I see her in my mind’s eye: the bright red of her hair shining in the sun’s light, pigtails flying, green eyes sparkling as she swings on the backyard swingset. She is fair-complected like her Irish forebears, freckled by the sun she loves so much.
In my dreams, I stand behind her pushing her higher and higher as she squeals in delight.
“Higher, brother, higher,” she says. So I comply, pushing her up towards the sky.
She is always five, happy, precocious, precious as we play. We roll in the grass, staining our clothes. We chase my cat into the trees behind our parent’s property. She is a joy–full of laughter and life.
I will always keep her safe. No harm will come to her as long as I’m alive. I am her big brother.
Our mother calls us in for dinner. Missy, for that’s her name, can’t come inside. I wonder why. She’s just as much a part of this family as I.
“It’s okay, brother,” she says. “I’ll be here tomorrow when it’s time to play.” I go in for the night, eat my dinner, say my prayers…
Then I wake up. I’m not a little boy, but a man grown. And then I remember: I’ve never met my sister. Her life ended before it even began, scraped from our mother’s womb. Because two sons, and a burgeoning career, were enough–perhaps too much.
I see my sister, sitting on Daddy’s knee, laughing, waiting for me. Someday the faith shall be sight.
Until then, Missy.