“Want to go to the beach?” she asked.
Gripping the phone, I couldn’t believe that she was asking me. I had a few friends in the neighborhood, mostly boys who I climbed trees with and batted a ball around the neighborhood. Much of my time was spent bent in the field across the street picking wild strawberries or huckleberries or trying all day to lift a kite high into the sky. I walked to and from school each day to be alone. The bus ride was too loud and took longer than walking. I watched the world function-meeting the same cars in the same place each day. There was a predictable routine. A comfort. And my time alone was treasured.
I hung up.
“When’s she coming to get you?” my babysitter sister asked.
“Don’t know.” I answered.
“What do you mean?” she bantered.
Looking down at the floor I whispered, “I don’t know.”
“Well, you just have to be ready. Here let me help you. Find your bathing suit.”
Pulling opened my top drawer I searched among my socks and underwear. School had barely locked the doors behind us. It took tossing clothes around two drawers and making a mess to find my bathing suit.
“Got a towel,” I heard my sister yell.
After hunting for my one pair of flip flops, I came to see my sister hand sewing something as she sat at the kitchen table.
“Maybe we should call Brenda’s mother,” she suggested while pulling the needle through the cloth.
The phone rang and rang. No one answered. “‘Must be on their way.” I stood and looked out the window anticipating their arrival. For the longest time. I waited. I was so excited.
After an hour or more my sister dragged the yellow wooden stool out to the garage where I could see Brenda and her mom as they drove in the driveway.
“You have to be ready,” she reminded.
On the stool wearing my bathing suit, cover-up and flip flops I sat swinging my legs thinking that this new vantage point would magically make my friend appear. I hung on tight to the beach bag in my lap that my sister had just made me for the special occasion. I sat some more. Every ten minutes or so I heard the door creak open. "You OK?" It broke the silence and the growing pain.As time passed, my sister suggested that maybe they aren’t coming. “Maybe they don’t know where we live, huh? Come in the house.”
Shifting in my seat, I swallowed hard and said, “No they’ll be here.”
That day I learned that not everyone says what they mean. As painful as the day was for me, my sister pulled me through. This is a story about love and devotion and my sister.