96943_000_011There was a chill between us until the morning my little sister was almost killed.
My little sister and I weren’t the best of friends. But then, I guess we weren’t the worst of enemies either. Looking back at it, I guess we were typical teenage siblings. Sure, we loved each other, but we didn’t always show it.
We lived in an old Quaker farmhouse in the eastern Pennsylvania countryside. I was in ninth grade, Jenni was in seventh, and we both went to the same middle school. Every day we would walk to our own private bus stop, board the bus, and sit in separate seats. We didn’t want to be seen together. We didn’t even want our friends to see us talking to each other. It wasn’t cool.
But my heart changed one day. It was a cold, frosty, late-fall morning. I remember riding home from early-morning seminary in a dense fog. We had to drive slower than normal because we couldn’t see very far ahead. As soon as we arrived home, I went into the dining room, sat down, and began eating the scrambled eggs Dad had made.
Jenni came downstairs and joined us. My older brother and sister had to leave earlier than I did, so Jenni and I were soon sitting alone eating breakfast. We argued over something at the breakfast table—something so insignificant I can’t remember what it was anymore.
As usual, Jenni and I walked the distance to the bus stop without saying a word to each other. Our coats were bundled tight, and our scarves warmed our necks.
I arrived at the end of our quarter-mile, tree-lined driveway first. The fog was dense. I knew the sun was up, but we couldn’t see very much. I looked down the winding, two-lane highway for cars. I looked the other way. I couldn’t see more than 20 feet through the fog, so I listened keenly for sounds of traffic. I knew the coast was clear, so I darted across the highway safely to the bus stop.
I stood and waited for Jenni and the bus. Neither came. There was no traffic, either.
Am I even at the bus stop? I thought. I looked down at the gravel and knew that I was.
Suddenly, the sound of tires screeching caused my heart and body to jump. I looked, but couldn’t see anything. Is the car going to hit me? I wondered in an instant.
Then, through the thick haze I saw Jenni dodging a car. She ran to me for safety, but stopped, not knowing if she dared hug me. The car had missed her by inches.
My heart filled with love and concern for her. I wrapped my arms around her as she cried.
“It’s okay,” I said. “Everything is okay.”
I held her for what seemed several minutes, then let go. Soon the bus arrived, and we were on our way.
Ever since then, when my friends or family have been in difficult times of their lives, we’ve held hands and crossed through the fog together.