> “A light never sees the shadow it leaves…” ~Anonymous
Hope. That was the first word that came to mind every time she looked at the plaque on her wall. She had spent so much of her life doing for others that she often forgot to do for herself. She often got taken advantage of and found herself always questioning why she bothered to help in the first place. Despite this, she did what was in her nature to do: she helped. Usually at her own expense too.
The shrill shriek of the cordless telephone sounded through the thick wooden door. The key slid into the doorknob with the ease of familiarity and turned, producing a gentle click only heard between the rings. The door opened easily, its heaviness causing it to close slowly behind her. The phone was on its sixth ring before she answered it.
“Brooke? Hello? Are you there? It’s Sara.”
“You sound like a midnight crank caller. You okay?”
Breathe. “Yes. I was just coming home and rushed through the door. What’s up?” Sara. Man, I hate talking to my sister anymore. She’s always so needy. I wonder what it is she needs this time. God forbid she call just to say hello.
“Well…I was wondering….” Oh my God, the pause. “Cassie needs some school supplies. Her dad won’t send me anymore money, you know how he is. Could you, maybe, please help me out just this once?”
“Didn’t you just get paid?” Exasperation.
“Yes.” came the quiet reply that spoke volumes.
“Why can’t you get her some supplies, then? Go down to the dollar store. You don’t have five dollars?”
“No, I don’t. Why else would I be asking? Besides, I just paid the electric, and she didn’t tell me til this morning. It’s two weeks before I get paid again. I don’t think she can wait that long.”
“I know, I know. But Brooke…”
White fingertips find themselves caressing a creased forehead. Pain. “Fine. I will pick her up from school and get the list from the teacher. Sara, you really must start planning for this kind of stuff. Stop relying on me and her dad and everyone else. You will feel so much better about yourself when you can stand on your own two feet. I don’t mind helping from time to time, but you always seem to catch me at the worst times.” Here come the empty promises.
“I’m trying, I really am. It’s hard to be a single parent and every dime you make wrapped up in providing for your family. If I didn’t need daycare, electricity, water, or a damn house, maybe I could buy her the school supplies she needs.” Nerves have been touched.
“I don’t have time for this right now. Remember I told you I was just coming in the door? Yeah, I had gone to the grocery store. If you want me to pick up your child and take her shopping, you need to let me go put my groceries away.” It was a bit more snappy than she meant for it to be, but it was already said. She couldn’t take it back now.
“Brooke, I know I don’t say it much. You really need to know this though. I know that I am needy. I hate it. I really do. I know that you don’t fully understand, and that’s okay too. What you do for me, though? It really is appreciated. I know I ask a lot too, but honestly, no one else will help. If it weren’t for you, I don’t really know what I would do. I would probably be on the street. Thank you for being there. You are the best big sister in the world. Thanks for not judging me either.”
Guilt. Brooke’s eyes floated up to the plaque on her wall. Hope.
This is my response to the Bloggy Moms Writer’s Workshop prompt to find a quote. This is story is fiction, with a thread of truth.
–Stephanie, AKA The Drama Mama