The winter vacation was a great relief for me; a momentary break from the tiresome routine. The arrival of phone calls from numerous school friends - their boast of wandering various "marvels" of nature impaled my heart. But fate opened when my best friend Jason offered me for a week's trip to the beach. I became very excited, but then didn't accept the offer, for, there was someone I loved so much; someone I couldn't leave - my younger sister, Hope. No, not Jason, Hope was indeed my best friend. She would be very disappointed hearing of my witnesses of the sea and the sunset. But I  sidestepped the pang as my mother's faint voice reached my ears - she was calling me:
'Alan, play with your sister while I prepare lunch.'
I agreed, for, I knew it was a "special" day for Hope, so mother was probably cooking a "special" dish for her. She never had a happy birthday before, so perhaps this was for the first time - a day she wouldn't be in low spirits. We walked into the backyard garden and romped exuberantly...
I clutched at my little sister's  left arm, the vibrant hues of the upcoming spring stole my sight - the faint sunlight of the departing winter gleamed from the lush greenery spotted with multicolored blossoms; back dropped by the lucid blue sky.
Impetuously, I plucked a gardenia flower within my reach, my eyes immersed on its delicate petals as I pictured it sticking between Hope's golden locks and ear. I craved to see how she looked that way while I tucked it behind her right ear and squatted down in front of her. The refreshing zephyr brushed past my temples. It ruffled her hair too, and she giggled - the whole universe’s beauty glowed from her pure countenance. I gazed at her God-gifted pulchritude, mesmerized…felt relieved. But when my eyes met with hers, a profound lesion inflicted my heart…when I recollected that she was born blind. Her piercing blue eyes were focused on a nearby shrub - but she never darted them to look at me. How would she? Probably she thought that I was crouching down where her eyes were captivated - how was my younger sister supposed to know that I was actually not there? Would she never be able to catch a glimpse of my face, or the nature around her?
Tears cascaded down my eyes and my heart pounded frantically - struggling with the overcoming feeling of despair that weighed upon my soul…
‘Big brother, why are you crying?’ the sweet, babyish voice of a six year old girl snapped me out from my contemplation - she was Hope. I startled, just as I did every time the charming chime in her voice wafted into my ears, and I realized that stifled sobs followed my tear drops. My hands were intertwined with hers, and her gentle touch tightened to a clasp around my quivering hands.
‘Let’s play the ring-a-round game again!’ Hope said, without giving me a chance to retort to her first question - the rhythm of playfulness and excitement reflected from her voice.
My chest wobbled, and, through difficulty, I mumbled, ‘Okay’. Just as I did, Hope yanked my hands and propped me to stand up; gain my posture.
‘Wee!’ she yelled cheerfully while we whirled round and round….
My desolation diminished a bit as I saw her fearlessly spin around with me - she was self-confident, not scared of losing my grip and falling apart. The background was a vertigo….obscure - only Hope was patent; her rose-red lips curved up to a smile, her  blonde curls fluttered majestically in the soft breeze of the coming-spring, and surprisingly, my sister's eyes met with mine for the first time as the mild light of the sun reflected from her face - I saw a light of hope in them, and my mind was soothed - the feeling that my sister would be brave enough to face the obstacles of her life calmed me down -  so I wished for her to step onto a new age that day.

Submitted: March 22, 2018

© Copyright 2023 Ayesha Binte Islam. All rights reserved.

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