Protector

by klparry

Hello Friends!

I’m breaking away from my usual brief postings to share with you a lengthier piece I composed for writing class. The instructor liked it well enough that I thought you might too. Keep in mind that I am my own editor in this, there are bound to be some errors.

I hope you enjoy this 777 word, almost all true, short story 😉

Until tomorrow – Write On!

~ K.L. Parry

Protector

By K. L. Parry

 7:00 a.m. the phone rang.

Anyone who knew me would never call before 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday. Even my children had been trained to keep quietly to their morning activities until 8:30 at the earliest, and hardly dared speak to me before I’d consumed at least one cup of coffee. The only exception to that rule would be if there had been an emergency – fire, flood or earthquake – car accident, serious fall, or if someone poked an eye out. Therefore the call had better be an emergency.

I tumbled out of bed and scrambled for the phone.

“Hello?” I answered.

“I have a sticky strip caught in my hair!”

It was my sister, Cindy on the other end. And although my brain was foggy, this didn’t sound like a real emergency.

“You have a what?”

“You know. One of those bug strips you hang up. I got one stuck in my hair.”

“How did you do that?” I asked, still annoyed that my once weekly opportunity to steal a solid eight hours sleep had been interrupted.

“I wanted to put up a new one and while I was taking down the old one it just caught in my hair!”

“The dirty one?”

I envisioned my sister standing tiptoed on a wobbly chair, arm stretched, reaching for the hook suspending the pest-strip from the ceiling, and the resulting anguished screams when she dropped it on herself – she has a phobia for bugs.

I laughed without meaning to, triggering her cries.

“Yes, the one full of dead flies!” She sobbed. “It’s not funny!”

“I know it’s not, I’m sorry. Did you try using peanut butter?”

“Auntie used peanut butter and mayonnaise but it made thing worse. Now I have it all stuck in my hair and Auntie says she’s gonna cut it out!”

My sister sobbed even harder.

“Don’t let her cut anything. I’ll take care of it.”

“Oh, good,” she said sounding relieved.  “When are you coming?”

“Around ten.”

“Ten!?”

“Well, it’s not like you broke a leg.” I answered. “I’m going back to bed for a few hours, then I’ll be over.”

It was a relatively quiet drive through the middle-class Tujunga neighborhood made up of ranch style homes, indicative of the early 70’s. I arrived at the Irwin address just a block away from the local middle school where my oldest boy attended. I pulled into the driveway, parked and made sure I had the can of adhesive solvent in hand when I got out of the car.

My Aunt’s two yorkies must have announced my arrival – she was waiting for me on the porch when I reached the walk.

Auntie wasn’t really my Aunt; she was actually my second cousin. But ‘cousin’ didn’t fit her for a number of reasons only one being the two-year age difference between her and my father. Shortly after the ’94 earthquake, she and Cindy became roommates in a house big enough for them to comfortably share – both had recently developed a fear of living alone.

Cindy, as a child, was my shadow. She was the youngest of my two sisters and I, was her protector. Though sometimes this arrangement proved to be a pain, I accepted it – after all, that was my job as the oldest sibling.

As we grew up, the dynamics of our relationship changed. Cindy’s dependence on me lessened as she approached adulthood. She came no longer to rely on me to fight her battles and even resented my intervention. My sister distanced herself from me and I allowed it.

The years mounted in which we had little to do with one another. I married, moved away and began a family of my own. It wasn’t until divorce and my return to that part of the state where I’d spent my teenage years, and where my sister still lived, that we began communicating again.

It was a difficult time for me – a penniless single mother with two small children and an ex-husband who promised to make my life miserable. And it was my baby sister who came to my rescue, providing me with an apartment where I could make a new start.

That act brought about another change – dissolving the hierarchy that she, as a young adult, had come to resent. She had become my protector.

From the front porch on Irving Street my Aunt waited with a mingled look of humor and concern.

“Oh, I’m so glad you’re here! I thought I was going to have to shave your sister’s head!”

I held up the can of solvent and said, “I’ve got this one.”

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