Archives for posts with tag: hope

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Finish is worn revealing gentler wood tones, on the arm of the wooden chair, suggesting years of use. The wear clearly from a forearm larger than that of the youthful current inhabitant. More curious than her headwear is the activity of the girl seated at the table with stain and design matching the chair. A delicate finger traces the location where varnish has faded from years of use, as if through touch she can gain understanding of the man who occupies this spot in early morning hours sipping black coffee. Does she gain the knowledge which he received from hours spent in this very location, folding papers containing events of the world. Among them the sports section which always holds his attention slightly longer.

On this day Brooke has chosen the brown bowler, her favorite choice of hat, though she generally seems slightly more partial to the faded black one. The one with felt worn on brims edge, much like the chairs arm, from years of repeated touch. It was a gift from grandfather, he had carried it on the long flight back from England, since it was sizes too small for him but a perfect fit for the little girl whom it strangely reminded him of that rainy day he spotted it through milky glass in the second hand store. This derby would start a collection of many including the brown one donned at the moment. There are the other hats and caps of all styles but by the sure number of days worn, all would agree that bowlers are the definite favorite of young observer.

Taking the seat next to younger sister causes her to look up casting a slight smile with always slightly blushed lips. Returning the smile, I resists the urge to glance away from gentle eyes. Brooke’s eyes hold secrets that have always for me been best observed in small doses. This day I take in all the emotion, love, warmth and passion that exudes from her. A slight tilt of head and scrunching of her noses suggests I should speak, asking me what I’m thinking.

“Brooke what are you doing?”, I ask my sister who I’d watched for some time seated in fathers chair, gently touching the arm worn by his use.

The yellow tablet is pulled close words are placed on it in looping perfect cursive. When thoughts are complete it is slid on the table in my direction. “Talking to Dad, I miss him.”

Six words simple and clear lead me to questions, rather than the answer I believed to be seeking. What do you mean miss him, I think to myself. After all father left for his days work less than two hours ago and as always he will be home before dinner is eaten together. Above the words written for me on the tablet is the evidence of the conversation Brooke and Dad had while he drank morning coffee, so why talking to him?

Brookelyn, now returned to herself and conversation with father, gently rubs the place where his arm hours before rested. Slowly standing in attempt to find my answers in her own fashion rather than mine, I close my eyes. Brooke’s face is soft beneath the gentle touch of my hand as I trace it’s curves, memorizing her form. Slightly damp lips kiss my palm and in my mind I hear the voice of an angel, “I love you too” are the words spoken.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Legs tired from running up and down the field, where practice has just concluded, slightly shaking do their best to hold my tired frame beneath showers spray. Flip-flops protect my feet from the sorts of elements that live on the white tile floors of locker rooms. The water stings slightly mellowing the tension of overworked muscles. While the absence of ever present chatter of teammates insures that practice has drained even the strength to speak from all present. My mind ponders why this was all I wanted during High School, this chance to be a member of the University women’s lacrosse team. I can only ponder for a moment, I simply lack the energy thought requires.

Slightly recovered by the shower, as if exhaustion washed down the drain with the bits of grass that had clung to my legs. I dress in a white shirt, recalling how proud I’d been when the coaches had issued the shirt with our schools blue simple yet unmistakeable logo on the chest. In appreciation index finger traces the raised letters bellow the emblem, spelling out WLAX. Pride replaces weariness as I spot my roommate, who appears as worn out as myself from the days conditioning. The familiar two words that are known across the country as our schools motto echo off the navy and white walls, breaking the silence. My shout is answered back from dorm mate and teammates alike, as per school tradition. It feels good, hearing upperclassman respond to my voice reassuring that I truly belong.

My new best friend, teammate and dorm mate walks out of the University athletics complex slightly ahead of me. Tapping shoulder of solid muscle going past her, I challenge, “race you to the room!”

Balls of my feet pushing off familiar pavement, breeze in face, I find full stride. It feels good reaching goals, accomplishing dreams and of course as always running. Imagination turns the concrete to the gravel drive of home, crunching with each touch of foot. This burst of energy is more than simple achievements or love of life, it’s the knowledge that in the dorm an email from Brooke waits for me. Without fail there is a message every evening, telling me of all the events of my sister’s day. On this day I can’t wait to tell her my feelings, to share the realization of my success. Also, I need to thank her for all the support and always showing me what it’s like to be a champion.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Wild grass covers the small field, which is inclosed by a wooden fence, in front of our home. A dirt and gravel drive leads to a blacktop road that can not be seen from the wooden porch. Five chairs, two of them being the type that rock, are perfect places to find yourself for relaxation, conversation, or to view the day. Perched in the other piece of furniture, a wooden swing, the slight breeze sways me gently. Far across the field a shadow moves, the young mare lifts her head for a moment, then upon recognizing the shadows form returns to chewing natures gifts. As often is the case familiarity brings comfort and ease.

Making way through the pasture, from my location the shadow soon gains form. Sun glistens on golden hair, that hangs loosely beneath a worn derby. The bowler hat would be out of place to the scene if not for the individual wearing it. The derby is just one of many unique bits of fashion Brooke uses as headware. A fly-rod rests on her shoulder, catching the sun on eyelets on occasion, sending bright spots of light in my direction. From her walk it is apparent the creel over her left shoulder is not empty, but instead contains the morning catch.

Brooke is well beyond half way across the field when basket of fish and rod are placed on the ground as her arms are wrapped around the neck of the mare. A bit of her morning snack that she has saved for this moment is removed from her small pack. The horse gently eats the apple piece from my sisters palm. Unlike the mare I understand the strength of this gesture, apples are in fact Brooke’s favorite of all foods, a slice saved for an old friend is no small offering. Horse patted once more, gear is gathered from the ground, as fisherman continues home.

The screen gently taps door frame as father joins me on the porch. He has witnessed the scene from inside but can no longer keep glass between himself and that which he so loves. “Sometimes I wish that youth, innocence, wisdom, tenderness and beauty was my own,” Dad almost whispers.

“It is.” I respond in the same tone.

“I may have had a slight hand in creating her but she is not mine. Brooke belongs to no one, barely even to this world. What I meant however was that I wish, I was more like her.”

The words of father could be my own. It’s not that I want to be like Brooke, who my father is now holding the wooden gate for, it’s more a want to know what it’s like to see things as she does for just a moment. Brookelyn tips the bowler and smiles at Dad holding the gate open, they walk together up to the porch before she sees me in the shadows. A huge smile comes across her face as creel is handed to father. For a moment, before she reaches into her pack I believe she is proud of her catch. Of course humility being one of her stronger qualities I quickly realize the smile is for me, as a slightly dusty hand offers me a slice of apple pertected from the dust by white handkerchief.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Standing in cap gown on the green grass that my feet have covered during so many practices and lacrosse games, it doesn’t feel real. High School is over, I’ve been accepted at State and should be excited. Yet a melancholy his filled my body all day. My friends are triumphant, they should be, we made it. The accumulation of four years of last minute studying, homework frantically completed before class and of course so much more, is behind us. The laughs, tears, first loves, heartbreaks, close calls and all that we believe to be the biggest moments of our lives. Some of what we’ve done may impact us forever, most was just inflated by our importance of self. None of this accounts for my mood.

Caps fly hi to cheers and youthful whoops. The one that had been pinned to my hair by my mother is of course among them. I have the diploma in leather binder tucked beneath my arm, hugs and congratulations for the scholarship that was announced naming me as recipient are given. My father is taking pictures of me and my friends. My smile is huge, a mask of the true somber tones of this occasion.

One figure in a white dress covered in yellow daisies, symbolic of the purity of the girl wearing it, sits in the now vacated bleachers alone. A setting sun casts a glow around her, fitting her angelic beauty. I quickly try to imagine her in a year sitting there with friends cheering on the football team. Or in five standing on the field in a gown much like the one I am covered in. As I get closer I see she has a sketch book in her hands. I ask if I can see what she is drawing to which I simply get a gesture of no. The sketches are too preliminary to share, they are just for reference, the painting will be given to me on her only visit to see me during my freshman year.

Embracing Brooke my tears that fall down onto her back are matched by her own dampening my shoulder. This is not only a day of recognized accomplishment but a day marking childhood being left behind. She is happy for me in regards to that which I’ve completed but we know in a few short months the room we have always shared will only house one.

As my first summer home from college draws shorter, I’m reminded of graduating and again slightly feeling a familiar meloncholy. I asked Brooke today if she was excited for her freshman year of High School. Dreamy eyes looked at me as she signed, “not really, it means your going away again.”

-Brooke’s Sister

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These blog posts have not directly mentioned faith or our families belief system. When I wrote about young Brooke’s quest for forgiveness, purposefully I did not mention it was God she asked for it. There is no shame in our belief, nor do I deny the faith we have, it is more that this blog is not about debatable topics, or creating gaps between us and the world. The blog is simply to find and share Brooke’s voice.

In order to hold true to purpose, self and Brooke what I’m about to tell must be included. Be warned if you venture to read more of this post it is possible you may be offended, though I’m not asking you to believe or think anything. This is just an offer of how Brooke and now I see things. While Brookelyn and I are quite open minded and respect others beliefs this post is about Brooke’s. If you decide to read on I welcome any views and opinions.

The sound of the shower awakens anyone in the bed that is on the wall in Brooke and mines room that keeps our sleeping space separate from the bathroom. That is exactly why my bed is located where it is, an alarm clock that is minus the bells or chimes that tend to frustrate me. Opening my eyes, the first glimpse of sunlight is peering beneath the window coverings. Brooke’s bed is already empty, sheets neatly tucked, blanket smoothed and single pillow placed on top. Why she makes her bed the moment she steps out of it is as mysterious to me as the manner in which it’s done, pillow always uncovered. Brookelyn’s love for new days beginning is another source of pondering. This response to mornings much like a birds flight of migration, is just natural for the younger sister.

Before I have exited my bed Brooke is in the doorway brushing out hair that still drips, leaving spots on the floor. A white dress covers her delicate frame, showing areas of dampness that she felt no compulsion to completely dry. No matter how many times I talk to her about drying off, like getting up early, Brooke has her way. In this case it is to somewhat drip dry. This is a curious choice, almost at odds with her tidy neatness in most other matters.

In the backseat, with our bellies full of oatmeal, my voice tells Brooke about the cute boy that just joined my class in school. She listens watching the fields of our neighbors pass by as we make our way towards church. Brooke always seems to be at her happiest but a little dreamy on church mornings. It’s the only time she does not carry a tablet and pen. Rarely does she sign anything but mostly she simply smiles in her silence, owning it in a way that is almost honoring the quiet.

Exiting church, the day has warmed and promises afternoon adventures, maybe a horse back ride or something just as exciting. On the way home we stop off, Mom needs an item to complete Sunday dinner, the meal of the week we almost always share with guests. Brooke and I wonder the isles of the market, containing sweets. The new boy from class to my surprise stands at the end of the isle. Blue jeans and a t-shirt cover his athletic frame, the sort that promises he is adept at putting a ball in a hoop or running down a fly in the field. Unlike my nature I offer only a shy wave. My gesture is met with a greeting as he approaches us.

He acts surprised that I have a younger sister and blunders with words when I explain she isn’t being shy or rude but instead that Brooke is mute. I can tell that he is full of questions but then he awkwardly suggests a phrase like, “that’s cool”. Leading to an even greater awkward silence, after all it isn’t really cool. Brokkelyn, use to these encounters changes the subject with a smile and by signing to me that it is in fact cool. I vocally translate the signed words and as kids do in certain moments we genuinely laugh with no need for humor. Our new friend steps back, he is surprised that her laugh is silent as well. In his defense at times even I am startled by this. Quickly I explain she is inaudible, unable to make vocal sounds, adding that it’s not a hearing, mental or social issue.

As comfort enters the encounter he inquires why we are in dresses, the type one may wear to a wedding. My explanation of church leads to a response that I had never imagined.

“Oh, you are those kind of people,” the young man says rolling his eyes.

“What does that mean? Calling us ‘those kind of people’,” I respond with slight contempt in my voice. I’m irritated and in that period of life when I’d fight just as quickly as explain myself.

“Just you believe in the whole God thing, it’s dumb,” he replies.

I’m about to tell him he is dumb and to punch him in the eye when out of nowhere Brooke hugs him and takes my hand leading me towards the exit of the store. She waives over her shoulder with a smile as we exit. Shock has kept me as silent as my sister as we climb in the backseat and wait with Dad for Mom to return.

In the comfort of our home, shock faded and irritation at a max, I tell our parents of the event and rant about the stupid boy, that I’d once crushed on. Mom offers the advice mothers often do, Dad praises Brooke but admits he can’t understand the hug. Brookelyn sits at the small table writing on her yellow tablet. When completed she passes her words to my father who reads them allowed, putting answers to questions that my young mind had yet to even ask.

“I hugged him because I felt sad for him. Not believing in something doesn’t not make it real. Not knowing God would make me sad, so I was worried he was sad and hugs help when you are sad. I didn’t want Sissy to argue with him cause God doesn’t like arguing. Also if you know something to be true you don’t need others to agree with you. You only need others to agree if you aren’t sure and I didn’t want Sissy to not be sure. God loves him and I thought Sissy was going to hit him. I don’t really care about him but God doesn’t like mean things and I didn’t want Sissy to need forgiveness.”

Brooke’s words read, we shared a family moment in her silence before my Dad said, “Well I suppose that sums it all up. If Mom can spare some time from the kitchen I can saddle the horses and we can all enjoy the beautiful day.”

Watching Brooke climb onto the English saddle she insists upon using, it was clear to me that my sisters faith is as unwavering as all her other quirks, like not completely drying off after showers, formal riding saddles for casual rides, beds made crisply with pillows uncovered, interesting somewhat inappropriate headware, and silent Sunday mornings.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Brooke once asked me if it was “disheartening to need to ask forgiveness for the same thing over and over again”. Reading her words I was initially confused, I didn’t see my sister as needing forgiveness for anything. Brooke turned back to the work she was completing with oil pastels.

“What do you need forgiveness for?” I asked still completely clueless to her wrong doings.

Nose scrunched Brookelyn shakes her head, picking up yellow tablet and pen. As she writes, her eyes continually look up at me, either checking to make sure I’m waiting for her words, or more as if she wants to ensure I was serious about the question.

Looking down on ink with smudges from the pastels that passed from Brooke’s fingers to paper. For the first time it occurs to me, that being a perfectionist is not easy. All her talents that I’ve felt made her almost perfect, have been bought with hours of practice and more than a little angst. Truth be told, Brookelyn sees the world and life differently than I do. Those actions, thoughts and moments we all write off as being human, my baby sister holds to her heart. On a yellow sheet of paper, similar to the ones I’ve read her words on so many times before, I read, gaining insight to Brooke’s view of perfection.

“Forgiveness for things like, being sad about not having the ability to sing. About not thanking God for everything, even my silence. Also, for not giving more. I am not always sad about not being able to sing and I’m not always ungrateful. But when I am I have to ask forgiveness and it seems like too often.”

One thing for certain, Brooke is grateful for her gifts. She just holds herself to a higher standard than anyone else I know. What I learned was that it isn’t as easy as it appears, chasing perfection that is. She is a sweetie!

20130615-135146.jpgSpeaking of sweet! The wonderful author of Mummy Flying Solo awarded this blog “Super Sweet Blogging Award”.

The Award like many in the world of blogging comes with some rules. I’ll do my best to follow them, though Brooke is much better at the whole rules thing than myself. But here they are and my attempt to comply:

1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you. That’s Mummy Flying Solo

2. Answer 5 Super Sweet questions. That’s below…

3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post. It’s the cupcake pic

4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other deserving bloggers. This was difficult with so many great bloggers but I listed them below…

5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog. did this of course…

5 SUPER SWEET QUESTIONS

1. Cookies or Cake? Both? Cake for me, COOKIES for Brooke!

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate without a doubt for both Brooke and me.

3. Favorite Sweet Treat? Choclate for me and Key Lime Pie for Brooke.

4. When Do You Crave Sweet Things The Most? After exercising! Brookie always loves and wants them.

5. Sweet Nick Name? we all often call Brookelyn, ‘Brookie Cookie’..

13 NOMINEES FOR THIS SUPER SWEET AWARD
In no particular order…

1. Megan at her wonderful blog of creativity! Creative Magic Her writing is brilliant on every subject she chooses.

2. Tony Williams is “Honest Puck” the author of, Tony’s Text. I have to say “Puck”, who’s name he adopted is one of my favorite characters of all time.

3. Jnana Hodson is the man from New England behind the wonderful Jnana’s Red Barn

4. Coach E. not to be confused with coachie pens words about his girls and life on his blog Coach Daddy Blog. As a daughter of a coach, I get it and love it. His girls seem precious by the way.

5. Dennis McHale shares his amazing poetry on his blog The Winter Bites My Bones. His poetry is absolutely amazing in every way.

6. Along with tips on parenting some laughs can be had at Taking My Monkeys Back To The Zoo.

7. Check out The Chatter Blog, for touching, witty posts on a ton of subjects. It’s part of my daily reading.

8. Doodlemum sketches her family and the events of their day. If you don’t follow this, you are missing out on one of WordPress’s treasures.

9. The Lovely T, writes about her life on Mess Of The Day Wreck Of The Year. Honest and open, strong writing can be found here.

10. Arlee, is raising six children and running a day care! How she finds times to write the amazingly insightful posts on Small Potatoes , I have no clue. I’m glad she does though.

11. Tyler McKenzie on his blog Cross Shaped Stuff shares his faith and tales about his love and so much more. It’s upbeat, and even if you don’t share his faith worth reading.

12. Growing up in a rural area and then moving to New York city would be culture shock to say the least. On her blog Girl of The Corn, the reader gets to go along for the ride. This blog inspires me to be a better me.

13. Beth teaches little ones and anyone willing to read her blog, I Didn’t Have My Glasses On. She writes about all sorts of adventures with kiddos at school. The rest of the blog is made up of other things she loves and cares about. It’s a great blog around written by a wonderful person.

Thanks again to Mummy Flying Solo
That’s my thirteen! I understand Brooke a little better now, selecting thirteen of the hundreds of blogs I follow and read leaves me feeling like I let people down.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Individual blades of grass sway in the breeze, turning the pasture behind our home into a sea. Brookelyn leads us away from the house, her pink kite trailing behind her. Since I can remember she has had an attraction to flight, or to things with a line. Of course, I too enjoy the brightly colored flying machines that Dad helped us build and Mom assisted us in decorating but Brooke loves them. She thinks they are magical, whereas I tend to take them for granted.

At the time I had no idea how special the home of my youth was. The small two story house much the same as all of our neighbors, with two bedrooms, a kitchen with attached dining space, a family room and not much more in structure. Where the rarity lies is in the hearts of the people who raised us girls in a way that time has left long ago. The more people I in counter in life, the clearer it is that things were unusual to say the least. From the origami toys we made, marbles we pitched, balls bounced in effort to capture jacks, strings pulled to send tops that were hand carved by father spinning across hard wood floors, and of course the homemade kites, our childhood toys were from generations passed.

Our parents could have purchased the newest toys, video games and items we played with when visiting friends if they had wished. Maybe it was influence from our Amish neighbors, or perhaps they wanted us to know an innocence many of our generation has not been granted. Regardless why, there we were making our way through grass kites floating behind us, waiting to be hoisted high into the sky by moving currents of air.

Brooke is the first to get her kite to take full flight and carry up into the heights of sky. Watching the bright pink creation rustle in the breeze, she keeps the line taunt to ensure flight. I watch a while, mostly my sisters smile and eyes before I begin lofting my own. Of course we encounter failures, tangled strings and at times even sorrows as our hours of hard work crash and crumble in the high grass, not on this day however.

We fly our kites without incident until interest fades, leaving us side by side on our backs staring up at moving clouds. Brooke listens as I tell the story the clouds paint, today it’s the typical princess in palace tale. As the story concludes with nights brave rescue, turning to younger sister I ask if she wished we had a video game consoul like our cousins do. Brooke turns to me, nose wrinkled and shakes her head no. Now smiling she signs, “I like building and flying kites and stories of princesses living in the clouds more.”

Now, after a year in a dorm room. Experiences that I never imagined, like traveling with teammates across the country, I understand what our parents gave us in our unusual, by today’s standards, home. In a way it was each other, time dreaming, imagining and playing together. Finishing this post I ask Brooke if she has a kite, and if we are too old to still fly them. Words are quickly scribbled on yellow pad, that is tossed my direction as she bounces up stairs.

“Yes., I made one not that long ago and that’s silly, you can’t get too old to fly kites! We are the perfect age!”

-Brooke’s Sister

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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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Melodies resonate in the living room of our comfortable home. Tones, that are strung together in harmony with love. Brooke’s fingers find the notes of a piece older than the farm house that my father with his loving hands has restored, giving us girls a place to grow, eat, sleep and feel our parents love. Like that love Brookelyn wrinkles her brow as small fingers fly across frets and the eight taunt strings of what was once grandfathers mandolin. In fascination I hear the familiarity of Robert Johnson’s work. Sure I too have learned to play the instrument, bluegrass and traditional songs. What has me memorized is my little sister taking the blues piece we both love and playing it first on her guitar, then on grandpa’s mandolin.

Keeping thoughts to myself, just being in the moment absorbing the sound, my eyes close. To astonishment my eyes snap open as Brooke suddenly swings the song into a jazz number I think I recognize but can’t name. Noticing my reaction, she smiles for less than a second before her eyes return to the instrument in her hands. Mom is now standing in the entryway smiling at her youngest who plays on. In her hands is a plate, the kind loving mothers present to those they most care about. On it’s surface is a nutritious mixture of sliced apples, with the less healthy but rewarding drizzle of honey across them. The plate being placed on small table beside the sofa I’m seated on brings the music to a halt.

Apples being one of Brooke’s favorite treats, I wait until she selects the first one. As the refreshing crisp fruit cools my mouth, Brookelyn’s hand gently grazes my cheek, while mom returns to the kitchen. Though unsuspected, the touch does not startle me, it’s simply normal. With the gentle touch Brooke has told me she loves me, thanked me for letting her chose the perfect bite of snack before selecting my own. A cool breeze can be felt through the window with it bringing in natures fresh scents, as we crunch the apple sliced in equals so it can be shared. Finishing my bite, I ask Brooke what the jazz song that she infused with Johnson’s piece is. Scrunching her nose she grabs a tablet from the floor and writes her response. Looking at the words, “nothing, I just made it up” I’m not really surprised but am impressed.

After a discussion of when she began writing melodies so advanced, I realize while away at college, it hasn’t been me that’s growing and finding education. Brooke explains that with me away, the music helps to ease those moments that she feels alone. There really is nothing I can do about this, college is important, plus I need the experience, friends and freedom. Yet, I feel the pangs of guilt for her being alone. By thinking of her almost nonstop, wondering what her thoughts would be, missing her laying on the floor drawing for hours on end, seeing the glow of light from the corner desk where she ties flies, have I once thought what it is like for her? Truthfully, I haven’t, me missing the soft notes on a guitar and all the rest was about me. For the first time, today home for the summer, I am aware that Brooke still needs me.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Slamming the door that keeps, the bedroom Brooke and I share, private from the rest of the world and mostly our parents, I shout at the people who love me the most. The words yelled are hateful, mean, the type intended to push others away. Of course my outburst is mostly a cover for the hurt I feel at the moment. That emotion I seldom let others see, and generally cover with a secondary one like anger or rage.

Through the white paint, wood and space my fathers voice comes. Telling me that he understands I am upset but expressing a need to discuss the issue of the hour in which I returned home. As his manner in all things with us girls, he is gentle and kind. Finally in tone that makes my now crying self move closer to the door that separates us, Dad suggests that I get some sleep and we converse over my disregard for curfew in the morning. Fathers hand gently pats the wood of the door jam, not unlike the way I’m certain he did Brooke’s head hours ago when she went off alone to bed. This is the moment I am completely aware, that of course Brookelyn is awake and sitting up, rubbing sleepy eyes, in the bed against the farthest wall. Turning towards her she smiles, ensuring me that a fight with dad has no impact on our relationship.

In the moments that follow I hit what for me is my all time worst behaviors as a human. Something about her sweet gentle smile, sleepy eyes and the knowledge that she does not rebel or create problems for mom and dad, infuriates me. My mind is racing, full of embarrassment for the ridiculous explosion, frustration over having the earliest curfew of all my friends, resentment that I disappoint Dad when Brooke doesn’t, and finally it’s too much, the anger wins out. I’ve often relived this incident but as I write it, fear fills my heart. I was ugly, imagine the spawn of Satan in all the movies containing such character, combine them into one ugly critter. With a heart of stone and rage, I attempt to share my misery. Yet, some are incapable of things like speech, hate, anger and ever being ugly.

“Brooke, don’t just stare at me!” I shout, as she complies laying down and turning toward the wall. She is doing the only thing that comes to mind, the natural response of following what she is told to do.

For reasons I can’t explain, my evil is not out, something inside me still begs to be released. Still in a shout I continue on. “What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t just always do what people tell you! It’s dumb and makes you a wimp and nobody likes a wimp! That’s why you don’t have hardly any friends because you are lame!” I’m shaking because I’m yelling so loud, I haven’t noticed that Dad has violated our rule of entering our room without knocking. The rare experience of shouting and worst yet the f word in our home, possibly the last time it’s used, warrants concern.

He is standing in the doorway observing only, just making sure I don’t do anything too bad. But I have already gone too far, I’ve already said things I’ll regret, hurt the most beautiful person I’ll ever know. Seeing our father does not calm me but makes it worse, I am certain he is about to get on to me and rescue the daughter he loves the most. Of course I am wrong, he doesn’t have a favorite, he won’t rescue her, no he is just insuring we don’t physically fight, though I am certain Brooke would not fight.

All my built up guilt, pain and “troubles”, explode in a final outburst of extreme rage. “That’s right just lay there, don’t say anything at all. Oh, that’s right, I forget we all should feel sorry for you cause you can’t say anything at all!”

As if knowing what will come next, like a palm reader, Dad sighs, turning to exit closing our bedroom door behind him. With the click of the brass sound of door shutting my tears began falling as I’m filled with guilt and shame. Laying silently, the tremble of crying is evident in my sisters shoulders. They shake as her hands go up to cover her eyes, while I turn off the light and crawl into my bed feeling miserable but deserving of the emotion. Hours pass as I’m consumed by the silence of Brooke crying, out of shame I can’t cry myself, instead I wish myself dead, or for strength to tell her the truth. Just a little courage to stand and say, “Brooke, you are perfect, don’t change or worry about friends or anything.”

The silence of misery is broken by a rustling of blankets, followed by bare feet quietly crossing the floor and then Brooke is beside me in my bed. Her cheek is wet from tears, but feels good against mine. Arms wrapped tightly around me, I finally begin to cry once more. Together holding each other we cry until sleep finally takes us. Of course she didn’t but I like to imagine that she said, “It is okay, I forgive you and love you even when you forget to love yourself.”

As always actions speak louder than words. The morning light does not wake me. Instead it is a gentle kiss from Brooke on my cheek as she gets out of my bed. I apologize, to which I receive a smile and wink, putting the event to rest forever. Well not for me, I still consider it my rock bottom, the event that marks my last real act of high school, teenage rebellion.

-Brooke’s Sister