This story is by Scott Granado and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
In my last entry I said Mom and Dad were evil, especially in how they treat Soefi. Well, over the past several days they’ve become less evil and it all drained into me a few hours ago. In one of my rages, I ripped up Soefi’s magical art gift from Mayra. Just like that.
Before today, these past few days have been amazingly good. For starters, shortly after Soefi slipped the art in front of Dad, he began to actually care and give of his time to her, Mom and me. Same deal with Mom. She even hugged Soefi and me two days ago. Can’t remember when that last happened.
The Mom/Dad yell hell has mostly gone away. Soefi’s middle-of-the-night cries, too. Mostly.
Soefi shared that when she spent time with the art, she saw beautiful things and could feel and talk with its maker – Mayra – a “young fairy angel girl.” Mayra said she was so happy to share her love, wonder and life with Soefi.
It gets deeper. Mayra told Soefi that their connection was so strong that Mayra’s life was dimming. Mayra didn’t understand everything but said she was given a message in a dream from the “Great One” when she turned seven and then again at eight. The Great One said, “Share your life and love and magic without reserve with whoever gratefully receives it, no matter what it takes, and you will exercise your part of the love gift. In doing this, I will be with you and all will be wonderful. Do you believe me?” Her answer each time: “Yes, my Great One.” Mayra said her Mommy and Daddy acted like they believed her at first, but then they didn’t seem to as they watched their little daughter’s life fade. I don’t get all this. Soefi seemed to though.
Soefi then told me something that I already could tell. When Dad and Mom look at the art, the life was drawn out of Mayra more quickly. I knew this because I had heard Mayra’s words in my head, too, as I looked at the art. Could talk with her too. Crazy. And awesome.
Now it gets more messed up times a thousand. Mayra said that Soefi was such a special little girl for not only the people of the ground lands, but for her people too. But, she was concerned for Soefi’s soft heart and fragile body, that Soefi’s spirit may be too good to remain in the ground lands much longer.
Mayra then said she had a message for me from the Great One: “Cris, you are Soefi’s warrior for her remaining time.” Mayra said that she felt it may be for weeks, may be for years, she didn’t know. The Great One did not say. The Great One went on to say that Soefi’s spirit – if protected – would save generations of the ground lands people and Mayra’s people.
Somehow I already knew I would be Soefi’s big brother warrior. And somehow, I couldn’t stop the tears. Weeks? I stuffed my head in my pillow and drenched it.
“No!” I said to Mayra, in my head. “No! Stop this, you can stop all this now!”
“I can not. It is bigger than all of us. Cris, I believe the Great One. ‘All will be wonderful.’ Do you believe this?”
“Cris, you are the warrior. Soefi needs you for her remaining time. And, you… I believe you are the one to complete-”
“No! No! No!” to Mayra, in my head. Then, “No!!” out loud. I threw the art down and stomped it again and again as the rainbow colors and magical animated creatures faded with each stomp. I then stopped, looked down at my feet on the paper, and before I could think, I did the ‘evil.’ I twisted my knees. The art ripped apart. In a scary fury I picked up the pieces and ripped them into smaller, tear-soaked pieces.
At that, I could no longer hear or sense Mayra. My temper just destroyed us all.
I gently scooped up the pieces, “No, no. Oh what have I done? This is gonna kill Soefi…”
As I opened the back door Soefi looked up and straight through my eyes – and not like a typical six year old. She already knew. I plodded over and held out the crumpled pieces. Soefi slumped and I fell to my knees to catch her. I feared in my gut that my baby sister was near death. No words.
Her eyes glistened with the saddest tears that ever came from an angel. I just held her.
She whispered, “Oh, my brother. She’s no longer here.”
“I’m so sorry. To you. To Mayra. I, I killed all the good we ever had.”
“Oh my brother.”
Soefi’s sobs fade. Silence.
“Cris… Mayra told me earlier that she felt she would soon be gone. She said that someone close may soon reject her love gift art and – with that – the art’s life would disappear and a “test” would start. I told her I didn’t understand.”
“A test? I ripped up the gift. Test failed.”
“No, I think she said after the bad thing then the test would start.”
“She said I needed to believe that I could make and share this kind of magical art gift. She was so happy when I shared her gift with Mommy, Daddy and especially you. She said you had a special gift too.”
Soefi continued, I had no words.
“And, she said it was the tippy-top important thing that we believed in the realness of the life and wonder and hope we felt with her and her gift, even if she and the gift were to go away for a short time. Even though she would ‘pass on,’ all would turn out to be wonderful.”
I helped her wipe her eyes. No words from me. She began to perk up.
“Mayra said it would all be like the wonder of a butterfly… She knew I loved butterflies. She knew I would get that. Do you believe? Please say you do. I think I do. I can if you can.”
How could I believe in something not seen or felt? How did a butterfly work into all this? What was going on? At least I kept my selfish mouth shut on all this and didn’t pierce my baby sister’s heart any further.
I looked away, blew my nose, turned back.
“Well, I think it is more like I can if you can.”
“OK, let’s do that. We believe.”
“OK… Yes, we believe.”
Soefi smiled. Hope had a chance. I was her warrior. Got it.
We gathered the pieces, and placed them on Soefi’s book shelf. I confessed to Mom and Dad about what I had done to the art, expecting to be blasted. It didn’t happen. No yelling, just sadness.
Mom and Dad have been pretty quiet, smiling less each day since I did the ripping. Soefi forgave me. She just can’t hate anyone, not like I can. She still hurts. I do too. For Soefi, Mayra, our families.
Soefi and I taped the paper pieces together. We’ve taken it out a few times over the past days, I hold one side, she holds the other. We talk about the wonder, life, the real stuff in that imaginary art. How our “hearts and souls soared” (Soefi’s words). We laughed, cried and sat quietly. And hoped. And believed – together.
This morning our belief changed everything.
Each morning we’d go to Soefi’s shelf, touch our taped-up art and remember the magic. This morning we went to the shelf and it was gone. Gone!
We ran to Mom and Dad. “Have you seen the paper?” “No,” Mom said, “It’s OK, it has to be around. I saw it on the shelf last night when I kissed you goodnight, Soefi.”
Rechecked. Not anywhere.
Then we heard a rustling. Windows closed. Very strange.
A smile broke out on Soefi and she bounced out the back door towards her tree. I followed, Mom and Dad at my heels.
I caught up and we saw the source. A flapping paper among the fall leaves? Not just any paper. A folded-paper butterfly with the most brilliant rainbow colors ever, fluttered down and circled Soefi. After a few seconds, it hovered by me and I sensed that it wanted me to hold out my hand. I did, it landed and stretched its wings way out. Tape pieces were barely clinging to the now new, whole wings. I knew what it was waiting for: I gently tugged each piece of tape off. And I felt I was becoming whole again. I had been forgiven. Soefi just hugged and hugged me.
At the last tape piece, the butterfly’s face appeared. There was a big smile, matched only by Soefi’s. And, a wink.
“Mommy, Daddy – oh, look, look! Mayra’s back! Mayra!”
And Soefi’s warrior is here.