Monday, March 31, 2014

Daisy and Sarah

I looked at the clock as I woke up. It was 6:22 AM on a Saturday in late June of 2013. I would be dead 12 hours and 11 minutes later. I was seven years old.

I always hated my name: Daisy. What kind of a name is that? I was not a flower. I did not bloom from the ground.  But I guess it was ok because I got my name from my sister Sarah. She was three years older than me, and she was my hero. When Sarah first saw me, I was being cuddled in my mother's arms. I was tiny and precious, small noises coming from me, sounding very much like a purr.

"What shall we name your little sister?"

"Penny", Sarah said.

"That's good, really good, but anything else you can think of" my mother asked.

"Wendy, Tony, Patty,  Nancy." It seemed certain my name would end in a "y".

"Daisy, because she smells good."

"Daisy, it is" my mother said.

My habit was to jump into Sarah's bed every morning, as soon as I woke up, and cuddle with her. When I was smaller, Sarah used to love this, holding me so tight I thought I would burst.
But she grew tired of this after a while, and this morning, like so many others, she yelled out to my parents in the next room: "Mom, Daisy's bothering me."

"Daisy, leave Sarah alone. Let her sleep. It's Saturday morning. Nobody is getting up with you yet."
I waited as I almost always did for everyone to start their day.

This Saturday I had no real plans except to follow Sarah around no matter what she was doing. I thought she had some girlfriends coming to our house in the afternoon, but I wasn't certain.

It was 8 AM before my mother got out of bed and went downstairs to make breakfast for the family. She was dressed in the tee shirt that she wore to bed almost every night once spring arrived. It was an old baseball shirt that my father had worn when he was much younger.

She opened the door to the backyard for me. I loved this yard, with all its nooks and crannies. I could run around there for hours, and every chance I got, I headed out there.

"Don't wander Daisy, breakfast will be ready in a minute."

In the distance, I heard the loud, unmistakeable sounds of Timmy. I didn't like him. He was very mean. He scared me. He lived around the corner, and on many days we would pass one another. I always ran as fast as I could to make sure I got away from him.

"Daisy, breakfast."

I moved out from behind the tree, where I had been digging a little hole. I shook myself off, and hurried inside. I was very hungry.

Sarah and my dad were already in the kitchen when I got there. Sarah was eating the cereal she loved so much. She always made sure to give me a bite or two, despite my parents telling her not to.

I ate very quickly, my food gone well before everyone else. My dad was always the last to finish. He studied the newspaper between bites, hardly looking up to see what the rest of us were doing. He was nice, but never seemed to pay much attention to me.

Until I was four, we lived in the city. I never liked it because it seemed that I was never free to do what I wanted. When we moved to the country, to the house with the big backyard, I was very happy. There was so much more space for my toys. That morning, after finishing my food, I went searching for my favorites and played with them for a long time.

When I got tired, I looked out the big window in the living room, letting the sun warm me. I stayed there staring at everything that was going on, and I think I even fell asleep for a little. That is until I heard Timmy as he headed past our house on a morning walk with his family. He got very noisy as he came closer, and his mother scolded him. "Keep quiet, Timmy. Leave Daisy alone."

The rest of the morning passed quickly. Sarah watched some tv shows and then went to her computer, playing some games and making plans for the afternoon with her friends. Mom showered first and then dad. After, they both sat down in the living room sipping their coffee and reading. I kept mostly to myself, sometimes walking close to Sarah and gently nudging her to pay attention to me.

"It's too nice a day to do nothing" Mom said. "We are going to take a little ride".

l loved being in the car. I would mostly curl up and fall asleep as soon as we went anywhere more than a few minutes away. My favorite trip was to visit mom's brother Harry. He lived in a house with Terry and Groucho. Terry was my age, and my size, and we were always so happy to see one another. As soon as I got to Harry's I would go looking for Terry and once we got together, well we never wanted to be apart.

And so, we headed over to Harry's for lunch. "Hello Daisy", Harry yelled as he spotted me running out of the car. "How is the big girl doing?" But I would have nothing to do with him, for I was on a hunt for Terry. And when I found her, I ran in circles, going faster and faster, as we chased one another forever. "Slow down girls", Harry said,"or one of us is going to trip over you." Everyone in my family was laughing as they watched Terry and me. It was perfect.

Way too soon it was time to leave. Sarah's friends were coming to our house and we couldn't be late. As we got back into our car, I looked out the window to get one last glimpse of Terry, but she was nowhere to be found.

Sometimes, Sarah would let me rest my head on her lap during our car rides. This was one of those times. And when she looked right into my eyes and said "Daisy, I love you", my body just about melted into hers. My sister gently stroked my hair until I fell into a deep sleep.

I woke up when the tires of the car hit the gravel of our driveway. We had a pretty long driveway and a yard in the front of the house, not as big as in the back, and not fenced in, but still with plenty of room to play.

Soon, Sarah's two friends came over. It was late afternoon, after 5PM and they were planning to stay for dinner and a sleepover.

"Hello Daisy", Samantha said. "Hello Daisy" Leslie said. I nodded a greeting to both of them.

Dad was making hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill in the back. It would be a little while before dinner was going to be ready.

Normally, Sarah and I went to the backyard to play. But for some reason, today, Sarah asked if it was okay to go out front.

"Just make sure if Daisy is with you that she doesn't wander into the street" my mother said. "It is your job to watch out for her".

"I will" Sarah promised.

Sarah, Samantha and Leslie were on the same softball team this summer. Each of the girls had brought her mitt along. They decided to have a catch. I was very good at chasing after balls.

It was 6:30. Dinner would be ready in just a little while. The girls were almost finished and ready to head in. Then I heard Timmy coming around the corner.

Sarah yelled for me to come to her. I was just so mad at Timmy that I couldn't listen. I was so tired of him and decided that I would not be afraid any longer.

As he headed past our driveway, I made a dash for him. I was going to run around him in circles, going faster and faster, sure that he could  never catch me.

"Stop, Daisy, stop." Sarah was screaming. "Stop."

Just as I headed full steam past Timmy, a big black car drove by. I never saw it.

As I lay there, I was sorry that I hadn't listened to my sister. I could hear her crying a type of cry I have never heard before. It was more like moaning and she was calling my name over and over. I couldn't walk up to her and nudge her. I couldn't put my head in her lap. I couldn't tell her it was not her fault.

My father and mother came running as fast as they could, trying to calm Sarah down. It would be many hours before she would stop crying and many months before she would smile again.

I, Daisy the dog, was cremated and my ashes were placed in a small box on the windowsill near where I loved to sun myself on warm summer days. Every day I make sure to tell Sarah not to be sad, that I still love her and miss her..

And that she is still my hero.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We sure know how much it hurts to lose them.