Sisters – Thankful Thursday

This week I am grateful for my younger sister. She spent several years right after high school helping to take care of me and our mom when our health was really low. She was always there for us and so I’m spending a lot of time this week with her.

Check out the original Thankful Thursday. (I will update link when able.)

EDIT: Link updated as of July 17, 2015.

No Envy In Her Eyes

Star did not envy her sister even as she watched from afar. This was the life that Star had chosen just as this was the life that her sister had chosen. What worked for one half of their once whole did not work for the remaining part.

They were very different and not just in their choices.

Star didn’t need to be close enough to see the careworn look on her sister’s face nor the wrinkles acquired through laughter and sorrow. Her own face was line-free and as smooth as if she was going through puberty for the first time, though without the curse of blemishes that many teenagers lamented over. Her hair was bright, thick and full while her sister’s was thinning slightly and going grey at the temples.

The biggest difference about her sister was the joy in her face and the light in her eyes. Star smiled her own, though it was wistful.

She had no way of knowing that her sister would change so drastically when she left at the end of the day. Star didn’t know that in the weeks to come her sister would have to file for divorce and separate from her husband. She wouldn’t know that this was a facade to protect her sister and her nephews. Star didn’t know that her sister’s husband (the divorce was never supposed to be finalized in their scheme to protect their sons) would die in the following months because of corporate corruption and crime.

It was just as well that Star didn’t know any of this or she would have never left and a greater harm would have found her sister’s family.


This was inspired by the Light and Shade Challenge for this last week.

Envy can be a positive motivator. Let it inspire you to work harder for what you want.
Robert Bringle

This Year I Will…

image: sister just older than me's old art pad

image: ‘Sisters’ , from sister just older than me’s old art pad

Remember that we are not invincible
Especially when life is hard.
So keep in mind my limitations
Or down upon the ground I’ll go.
Let old hurts heal
Until all that’s left is a scar.
Think about why I feel something
Even if that reason hurts.
 
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
–Aristotle

(This image is one that my sister drew based off a picture of two of our other sisters.)

This post is inspired by two prompts: Eclectic Corner #3 – Resolutions and the revisit of Dungeon Prompt: Mortality and the Human Psyche. Make sure to check out the prompts as well as Sreejit’s revisit of his Dungeon Prompt, Defined by the Darkness, it’s really good for making you think!

Lonely Invisibility

Star flew overhead, looking down at the people below her. They could not see her, mostly because none of them were looking up, but partly because she’d cloaked herself in the invisibility that was the UV rays part of the spectrum.

Life for her hadn’t gotten any easier since the War was over. She served Solaris and worked with the differing levels of the Guardians and the liaisons they had with other militant groups and governments, but the more time she spent around others the more she felt like an outsider.

‘Sister, I miss you more each day.’


Written for Light and Shade’s Friday: http://lightandshadechallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/light-and-shade-challenge-friday-20th.html

I know I just posted another entry for this prompt, but this one is actually within the word count limits.

Moment of Serenity

Yesterday I went swimming for the first time this year. It was at my sister’s apartment complex with another sister, two nieces and two nephews (not all of the kids from the same siblings.)

At one point I decided to just float there for a moment and enjoy the sky above me. My nephews were roughhousing nearby and I, somewhat irritably (and with affected frustration) snapped that I was having ‘a moment of serenity’ and to pipe down.

I should not have said this within hearing of my second eldest sister.

With a grin, she marshaled her three children and they proceeded to have a splash battle with them on one side and me on the other. At the end of it, with me spluttering all over, she said:

“I know we’re not the crew from Firefly, but how was your moment on Serenity?”

It was perfect.

Just A Few Things… – Poetry Prompt #11

Go on now, don’t be late!
Right now we’ve got a small debate
On what we should in the end buy.
Could we do with a little more rye?
Even though we’re almost done
Right now we’ll get chicken to put in the oven.
Yes, my dear we’re on our way to heaven.
 
So we’ve got to go in a little while
Have lots to do going through the aisle,
Or maybe we’ll grab a bite to eat.
Please don’t forget to pick up flour!
Pick up the apples before the hour.
I know there’s still a lot left to do,
Now don’t forget to get some honey dew.
Great! It’s over! I can rest now too.

Written for this week’s We Drink Poetry prompt: http://wedrinkbecausewerepoets.com/2014/05/26/poetry-prompt-11-list/

I just got back from running a few errands with one of my sisters and saw this prompt. It was Destiny, because I usually don’t go on the grocery shopping trips anymore.

Eventually… – Day Nineteen

Universal disease can only be cured in one way.
Never let it be unsaid that the cure wasn’t painful.
Even though she was alone, she wasn’t
Quite alone. There was another here who stayed
Until she gained some kind of mental footing.
Although she understood why she had been sent away,
Longing filled her split soul.

Sun’s coming up, coming up down on main street…Head in my hands, here I am standing in my bare feet.

Watching you drive away, watching you drive away. – Dixie Chicks

Bared in a way that she had never been before,
In her heart she was alone.
There was no soothing force that spread and healed
The cracks in her mind.
Eventually, she would accept that this was now her life.
Reality had always been harsh and yet…
Something within told her that this 
Was only the beginning…
Even should she ever find her other half,
Even should she stand next to her family…
There was no doubt in her mind that her sister was just as torn.

Written for today’s NaPoWriMo prompt on using a sea shell: http://www.napowrimo.net/2014/04/day-19-2/

Also, this is a part of one of my ongoing little universes. It’s been a bit since I’ve visited one of them with a poem.

Outcast

“It’s been so long,” she whispered as she looked out over the sleeping city before her.

Star wanted to see her sister, wanted to view her happiness with her own eyes.

But…

“You cannot seek her out, not even should you stumble upon where she lives. You must do everything you can to avoid her.”

She knew that being able to see her sister would not fix what she had done. It wouldn’t matter that Star had done it to save her sister, to give Comet a chance at more than a little room with padded walls and eternal suppression cuffs. She had still cut her sister off from the only people she had ever known. She had sealed any and all abilities that they had been born with and had cast her out of the Fold.

“No, I did more than that.” A tear streaked down her cheek as she turned away from the city sprawled out in front of her.

She looked back at the mountain range behind her. She was standing on one of the ledges that had a perfect view over most of the city before her. The sky had long since gone dark, but no stars remained view-able due to the light pollution emanating from the city below. Star didn’t know the name of the city, didn’t even really know where it was located on this world. It was up in the mountains, but close enough to some kind of delta or bay to have access to one of the oceans.

Star couldn’t take the time to find out the geography of every world she would go through. She would never have the time needed to complete her task if she did.

With a heavy heart, she leaped off the ledge she’d been standing on and up into the air, darting over the mountains and away from the city that she could feel the barest brush of her sister’s soul within.

“You don’t understand what you are doing, Star,” her Queen spoke softly, gently, “but one day you will.”


Written for last Friday’s FreeWriteFriday: http://kellieelmore.com/2014/03/14/fwf-free-write-friday-ponder-this-3/

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write for this prompt and I missed it dearly.

Box of Memories

Anna smiled as she rooted through the small box in front of her. It had been years since she’d thought about any of this and even longer since she’d actually seen it, but as her hands picked up every item, fingers caressing certain points, her memories drifted to the front of her mind easily enough.

A small candle, half melted down, the wick blackened by both use and age.

She’d been barely a teen, her friends deciding she needed an abundance of candles, regardless of the fact that no one in their right minds let her use matches. (Trying to use an arts and crafts project where you carefully edged a picture with burnt paper hadn’t ended well, but thankfully, the fire had been contained before it really damaged anything.)

A small red and white box with the names “Meier & Frank” stamped on it, opened up to show a small necklace, earrings and bracelet set.

They’d been lovingly crafted by her grandmother with plastic pearls, silver beads and both large and small chain links. She’d worn them several times, but had actually lost the large pendant from the necklace the first time she’d ever put them on and had never found it. The set still was beautiful after all these years.

A folder filled with notes and small pamphlets on various houses, colors and different floor designs.

After several years in college, she’d finally found her major: Interior Design. Something that no one in her family, no matter how far out you searched, had ever gone into. It was completely new to her and yet also came slightly more easily than she had hoped. Her years of helping her mother rearrange the house once or twice a month, something that had annoyed her as a teen and amused her as a child, had finally gained an appreciation within her.

An old packet of photos in a card-stock packet that had been taken as a roll of film to the store to be developed and returned with little imperfections like fingers around the edges and heads cut off from inexperienced hands handling the old film-stocked camera.

The camera had been a gift from her elder sister, a hand-me-down that had been  carefully fixed before given with a small packet of four rolls of film for the excited would-be photographer: aged 13. She’d loved that camera and mourned its loss after flooding in the house had broken it beyond repair.

A small gold ring with a strange pale pink gem set into it.

It had been a small gift from her favorite aunt and had fit her little ring finger perfectly at age 7. It had no real gems or costly metal in it, but it was her first piece of jewelry and she’d worn it until it wouldn’t fit on her ring finger anymore. It barely fit on her pinkie finger now.

A scuffed and breaking red binder with childish scrawl across it stating “Anna’s Folder.”

She’d watched her eldest sister as she’d drawn with her fine pencils and pastel crayons a beautiful sunset. Anna had a hard time drawing stick figures, but with patient hands (and some frustration…a lot of frustration) her sister, Mary, helped her to draw on several pieces of paper and then grabbed an unused red binder from her desk. Carefully using a hole-punch along one side of the paper, Mary eventually had a little book for Anna to collect her drawings in it. On the second page was the sunset that Mary had drawn right next the clumsy attempt a five year old Anna had tried to draw as well.

There were more things within the broken little box of memories and Anna smiled, tears glinting in her eyes at times, as she carefully lifted everything and placed it to her side in a newer, plastic box.

“Almost done, honey?” a male voice called from the front of the garage.

Anna turned to her husband, Ivan, and nodded, “Just about, give me another five minutes and I’ll be through.”

“Don’t forget to wash up, we’re going out to eat after we’re finished cleaning the garage.” he reminded her before grunting as he lifted his second to last tote up onto the shelves they’d set up over an hour ago.

Anna looked around her at the small pile of boxes they’d gone through, together and separately throughout the last month. It had been slow progress going through the single garage, but at the beginning of spring they’d decided they wanted to actually use the garage to store the car instead of leaving it full of boxes from their move. Now, half a month later, they were almost finished.

Their first house still had a lot of work (they had barely touched the backyard and Ivan was certain that there was something wrong with the heating), but it was their’s.


Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompt: http://theseekersdungeon.com/2014/03/06/dungeon-prompts-season-2-week-10-dreaming-big/

This was supposed to end differently, but I think I kind of like it. This Anna is a little older than she was the last time I wrote about her (and originally was going to be a different person altogether, but she demanded screen time.)

(Also, I’ve been rooting through our garage for the last month, but have mostly been working alone due to work schedules. I am nowhere near as done as Ivan and Anna are, but my sister has helped me install the shelves and promises me new boxes as soon as she gets back from work.)

Stop me?

Music has always been an important part of my family. My father plays the trumpet, the french horn and sings in his church choir when he has the time. My mother plays the piano and trained to be a professional opera singer (though she decided to have children instead of going into it as a career in the end.) She also writes and arranges music or the piano, voice, string and woodwind. My mother taught all of us some piano and how to sing correctly (posture and breathing and all that). None of us escaped picking an instrument to learn on the side.

My eldest sister learned a little guitar and flute, though she never went farther than the basics with those two. She did learn to compose and write her own piano and vocal music.

My second eldest sister learned the trumpet and was in every band available from ninth grade on. She is also very skilled with the piano and her voice.

My third eldest sister learned a little bit of everything as she majored in Music Education in college and actually taught orchestra, band and a little choir before having children. She still teaches piano and violin and has her own drum set (among other instruments: flute, clarinet, organ, etc.)

My elder brother learned clarinet. He didn’t go very far on the piano because he just didn’t want to. (You can make a child sit at the piano for an hour; you can’t make him press any of the keys.)

My fourth elder sister learned trumpet and a little guitar. She was fairly good at the piano, but loved her art more than her music. She was in the A Capella Choir in her senior year of high school.

My youngest sister is very talented musically. She mostly learned the trumpet and singing. She did take some piano but quit because of other interests. When she was a teenager, she taught herself to play the piano by ear using only what little she remembered from grade school. She also was in high school choirs and bands with her trumpet. She learned a little guitar and a little flute and learns most instruments fairly quickly. (Lucky girl…)

My youngest brother (the baby of the family) learned the trumpet and voice as well, but he did not pursue either beyond middle school (although he does sing in our church choir as well.)

I learned slightly more piano than some of my siblings, but never got to the same proficiency as my eldest three sisters. I learned the flute and all but mastered it though it was a very large struggle. (I once spent three months learning how to play three notes. And at least one month before that on my posture alone.) Like the others I also learned some voice and took part in choir in high school and then the church choir.

The flute, on the other hand, was hard. It took me several years before middle school with a private teacher (friend of one of my elder sisters who played beautifully and was a great teacher!) Many people thought later that I was a genius with the flute. I was not. I hated learning that instrument and it left me many times in tears, in frustration, in the physical need to chuck that thing at the nearest wall screaming.

I didn’t, but some days it felt like a very near thing.

I had initially picked the flute because my eldest sister had played it for a bit and then given it up. I had loved the sounds she could coax out of it and thought that I would learn it easily enough.

That did not happen.

I spent the first year only having learned one note and that from the other players in my little elementary school band. The teacher, a man that wasn’t the best teacher, didn’t like me. He didn’t do very much with the flute players in his band (he mostly ignored us even though we were in the front of the group). He informed me once that I would never learn how to play the flute.

I don’t like being told I can’t do something like that.

I decided that I was going to learn that woodwind if it killed me.

It didn’t, but it was still a great pain in my neck. (Have you ever had to practice holding up a rod on metal for thirty minutes without the end dipping too high or too low? My teacher used a pencil in the end and if it moved then I had to start all over again. I had to do this for practice every single day until I could do it and play and not dip the end of my flute and wreck my posture and breathing.)

The only thing I had going for me with music was that I had perfect pitch. I had to learn everything else the hard way. I didn’t mind doing so as my mother taught me that if you really want something, you will see it through and do it right.

No power in the verse can stop me. -River Tam, “Firefly”

On the bright side, my parents had purchased most of the instruments prior to ever having children when my dad was in the Air Force. Even with little money as children had a nice selection of musical instruments to learn from without having to worry about rental costs.

Music comes easily to some of my siblings, but we all have a passion for learning it even if our reasons differ.


Written in response to today’s Daily Post prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/daily-prompt-we-got-the-beat/

If you have the persistence to learn something that you’re bad at (and trust me, I was truly awful) then you have the guts to do just about anything with your life.