Wishing for bravery
I wish that I was brave. It's such a noble trait, admirable. I suppose it's not something that you can be sure you possess until you are tested. It's a decision. I have a sister who is brave, and I'm a part of her story.
The setting was a warm summer night. It was 1980 something; a time when kids left the house early in the day and came home just before dark. There was no worry on the parents behalf that they wouldn't be safe, at least not in my home.
We were one of four houses on a cul-de-sac. It was a place of great memories for me that included kick ball games, bike riding, tree climbing and fort building in the nearby woods. It was a quiet neighborhood. I believe Nancy was 9 that summer, and I was younger by 17 months.
We had spent the day riding bikes at a friend's house about a block away. We arrived home just before dark, not realizing that we had left one of the bikes behind. I don't know if the forecast called for rain or if our parents were trying to teach us responsibility, but we were sent out together to retrieve our forgotten item.
By then the sun had disappeared, the moon was barely visible, and there were too few porch lights on. We walked the bike back so that we could stay together, both aware of the shadows. From where we were on the sidewalk we could see our safe haven. We could also see a figure dressed in black heading our way. It was tall and silent, unfamiliar.
We distanced ourselves as we crossed the deserted street to the opposite sidewalk. Our legs moved a little faster as we felt our pulses increase. We were almost home but still too far away to be safe. The ominous figure began to move toward us. It was then that the danger was fully realized.
I clearly remember the terror that washed through me. I also remember my older sister putting me on that bike and yelling at me to ride home. There wasn't much hesitation on my part to follow instructions. In my haste, I could barely get the pedals on that purple bike moving. I rode as fast as my 8 year old legs would push. I never turned around. My mission was to tell Mom what had happened.
Breathless, I ran through the house looking for my parents. Nearly in tears from fear and exhaustion, the details of the stranger came pouring out of me. It was urgent. I had left my precious sister alone with the man in black, and where was she? Would I see her again? I was safe, and she was. . .
Relief followed confusion as the reality of the situation was understood. Nancy came walking through the door with my dad, safe.
I've thought a lot about that night, and the sacrifice of my sister's life for my own. While there was no real danger, it was her reality that she was saving me. I am still amazed at her bravery. What does that say about her character? What does it say about mine?
I wish that I was brave.
|My brave sister Nancy, my mom, and me.|