Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
ArrivalThe doorbell rings, and I race to the door. My parents just left for the Cheyenne International Airport, which is the nearest airport to our house. I hope they come back soon, and bring my new sister with them. I open the door, holding my breath. Could Mom and Dad be back already?
Yes, it is Mom, standing behind our heavy green front door, but she is alone.
“We forgot the car keys,” she says, a little sheepishly. I sigh and give Mom a Look. She is always after me for forgetting my keys. I don’t even need keys! I’m always off to a friend’s house after school, and we have a spare key under the mat in case I decide to come home. I toss Mom the car keys.
“Thanks, sweetie.” Mom catches the car keys and leaves. I shove the door shut behind her and flop down on the couch.
Last week, after dinner, was when Mom and Dad decided to tell me that they were adopting another kid.
“Boy or girl?” I asked, surprised that my parents hadn’t told me yet. That is always the first thing you say when something like this happens.
“It is a girl, and she is from Spain. Don’t worry, she has been learning English for years. She’ll still be able to understand you,” Mom said.
That was not exactly what I wanted to know, but I didn’t want to interrupt. For I moment I thought Mom and Dad were moving on to a different topic, but then finally Dad saw that I was itching to know more.
“She is eleven, your age,” Dad explained. “We will be picking her up from the airport next week.” I still wanted to know more, but then Mom butted in.
“Emily, you should be in bed now. After all, it is a school night.” That’s all the information I got on that topic.
The deep toned doorbell, echoing through the house, snaps me away from my memory. Could it be my new sister? Flinging the door open, I stare out into the yard. The mailman hands me a bundle of letters. I mutter “thank you,” and let the door swing shut.
I am so excited. A sister? I have always wanted a sister! We would go to the same school, and we would play all the games you can’t play as an only child. We could help each other with homework, and make popcorn together, and do all the things I love! The possibilities would be endless! It would be just like having a best friend, but we would live in the same house. If only Mom and Dad would just get back.
Where are they? I decide to wait in the yard, so I will not be disappointed anymore by false alarms like the the mailman. As I lay down on the grass, I hear our car entering the garage. Wha-?
It must be my new sister! I run up to our turquoise-colored car that Mom chose when she bought it nine years ago because she says it stands out in a crowd. I agree, but I don’t think it stands out in a good way, especially with all the mud spattered on the sides and the dent in the front passenger door. What impression does our car give my new sister? Where is my new sister?
As if my question caused it to happen, the back seat door of the car opens and out comes a girl with really short dusty blonde hair and freckles. She is taller then me, but I’m pretty short. She is wearing an orange tie-die t-shirt and faded jeans.
“Hi,” I say, waving eagerly.
The girl doesn’t move. I realize I must look like an idiot, with all this waving. I let my arm fall back to my side. The two of us stand there silently for a moment, staring at each other.
My mom approaches from the other side of the car, breaking the silence between my new sister and I. I breath a sigh of relief. Thank goodness that’s over. Is it the custom in Spain to stare people down before you meet them?
“Emily, meet your new sister. This is Maria. Maria, meet Emily.” Mom says, a little too enthusiastically. Maria nods slightly when Mom mentions my name. I smile at her. She doesn’t smile back, just looks down. My first impression of Maria is not turning out to be that great.
Maria is just a little uncomfortable, that’s all. I only need to start a conversation, a kind word, to get her started. Then we’ll be chatting along like old friends. Maria will be just like all my daydreams. She’ll live up to it. Just start with some conversation. Maria will turn out fine. By now I have myself convinced, so I give it a try.
“Hey! Come inside with me. I’ll show you your room.” I say. Mom and Dad have already gone inside, so Maria follows me wordlessly into the house. I keep talking to fill the silence. “Your room’s right across from mine. I can’t wait to get to know you better! Tomorrow I’ll take you out for ice cream, and you can meet all my friends.” We reached the room I had helped prepare for Maria. It used to be the guest room, but Mom said that Maria should get her own room. If any guests come, Maria will have to temporarily sleep in my room. I guess that’s okay with me, but I don’t know how Maria will react, because she hasn’t really communicated with me yet.
“Here’s your room, and over there is mine,” I continue explaining. “We’ll go shopping this weekend, so you can get some stuff and decorate your room.” If it were me, I would have said something like “Great! I can’t wait! Where will we shop? In Spain, my favorite place was. . .” Then I’d go on to say what sort of stuff it sold, and ask if they had something like that here. I’d mention what would make this room perfect for me, and ask where we could buy that. However, Maria’s only reaction to my comment is a nod. The silence in the room is like a blanket. It’s smothering me. I leave to find Mom and Dad.
“Maria doesn’t like me!” I exclaim, when I enter Mom and Dad’s room.
“Don’t worry, Emily,” Mom said. “Maria likes you. She’s just shy.” Mom sounds like a typical parent. I bet that line came straight out of the How To Parenting book on our bookshelf.
“Remember,” Dad put in, “Maria now has to adjust to a new country and family.”
“She’ll get used to you,” Mom adds. “Be patient.”
I leave. I’m not so sure.