Ariane Moore

Professor Van Kirk

English 201H

30 August 2008

Little Sister

The would-be sunny afternoon had been turned into a gray, lifeless twilight by huge black storm clouds which now had completely opened and were releasing their fury. The sky became the throne of Zeus, and his lightning strikes more frequent and vicious with every passing minute. Thunder rolled across the hills, and a barrage of thick, heavy raindrops pelted the umbrellas of everyone present. Mud was still caked on everyone's shoes, but at the moment, it was the farthest thing from their minds. A circle of twenty-five to thirty people were all fixated on one spot; ignoring the rain and the thunder and the mud; all reading one line of text over and over again as if it were some part of a bad dream:

Here Lies Jessica Moore

June 18, 1994 - June 18, 1994

Deafening rain hid tears and sobs. The priest, whom was trying his best to make his words heard, fell silent on most ears – however, for some it was better to be left to their own thoughts. A tall woman with thick blonde hair stood nearest the casket, and a child of knee height clutched her hand and gazed on the scene with big blue eyes. For the child, death was a new experience… even though it was her own baby sister in the coffin, she just could not grasp the concept of something suddenly ceasing to exist.

"Mommy?" she said quietly.

The child turned and looked up to make eye contact, but her mother simply stared ahead. The only reaction was a light squeeze of her hand, but this was not enough to satisfy the youngster.

"Mommy," She said again, this time leaning closer and whispering a little more urgently.

The mother relented her gaze and looked down. "What is it?"

"Why did Jessica die?"

The mother's lip quivered and she shut her eyes. Such a simple question, but it unearthed a million different answers: because four months isn't enough time for a baby to grow; because a doctor declared Jessica still-born even though she could feel her kicking and moving; because God hated her, or because she doubted her religion; these and many, many more raced through her mind all at once. A tear rolled down her cheek and she bit her lip.

"Because, Ariane, she was too good for this world."

The child, though young as she was, could see the pain the question had caused and looked to the ground in response. Her mother turned back to her stoic gazing, and the thunder continued its incessant barrage of noise.

That day, the child learned a very important lesson – one that might have taken others more than four years of life to learn. Despite tragedy – death – life went on. The world kept on spinning. Also, she realized life is a precious, fragile thing, and should not be wasted.

And over her sister's grave, she vowed never to forget it.