Love –from my story file

This monologue has been in my file since 1970.  It is a soul-stirring story of sibling rivalry.  I have let students of mine use this in contests and programs, but it has been sitting idle in my file since 1989.  The copy is yellowed and the mimeograph ink is fading.  I thought perhaps this Valentine’s Day would be an appropriate time to bring it to life once more. The story is told by a girl, 15 years old.

Love

Author Unknown 

Love, the most frequently used word in the English language; I wonder why.  It is used so often when there seems so little of it left.

I suppose the whole story started the day my sister was born.  From the moment she was carried into the house my life has been one big contest.  You see, I was five when she was born and was always the center of attention.  Everyone spoiled me with toys and candy.  It was always, “How’s my little Leslie?  I have a big surprise for you.”  And after that they would take me to the mall and buy me everything in sight. So, you can see for someone else to come and steal the spotlight was quite a blow.  Yes, the second she entered the house I was thrown aside and she was smothered with kisses and “Ooooos and Ahhhhhhs.”  It was understandable though, because she was a beautiful baby. Visiting relatives would lean over her crib and she would smile, gurgle, and kick her chubby legs for them.

I remember once when I was rocking her to sleep in her cradle, I gave it a mighty shove and she came tumbling out.  She wasn’t hurt, but I was punished.  As Julie grew older, matters grew worse.  She had this terrible habit of following me wherever I went.   It was always, “Leslie, can I come with you?”  The answer was always, “No, so will you lay off you little brat.”  She would always start to cry and Mother would come running in and I would get into trouble. It was the same thing all the time.  Wherever I went, Julie followed.  All her little hints of love and affection just made me hate her worse.  I tried to tell Mother how I felt but I guess my wording wasn’t right.  “Mom, I hate Julie. . .” but before I even finished my sentence I was admonished, “How dare you say that about your little sister!  She adores you.  Now go to your room and stay there until I say you can come out.”

Well, that’s how things were in our household . . . that is until two weeks ago.  It was just a regular Saturday and I was so bored.  I was cranky.  My homework wasn’t done and I wasn’t in the mood to do it.  After lunch my mother asked me to mail a letter for her.  The mailbox on the corner was two blocks down the street.  I was just about ready to leave when Julie asked if she could go too.  I was too tired to argue and said, “Sure.”  As we were walking, I began to feel better.  The cool air cleared my head and it felt good.  Before I knew it, we were almost at the mailbox.  Julie was getting bored with me because I had not said anything to her. She grabbed the letter and yelled, “Race you to the mailbox,” which was across the street.

She never made it.

It happened so fast I didn’t have time to call out.  Now she was lying in the street.  After that it was a blurry nightmare.  The man whose car hit her must have called the ambulance.  Someone did.  I stood there frozen not even able to scream.   I suppose most people would have been hysterical but I just stood there.  I felt empty . . . just empty . . . that’s all . . . empty.  I felt as if someone had just cut a big hole in me.  Somehow, Julie was taken to the hospital.  I hate hospitals.   They smell like medicine and are so quiet.

I was in the waiting room with my parents for what seemed like a century when the doctor came out.  One look on his face and I knew.  My parents stood as he walked toward them.  They probably knew too, but there is always a glimmer of hope.  The doctor told them he was very sorry and that he didn’t think Julie would survive.  Her chances were very slim.  Then I felt it.  I felt that thing called love.  It came in a rush from way down deep after being buried for all those years.  I had loved my sister for ten years and I didn’t know it.  That night I asked if I could see her.  At first they said “No” but finally I was allowed a short visit.  I tiptoed into the room hoping that she would be asleep.  She wasn’t.

She was lying very still, staring at the ceiling.  Then she heard me come in.  She turned and smiled at me weakly.

“Hi, Julie.”

“Hi” she replied.

I sat down beside her bed and took her hand lightly.

“Leslie, may I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“Why did you come to see me?”

“With tears rolling down my face, I replied, “Because I . . . love you, Julie.”

For the first time in her life she looked really happy, I mean really happy.”

“I love you too, Leslie.”

Only a short time later, Julie died with a smile on her face.

Love, I didn’t know I had it until I lost it.

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