Questions and Answers

Submitted for Contest #48 in response to: Write about someone who always comes to the aid of others.... view prompt

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Every sibling relationship varies. In children’s stories you read of a picture-perfect duo that either fights crime or goes on a simplistic adventure where they bond and love each other with Philia (deep friendship). In young adult’s books siblings fight each other almost to death or they reluctantly band together to defeat a villain and eventually grow to create a flawless and (again) perfect relationship. Do you see the repeating fact? Hurt, climax, love and happily perfect ever after. This is true of most stories. 


I started out like a dramatic story-book, with no talking relationship at all with my sister. It was my fault that I lost contact with her. I, a pathetic and extremely immoral street-rat, didn't want her perfection to shine its light on my very flawed life. For she was indeed perfect, smart, beautiful, innocent, married, and to top it all off, living in a peaceful suburban neighborhood in a costly and beautiful home. At least in my eyes she wreaked of exemplary behavior.


I moved from home to home, I was unemployed, in one relationship with one pretty boy after another, I had a sickly beauty about me, one that wasn't natural but was made up of caked makeup, low-cut dresses, and flirtatious and disgustingly enticing behavior. The kind of beauty that would never do with a long-term relationship, but an ephemeral one. 


So that's why the news shook me. As I held the little life-changing stick I gasped and sat on the floor, my legs too weak to hold me, and apparently the life I was carrying inside my womb. I was pregnant. I was also alone, unemployed, and homeless. That wouldn't do. Even if I was a ditsy puss I understood I couldn't live my kind of lifestyle dragging a kid along, I had two options, and only one appealed to me. 


I decided to break two years of silence with my sister. I found a public phone and dialed the oh-so-familiar and painful phone number. I had talked to my older sister every day as a teenager. By then she had moved out and was attending college. Did I add smart to the list of adjectives to describe her? She was Harvard-level. I had phoned her each evening as she guided me through boy-problems or high school heart aches. Now they seem so far away and unimportant, then they seemed life-breaking. 


Whisking my mind out of the past, I gently pressed each individual number, lingering in the last moments of my soon to be old life. After I told her, she would give me advice that I would agree with or feel compelled to follow. I most likely would for she was more intelligent and logical than I was. Finally, I heard the ring of the phone. I waited a few seconds and eventually heard that annoyingly cheerful voice. 


"Hello, this is Debbie Anderson, how can I help you?" She asked. 


“Umm, this is Aislinn Reed.” A pause. “Remember me?” 


“Aislinn? My Aislinn? You mean, my sister?” She asked, in a high pitched, shell-shocked voice. 


“The one and only.” I didn’t want her to hear the emotion in my voice trying to sweep in, the memories of long and involved phone calls gone by.


“How are you?” She thought for a moment, she probably was more confused than ever. “Where are you?” She asked, frantic. I didn’t want to give too much away or else she would offer to come pick me up immediately.


“I am…fine. I have some news. I am in the old part of town.” I wanted to burst out in tears, tell her the mind-throbbing abuse I had gone through, and have her use her older-sister-power to fix everything. I wanted to yell into her ear that I was expecting a child before marriage, and that I regretted everything. I had wished I would have stayed with her instead of going down the dark and dirty path of betrayal. 


“News? Do you want to share more?” She queried.


“I…I don’t. Not now. Can we…get together?” I told myself I wouldn’t let those life-changing words escape my mouth. I would get down to business, tell her my problems, have her fix them, and get on with my life. How ignorant I was. Humans can’t fix human’s problems with the snap of a finger or the call of a phone. 


“Yeah! I mean, sure.” Debby tried to sound cool, I don’t think she wanted to scare me off. “When? Next week?”  


“Sooner. Tomorrow?” Again, why had I let myself say that? Why did I feel urgent? Seeing her would make me long for my old life, my healthy life. I didn’t have the time or money to work myself back up there. Face it: I had turned into the worst lazy snob. 


“Tomorrow? Sure, I guess. Why all of a sudden? What made you call me?” She had so many so many questions, none that I wanted to answer. 


“I’ll be there tomorrow at nine.” I hung up the phone. Yes, I had just run away from the truth once again. Yes, I should have told her more, and yes it was unfair. 


I leaned against the brick wall behind me. It looked as rugged and old as I felt. Another night without a home to go to or a warm heater to greet me. No shelter or dinner. The only painting I ever had was the sunset before me, but I am blessed to say it was the most beautiful one in existence. Pink blended to orange and then to green, and finally to a deep sky blue. That was the only scenic thing in this old city world. Dust filled cars, abandoned and easily forgotten, sat forlornly in the ditches on either side of the cracked and sketchy cement road. Illegal drug selling had taken place numerous times on this road, and I am ashamed to say that I had even purchased from one of those undercover dealings a year before. 


I curled up in my tight fitted faded and scandalous red dress and old jean-jacket on the corner of the street. There was no blanket to warm me, no loving hand to help me. It was just me and the dirt beneath. The day before, that had been enough. Now I was being reunited with my past and my future was dangerously colliding with it all. 


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The next morning I found myself walking to my childhood home where my sister now resided. It was in an long-lasting upper middle class neighborhood. The house itself was dark brown natural wood with white sleek trim. Vintage glass served as windows and it sported a bright red door and porch. I almost came to tears seeing it, I don't know if it was wacky hormones or sincere emotion.


I knocked on the door waiting and wishing. Waiting for her to unlock the door and welcome me inside, yet wishing she wouldn't. I stood for two minutes and I thought she wouldn't show. Maybe they had sold the house or Debbie wasn't impressed with the past silence.


Finally, with fresh tears in her eyes and a well-worn bright smile, my elder sister opened the door wide and embraced me, a hug that made up for the two years. Just then I knew I was never going back.


I looked at her intently. She had long and wavy dark brown hair, compared to my short style, light brown eyes, compared to my dark, and tan creamy skin, compared to my light and pale skin. She had a natural glow, a natural beauty.


"Aislinn! You look...nice." I knew that was hesitant, for I didn't look 'nice'. I looked pale, yet colorful with horrible amounts of makeup, thin, yet so hungry I was bloated, I wore a dress that was old, faded, and not so innocent, and my jean-jacket was stained and a size too big.


"You look better than me." I scanned her up and down for effect. "You are all glow-y and stuff."


"I never thought you would notice. Anyways, what's this news? Let me guess, are you finally settling down?...eek! Did you find 'Mr. Right'?" She asked, blushing.


"Me? No...no...Can we sit down?" I was stalling, I knew it and she knew it.


"Of course. Do you want something to eat or drink? I can serve anything and I just made some scones!" She was too happy. Either she missed me more than I thought she would, or she had new own news to share.


"I'd take some food." I didn't want to tell her I was about to die from starvation, and that my last meal had been a moldy half-eaten can of beans from the trash that morning. "Anyways, did you marry that Kevin guy?" I asked as she handed me a plate of baked goodness and I shoved it down my throat.


"I did. Actually we married a week or two after our last talk two years ago. He is just right for me and I for him." She had never been this happy when I knew her last.


Kevin was a Black pastor at a church in town. He was an extremely happy and cheerful man. I had liked him from the beginning and had encouraged my sister and his relationship.


"Good, good." I knew the infamous question was coming.


"So what is your news?" She asked, taking dainty bites of the pastry.


"I umm, need your help. Thats why I called and asked to come over." I my right leg spasmed like it always did when I was nervous-and Debbie saw it.


"Spill the tea." She said just above a whisper. Those familiar words coming out of her mouth just felt right. That was her forever way of telling me to relay my problems or secrets.


"I umm, met this one guy a month or three ago. I thought I liked him...maybe. He was really sweet and sort of cute. But he left me." I ended there, not wanting to continue.


"Oh, I am so sorry. Don't let guys like him bother you." She said, placing her hand on mine.


"No, no. That's not it. So many men, and even older boys have left me in the past two years. I have a new romantic relation every few days. No, this men just left something with me I didn't need or want. A lifelong burden." I knew she would take the hint, she always did.


"You mean...a baby?" She asked, realization shining from her furrowed eyes. I nodded. "I can't believe it. You're pregnant?" I nodded once more.


"Yes, I am. I can't have this baby, you know I can't. Not with the life I'm living! It would ruin it, I would ruin it." The tears started coming and there was no way they would stop.


"Do you mean what I think you mean?" She asked, her eyes turning from disbelief to fear.


"Yes. I have to do away with it." I closed my eyes, not wanting to hear the cries of anger, see the disappointments written on her face.


"Aislinn, do you hear yourself?" She asked in a completely calm and endearing manner. She might have been saddened, but my sister would never get mad at me. "Do away with it? You can't just do away with it! It causes lifelong pain and sorrow! Physical and mental hurt."


"Either way it causes life long pain and sorrow! One way I have a child to take care of and one way I don't." I knew my words sounded cold and death-filled.


"Thats not the only way. What about adoption or getting help? I can help you!" She pleaded with not only her eyes, but her entire existence.


"Adoption would hurt." I sounded childish.


"More than abortion? More than killing a living human-being and your own flesh and blood?" At this point we were both sobbing, crying tears that showcased our human behaviors.


"I just don't know. How could I raise a baby on my own? Babies cost money and take time. Those are two things I don't have." I placed my head in my hands on the table. My stomach was full of warm food but my mind was empty of any conclusion.


"You wouldn't be on your own. You would have me and Mama. Remember that Mama was in your position when she gave birth to me. I wouldn't have lived if she had chosen abortion. She was alone and without money, barely surviving off of the street." She realized what she had said after the words escaped her mouth.


"Barely surviving? I am doing just fine!" I wasn't, but I wanted to prove myself to her.


"We both know you are not. Now, what about me?" She paused, once again in thought. "Why can't I raise this baby?" She asked slowly and carefully. Full of hope and caution.


"I hadn't thought about that. Would you? Could you? When I saw the baby would I see a niece or nephew or my own child? Would I see it at all?" All these questions escaped me.


"I don't know. Just choose life. Please. For me and for this baby." She looked at me intently. "Don't take this the wrong way, but maybe you should choose life for yourself as well. Real, true life. Barely surviving off of an immoral street-life isn't living." She whispered, quiet yet true.


"But I am living! Truly, I am! I breathe and my heart beats." I knew the meaning behind her words, yet I didn't want to accept them.


"No. Get out of this darkness. Come live with me during your pregnancy, and I can talk to Keven. I had always wanted twins anyways." She hinted.


"Twins? Do you mean..." I stopped, aghast. My own sister was pregnant as well?


"Yes. I found out yesterday. I am going to have a baby!" She smiled a smile of pure joy. It was unfiltered and purified joy.


Tears escaped both of us, not for the first or the last time that day.


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Four months later my sister and I sat in her Jeep, driving on the way home from our OB appointments. A saddened excitement coursed its way through me. I knew the gender of my baby. Or, I guess, my sister's baby. I was excited that I was going to provide the baby with life, and my sister and her husband with another child, but at the same time I felt the awkwardness of the entire situation. I was going through with it.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A long time of waiting, watching, planning, and appointments passed. One summer's afternoon, Debbie gave birth to a beautiful baby girl: Faye Anderson. A half black, dark shaded heavenly angel. I hoped my genetics could produce something half as pretty.


A week later I felt twinges in my back, an hour after the first pains I was rushed to hospital and almost immediately gave birth to my firstborn: Damon Reed Anderson. My sister's last name was on the birth certificate, he was their's from the beginning, and I will always be his close aunt. He is half Korean, for his birth father was complete. I never met his father again and haven't thought about him for months.


Faye and Damon are story book siblings. They are best friends and have gone on numerous adventures. As I write this I am getting ready to go to their joint tenth birthday party. I will always remember holding Damon close to me for nine months, and holding his future closer. I placed him in a home that could provide for him and give him love I didn't have time to give. I still love him more than ever, and I love his sister, Faye, as well. They are my niece and nephew I dote on. I am their second mother, and I give Debbie continual breaks.


My story is not true of many others. Adoption is one of the hardest things a woman could do, and giving your baby to a relative is painful. You watch them grow and thrive, and wonder what might have happened if they were under your guidance. What if you had held them close your entire life? As I write this it still hurts, more than ever. Tears gush out of my eyes. You never get over the questions, but you sometimes find answers.

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2 comments

Jonathan Blaauw
18:15 Jul 05, 2020

Your story was hard to read because it's so sad. I imagine it was equally hard to write. But you did a good job with it, the emotion comes through strongly. And the ending, like life itself, is bittersweet. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks.

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Rose Bingely
00:28 Jul 06, 2020

Of course, thank you for reading this, Jonathan! It was hard to write but life needs to be Portrayed as it is, not how we want it to be. Thanks again!

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