Soldier’s absence. He couldn’t break down.
Way down deep inside, Dillon wanted to go to their bedroom and crawl into their bed, hold Soldier’s pillow to his face and scream “Where are you?” ” Are you okay?” “Are you coming home to me?” “God, please come home to me!”
He couldn’t do that, so he took strength in being able to handle himself and take care of the boys who needed him now, more than ever. He could, he would do this.
Jaja looked at Jojo and they both nodded. They scrambled onto Dillon’s lap, each taking a shoulder, and they hugged him tightly. His arms wrapped around them both and he immediately had tears in his eyes.
“We’re going to all be strong together, Dillon. We’ll help you so much. Soldier is a strong man and he will come home to us. We have to believe that. We won’t bother you with questions all the time anymore, will we, Jaja?” Jojo asked his twin.
They had all caught on to how Jojo always included himself when he talked about doing better at something, instead of talking down to Jaja. He was the best brother.
“Dillon, can we go shopping and get stuff to make Soldier his favorite dinner? What’s his favorite dessert? We can make it a nice day when he comes home. We’ll help.” Jaja said.
“Good idea, Jaja. We’ll do that. Soldier loves brownies. We can make some and as soon as we know he’s coming we’ll start on some lasagna. He loves that and I’ll make lots because everyone will be here to see him. I’ll let you all help make the salad. So, that’s what we’ll do until we find out something from Ben. He’ll call us and tell us what’s going on.” Dillon believed in telling the truth to these kids, all the kids at Scarcity. It’s not like he had to hide the ugliness of the world from them. They’d lived it, all of them. Better they know what was going on around them.