One month earlier . . .

“Who is that Kyra,” asked Emy.

“It’s me and this one here is Grand,” said Kyra, taking the sketches back, her eyes as distant and misty as an October morning on the lake. Emy was the first one onboard to see these drawings. After Emy had shared her portfolio and so much of her life, Kyra felt the need to reciprocate.

“I don’t mean to pry, but I sense there is more to these sketches than just someone doodling away the time,” said Emy.

Kyra looked up. Her eyes vacant. Her mind elsewhere.

“I’m sorry Kyra, it’s really none of my business.”

“My sister drew them. In hospital. She was six,” said Kyra.

“I didn’t know you had a sister.”

“She was quite a few years younger than me. A ball of optimistic energy. I often pray that I might have half as much courage as she did.”

Emy couldn’t bring herself to ask but her eyes clearly showed she wanted to know more.

“I never cried so much in all my life. First time I ever saw Papa cry too. Sometimes we take more than we give. That little girl was just the opposite. A larger heart I have never seen. Even toward the end, she gave more than we could ever give back. Doctors said there was nothing they could do. We knew from birth. The defect was ticking. No one expected her to live more than a couple years, but she made it six. Perhaps she knew. Perhaps she was an angel in our midst, a gift to teach us how to live, how to give, how to love. How do you repay that?”

Emy sat stunned, not knowing what to say.

“It’s okay Emy. She lives. In these images. In my mind. But most of all, she lives in every fiber of my heart. You know what she told me in those last days? Emy, do you know what that little girl said?”

“I have no idea,” whispered Emy, trying to hold back her own tears.

“In her last days, when her voice could hardly be heard and we had to lean over to hear her speak, she called me close. She said, I love you Kyra. I love you with all my heart. You have been the best sister in the whole world and I have been the luckiest little girl to have had you for my big sister. And then . . .”

“And then what?” asked Emy.

“And then I started to cry and she told me my tears were like water. I asked her what she meant and she said just as Papa nourished his flowers with water, that my tears nourished her. She was six years old Emy. How does that come from a six year old? Can you tell me? How?”

Emy was speechless again.

“Then she said she had something for me. And she pulled out these two drawings. I started crying again and she looked up at me and said, Kyra, please hold my hands. So I did. And she smiled as only children smile. And she whispered, When you go to sleep at night and close your eyes, think of me and I will be there, always, forever because I love you Kyra and no thing, no person, not even this illness will keep me from living in your heart. That was the last time I saw her alive. She passed in the night.

Emy opened her arms and the two embraced and they cried.

“She was the blessed one Emy. She was the giver. And she was only six.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Emy, Paintings