Kristin

January 22, 2012
“Did you bring string for the bracelets?”
My cousin Kristin followed me to the pale blue floral couch, which had seen countless family Christmas Eves, birthdays, and Thanksgivings, where the bag of thread waited for us. We picked out colors and I prepared her strings to make a “Chinese Staircase,” which my older sisters had taught me years ago. “Now, you take these two and put them off to the side.” I gave her the blue and green threads to place on her lap. “Next make a shape like a four with the purple thread.” We then pulled the string through the hole to tie it. “Do you get it?”

“I think so.”

Once she was settled, I began making a bracelet for her with the same colors. The two of us sat in a tranquil silence; the only sounds were our fingers pulling thread and Ga-ga, our grandma, heating coffee in the kitchen. I peeked over my shoulder to check on her. She had made the “four” several times and was knotting away; she picked it up quickly and seemed to be enjoying herself. Kristin had wanted to make bracelets ever since last fall when we began to plan our annual summer reunion. Now we were finally making them together. I smiled and relaxed into the couch. Summer had been so hectic: dressing up in newspaper costumes with my campers in the morning, rushing to Student Council meetings after work, and tutoring a student for his Spanish exam in the afternoon, while grabbing a bite of lunch along the way. Spending time with Kristin was a much anticipated retreat.
Kristin lives in Florida with my aunt and uncle so we only see each other twice a year: once on Christmas Eve and once during the summer when she visits New York with my aunt. Our days together are precious, so we find ourselves making plans to go swimming and to the movies months in advance. Time passes quickly with Kristin; her sensitive and caring demeanor fills everybody with love. Even though she’s seven years older than I am, we’ve kept close through snail mail since I was in the fourth grade. I love hearing about how she performs sign language to Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” with her theater group. Every time she tells me about work and her students, I smile knowing how hard she works. After each e-mail I send her I sign off as “your cousin, best friend, like a bro,” (Kristin says “like a sis”). We could easily pass as siblings. Even though I’ve grown up with two older sisters, Kristin is like the sixth member of my family and I feel like the brother she never had.

“I’m done,” Kristin said. She gave me her bracelet and I tied it for her. “It’s a friendship bracelet for you.”

I tied mine as well and put it on her wrist. Once hers was set, I looked at what she had given me. She did a great job. It never matters that she has Down syndrome.





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BorisandNatasha said...
Feb. 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm
Great writing, wonderful story! Thank you!
 
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