Ice Shards

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People tell me I have arctic eyes, that they’re so blue that even one flicker of emotion could turn them as white as the ice we skate on in the winter. Well, let me tell you my eyes were as cold and as blinding white as ever that day. You see, we live in Alaska and the news called for a small snow storm, and to us that’s like a sunny day on the beach. So my mother didn’t have a problem with letting my little brother practice hockey on the shallow, almost always frozen over, pond in our back yard. Time elapsed quickly and after about an hour or so I was strapping on my boots and heading out after him. Three and a half steps out the door I collapsed in horror and despair, my “arctic eyes” turning to pure ice. Looking out on the pond my stomach felt like it was being stabbed with thousands of ice shards; what I saw I couldn’t believe. “He had always been so careful,” “mother always warned,” thoughts of disbelief whipped thought my head at warp speed as I struggled to get a grip on what was in front of me. A child’s hand attached to an arm poked out of the newly crushed ice, I didn’t need to advance any closer to know it was my brother’s; for the black and navy woven band I had made him was snuggly fit around his wrist. An agonizing cry ripped through my teeth as I ran over to the pond, a mixture of snow and dirt tumbled into the bone chilling water. With my knees placed on the pond’s edge I caught the sight of a rather large branch that surly had to be the source of the breaking ice. Newly produced tears slid down my face and turned to ice, but not because of the weather because my heart was frozen with the fact that underestimating the powers of Mother Nature resulted in losing someone I love.
Sweat formed at the top of my forehead as I awoke gasping from the terrible dream that never seems to escape my mind. Three years of my mind torturing me with the loss of my 10-year-old brother was unbearable. Sighing and wiping tears I got up and moved toward my closet, digging through the contents until finally emerging with sheepskin boots, a baby blue sweater and jeans. My closet finds on I slumped on the edge of the bed, I couldn’t help thinking about Dylan. His round face and shaggy blond hair a blurry image in my mind; like my mother I’m beginning to forget him. Without thinking I raced out to the pond in our backyard; his favorite place. Perching on the icy bolder by the pond a ray of memories flashed before my eyes; Dylan and I skating when he was eight, me teaching him how at the age of five. Returning to the present, I shivered as the cool wind tousled my blond hair, the whistle of it seemed to whisper my name,
“Jordan,” my head snapped toward the pond at the sound. I noticed something thin and round placed in the center of the pond. My eyes squinting as I struggled to see the object; I needed a closer look. So after pulling on the spare figure skates we keep in the storage trunk next to the bolder I carefully slid to the center. My hands flew over my mouth covering the released gasp as I my eyes trained on the woven band Dylan never left the house without. I picked it up and my eyes froze on the area of frozen pond just above the nesting place on the band. Carved in Dylan’s jagged handwriting was a message that read:
Jordan, you’ve been an amazing sister, and for three years I’ve watched you mourn my death. It’s time to let go now, I know you won’t forget me, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy.
My heart never felt so whole, and for the first time in three years I was what my brother wanted me to be: Happy.





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