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Small hands, the sort that belong to a child, with slightly rounded fingers, offer me a folded note. Brooke on one barefoot stands tilting first to left than right to find the balance required to go up on her toes. She is at that age of adventure, the time in life when we want to try new things and something deep inside has made her fearless. Only age and the rules of our parents keep her from being off on an adventure, traveling down rivers or scaling mountains. At eleven, though older than Brooke, I am cautious knowing the world has teeth. Teeth that can bite you, leaving scars like the one on my right hip, caused by stitches that pieced me back together after the nail in the barn post found its way into my flesh.

Unfolding the wrinkled note, Brookelyn’s yet to be perfected penmanship spells out a plan. The sort of plan that would have been conducted in private secret by my smaller companion had there not been a need for my size and strength. At the time I assume she is also in need of my engineering and wit to complete the adventurous plot of bravery. Time has taught me to know better of that. Reading over Brooke’s words a second time, my young mind searches for an alternative or a way to discourage this act laid out before me. The plan is much too dangerous for the more cautious sister to take serious. Maybe a distraction will do the trick I tell myself suggesting Brooke allow me to push her on the swing hanging in our front yard.

Long hair trails behind my sister, who’s toes grip the wooden plank of the swing dad constructed and hung from the lone tall tree in our front yard. In efforts to reach new heights and feel her need of quest, I push Brooke firmly each time she approaches me. When swing and young sister reach the greatest point in the sky we have accomplished, to my surprise she leans forward and stretches. I know before it happens what will come next. In a shout I request she remain on the swing, adding my concern that it’s too high to jump. My warning disregarded the ropes holding the platform are released and youthful toes push off. Flying through the air towards appealingly lush soft green grass is Brooke. If she could I’m certain my ears would have been filled with her squealing in excitement. Landing on one foot, then tumbling forward, left hand catching the ground, Brooke rolls across the yard.

Sitting in the starch white of a waiting area with dad, mom leads Brooke out by her right hand. Her left arm is wrapped in plaster and then a purple tape, intended to contain the broken bone of her arm to ensure it heals properly. Again I apologize to everyone, my parents ensure me that accidents happen and it’s not my fault. Brooke smiles huge and hands me the stickers she has received for her bravery form the doctor. This is her way of saying, “hey sis, I jumped! Chill out and have a sticker, it’s no big deal!”

Later that day holding one of my fathers hands and Brooke holding the other, looking out across the fields beyond our home, with the safety of fathers grip we complete Brooke’s earlier noted request. From the top of the barn I wonder how this is safer than the swing we used so many times. Dads hand ensures me that it is not dangerous, his words explain how we can never come up here without him and I have my answer. Dad holding Brooke’s pants by the top back, she stretches bravely on her toes, looking out as far as she can see, assuring anyone in doubt that unlike me, bravery can not be diminished by the teeth of our world.

Retelling the events today and hearing my sisters perspective made me laugh. Brooke while reliving it all with me simply wrote, “It was actually quite disappointing! I’d hoped you could see the ocean from the top of our barn.”

-Brooke’s Sister

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