"Winter crisp memories on Finger Branch Trail"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 02, 2018

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Submitted: August 02, 2018

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The air felt crisp, like ice chips on a cool tongue, as I strolled down the marshmallow-dipped path with my little sister by my side.

I savored the soft crunch of her snow-covered shoes bouncing off my ears, like popcorn, on the teeth of someone slowly enjoying the sensation of every buttery, salty, kernal for the first time, as they attempt to dive into the taste.

We walked this way, my tiny companion and I. Her looking at the trees (as was her habit; she loved the way the branches “looked like fingers”)

And I, looked at the sky (as was my habit, ever since I was a small girl).

“Your daughter keeps daydreaming in class” was the same note that kept finding it's way to the bottom of my backpack. Fortunately - my parent's saw no harm in this habit that I developed in school.

In the pregnant noise of nature that surrounded us the silent space between my sister and I was suddenly breached, when she turned towards me and asked:

“Is is fun being grown up?”

I was taken back by the pureness of this question - Is it fun being grown up? I thought, How could I answer such a question?

Honestly?

With humor?

In the end I went with a lazy: “It's fine.”

Before I could truly reconsider the answer I had just given to the youngest person in my family she, like an existential gymnast, rebounding into a mental double back flip, that I was unnervingly unprepared for, followed her first question, quickly with:

“Will I be okay when I get big?”

After some time, I had the mental agility to respond with an answer that was not as uncomfortable on my lips as the wool scarf that now sat beneath my chin and tickled my bottom lip every time I moved my mouth to speak.

As my shoes stamped out a trail alongside my little sister's, we both made our way forward like warmly bundled pioneers and I allowed my answer to forge ahead:

“Yes – you will be okay.”

This response seemed to sit well with my petite seeker of truth. For a period of time we walked wrapped in whatever comfort she had knitted from the words I had just offered to her from snowflake stung lips and frosted breath.

As my syllables hung in the air between us, my sister looked at me, with mocha-drenched, almond-shaped eyes and I began to feel the weight of every letter my words carried.

My eyes shifted from her face, to the icicles that draped over spidery branches that hung above and ahead of me; I realized in that moment how perceptive my little sister - how perceptive little kids in general are - when I noticed that the branches really DO look like fingers.

“Johanna – what if I'm not okay?”

Hearing my sister ask these words, while looking up at me with her sweet round face with such sincerity, I had to momentarily look away.

Eventually, I looked back at my little sister and said:

“You will be okay.”

Her eyes continued to pierce and encourage me to go on - so I did.

“You are a smart girl. Just remember that when things are a mess - try to think of life like this path that we are walking on right now; enjoy what goes on around you while you are on the path. When you feel like you have lost your way, take a deep breath, hold your head up high and move forward with confidence, without fear, and use what you see around you to help you make the best decision you can.”

Like warm breath on a cold windowpane, the soft glow of this memory, from this chilly day, still brings a sense of contentment to my heart.

My little sister has now traded following alongside her older sister on snow-dusted trails to following her friends on social media. I like to believe though, when life gets my little sister down, and everything just gets too hard, the small girl inside of her, with the sweet round face and the almond shaped eyes will remember: she can always go back inside of herself, and find that place on a marshmallow-dipped path to fearlessly, and confidently make her way forward down the “Finger Branch Trail” for whatever strength she needs to forge ahead.


© Copyright 2018 Johanna Tomaszewski. All rights reserved.

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