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I'll never let you go
Tears rolled down my heavily made up face, leaving evidence that I have in fact shed a few silent tears. The feeling was strange to me, making me feel vulnerable that people saw my weakness. My sister.
My darling sister was held in a tight embrace around the only protection that I could give her at this moment and for now it was enough. Being with her was painful as I watched her go through this maddening state getting worse and worse each day, watching as each strand of her summer chestnut locks unraveled from her plastered white scalp and fell to the ground, lifeless. But it proved that letting her deal with this monster that corrupted her body and mind alone was unbearable. I was the only family that she had left and I wasn’t going to abandon her like the sorry excuse of a parent we had.
I remembered one afternoon that had been viciously engraved in my mind, unwanted scars of the memory had shattered along my thoughts every now and then when my guard was down. Abby and I had come home from school one day and she was bursting with joy and excitement because she had terrific news to tell us. She was so excited so instead she told me, not wanting to sit at the edge of the tacky couch that we could only afford and anxiously fidget until the company of our parents walked through the door.
She held my hand and led me to her room. At only five, Abby had the maturity of an adult and had numerously astounded people with her intelligence. I sat heavily down on her cushioned bed and waited while she sprinted to her pre-school bag and pulled out an object. She handed it carefully to my waiting hands and her smile broadened and shone proudly. I laughed and looked down at the written description on the golden trophy that sat glowing in my hands.
A trophy awarded to the most outstanding pupil in Day Dreamer Pre-School according to level of intelligence and creativity
I squealed in happiness and tackled my baby sister and we tumbled to the floor in laughter. I looked into the eyes of my sweet, innocent sister and kissed the tip of her nose. ‘I’m so proud of you, Ab.’ I smiled.
‘Do you think Mommy and Daddy would be proud too?’ she wondered aloud.
I tickled her and she erupted in a cascade of gentle laughter. ‘Of course they will.’
We lay there on the earthly warmth of the wooden floor as the light streamed past her faery coated curtains and painted soft colours of pink, blue and purple over our bodies and our happy expressions. We watched clouds as they lazily rolled over the blue horizon that was captured in the small space between the frames of Abby’s window and pictured the stories that the clouds silently told, creating every picture in an illusion of comfort and gently lulling us to sleep with its satin movements.
‘What are you two doing lying on the floor?’ My mom demanded. We both scrambled to our feet and welcomed our mother, who didn’t seem like she wanted to be embraced by two strangers.
‘Mommy!’ Abby bounced up and down and dragged our mother to her plastic desk. ‘I have something to show you.’
‘What is it now?’ she asked irritated. ‘Mommy just got back from work and she would love to have at least peace for once in this house.’ She said each word louder as if wanting someone in the other part of the house to hear her.
Soon enough our dad walked passed Abby’s door, not stopping to say hi and slammed his door, the echoing of his rage filled the house and slowly became a distant sound that filled the walls.
Mom turned red and fiercely pried Abby’s hand off of hers and stomped to where Dad had slammed the door. ‘Why are you being such a coward?’ She exclaimed and kicked the door.
Next to me, Abby pouted, took her trophy and walked into the hallway to her mother who was shouting foul words at the man who shut himself to the world and his family. I edged to the doorway and peered into the hallway where I had a clear view of Abby and my mother.
‘Mommy.’ She said softly, I could only see her lips move.
She reached up and pulled at my mother’s sleeve. ‘Mommy.’
My mother continued to slam the door and kick, as with each blow she ignored my little sister flat.
Abby’s tug became more insistent and desperate. If anything, Abby was afraid of people ignoring her, pretending like she didn’t exist. Especially her parents.
‘Mommy.’ She wailed and was abruptly struck by her mother. Across her face bore a line of pinkish red, where her mother had struck her. The trophy broke against the hollow boards of floor that lay beneath mother and child.
‘Shut up you stupid child.’ Our mother exclaimed.
I was horrified as I watched Abby burst into tears while our mother selfishly shouted at the door.
I hurried to pick Abby up, gave my mom the most disgusted look I could muster and closed the door behind us and the doors of our hearts.
That night we cried ourselves to sleep, the grief that lingered in the air was heavy and eternal. That night I vowed myself I would never cry and show my weakness again. I would be the strong sister and mother that my sister needs.
Now at ten, Abby lay on her bed with no hair and cold blue veins that were seen through her thin weak skin. Her lips were covered in blisters but she hid away the pain. Now at ten and clinging by her final thread of life, Abby was diagnosed with cancer.
The doctors warned me that this would happen soon enough. She’s too small and innocent to be overwhelmed with pain that settled on her fragile body. She talked less each day and slept more, she was not the healthy Abby I raised her to be. I would do anything to save her, this poor little sister of mine already near death at ten.
I smelt her shampoo on her scalp even though she had no more hair to lather it with. The smell of mango and mint filled my mind, reminding me of our favourite place we spent each day that surfaced the happiness and love in our souls. It was like walking into a church, a cloud of peace and holy tranquility settles on you, too breathless and awestruck to even speak of the presence of something powerful. I heard the whisper of her rasped breath close to my ear but I had a feeling she wasn’t talking to me.
‘Who are you talking to?’ I asked gently.
‘The angel.’ She said and I could feel the smile that weakly lay on her lips. I pulled away until I could see hr face.
‘What angel?’ I asked, looking behind me. Nothing but a blank wall.
‘The angel that is going to take all the pain away.’ She sniffed. A few tears pooled from her turquoise eyes.
‘Oh Abby.’ I cried and hugged her, where she lay on the crispy mattress of the hospital bed.
‘Tiffany?’ she said.
I could hear her ragged breathing, the faint beating of her minute heart that tried its best to transport the contaminated blood to her entire body.
The low pulse rate became uneven and distant. Thump…thump, thump.
‘Yeah?’ I whispered.
‘I don’t want to go. I don’t want to leave you alone.’ She wept and I felt the weak shaking of her body as she cried.
‘I’ll never let you go.’ I whispered through clenched teeth.
Uneven. Weak. Suffering. Thump…Silence.
The monitors went off and I held a lifeless body that went limp in my arms.
I collapsed to the floor, with my sister cradled against my chest and my back heaving with despair and loss. Tasting salty tears that never seemed to end.
I could’ve sworn the golden glow of the sun created a shimmering silhouette of a man with my sister next to him, smiling down on me. And then they disappeared after the bright glow of her smile and the man’s cloudy wings.
‘I’ll never let you go’ I whispered.