Picking up the Pieces This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   My heartwas breaking. She lifted my head with great love. "Don't be so sadbe-cause of something so small," my sister said. She said everyword cheerfully, though I could tell from the quiver of her bottom lipshe was hiding sadness. "I'm only going to college," shegrinned, adding, "I'll visit you, I won't forget!" I smiledhalf-heartedly, but the wound of loss grew deeper. Secretly, I knewthings would never be the same. I looked at her beautiful brown eyes andturned away, sensing another wave of sadness would soon overtakeme.

Gradually, I looked at her eyes again. I could see theimagination be-yond, a world of wonder and mystery waiting to beunleashed. She wiped the tears from my eyes and hugged me.

Thetime I have been dreading has finally come. I must learn to live withoutmy sister.

Every once in a while, someone asks who my hero is.I've never had a true answer; usually I just say the first person whocomes to mind. Recently, I discovered who my hero really is. I havetalked to, confided in and laughed with this wonderful girl every day.There is no other person in the world who could take her place. I havealways known we are close, but never realized how close we really were.Without knowing it, I've had a hero every day of my life.

* on the silhouette on the wall. "Did you know you are my bestfriend?"

"Uh-huh," she replied

Whitney ismy guardian. She keeps an eye on me and makes sure I'm safe. She's alsovery intelligent and will drop everything to help me with something Idon't understand.

I sat cradled in her arms like a child. Shelifted her chin and looked out her door into the darkness.

I wishI could do the same for her. I wish I could help her just once so shecould see how nice it is to have such a friend. She asked me to help herstudy Spanish once, and I pronounced all the words wrong. She laughedand said it was alright but I felt like it wasn't. I wish I could payher back for all the things she's done for me.

"Things willchange, but that's just life," she said. My sister is wise in manyways, but sometimes I think I would prefer not to hear what she has tosay because she speaks the truth, and it scares me.

* * me and does service hours at a workshop for mentally handicapped people.She also works at a day-care center. I admire the way she gets alongwith the kids; her calm way of handling things is amazing. She rarelygets angry, but when she does, she always has a way to set thingsremembering all our fun times together.

"Whit?" Iasked.

"Yeah?"

"Remember when we tried tocook a turkey?" I started to laugh and soon could hear herlaughing.

I guess I took all the special times we've had forgranted. Almost every day I go to her with small problems and she alwaysstops to hear me.

One day, just after she had gone to England,I walked into her room. I realized how much I missed her and sat on thefloor. Everything was empty without her. The CDs were left neatly by herstereo, and her bed was made. At that moment, when nothing seemed alive,I needed my sister. This was only a fraction of what I'll feel when shegoes to college. Just knowing she won't be in the house makes my heartbreak.

I don't think anyone will ever under stand what she isto me. My sister will begin a new life, and so will I, but I will alwayskeep my hero tucked away inside.

* * "Allie?"

"Yup?" I replied.

"Ilove you."


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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