Abigail was born first. Quiet and smiling. She fell asleep in her daddy’s arms within minutes of entering the world. Her presence seemed to settle any room. Grandma Suzanne said that this one would be “a Peacemaker.”
Beatrix came a few minutes later, with her voice heard before she was seen. It was only after her eyes were cleared and had seen her sister that those cries ended. “A warrior” Grandma said, with a chuckle and pat to my head. No bully would be safe in the neighborhood ever again.
Now entering 4th grade, Abby and Bea could still trick new teachers and classmates by switching places. They had the same wavy red-hair that went just past the shoulders. The same casual style based on whatever jeans and t-shirt was clean (or at least smelled clean). Both girls took off at the recess bell for the playground to play soccer, tag, or whatever game they could get into quickly. And at home their room was in constant chaos as one make believe world was being created after another.
But those of us who knew these girls more than just a few days could see the differences. It came down to those first few moments of life and how they would take on a challenge.
When a cat wandered into the neighborhood last summer, Abigail spotted him first. He had a scratched up leg that caused a limp. Based on his size, he had not eaten well for a few days so a cup of milk was her first task. Abby got a box from the basement, some old towels, and created a “Kitty Oasis” on the back porch. All my little girl wanted was for that cat to be safe and loved. That was the best medicine.
Beatrix had a different plan for how to help. She had her sister hold up the cat for a picture, then went door to door from one street to the next in search of the owner, or of anyone who might have seen what happened to Bruce (named after her favorite superhero’s alter-ego). Once I accepted that stopping this mission was impossible, I followed alongside to ensure that Bea’s questions would not go too far and that little hand would not shove her phone too deep into stranger’s doorways.
My Peacemaker and My Warrior. And our Bruce.
When I told them I was headed for a quick trip to the store, each voice piped up with a request. Abigail wanted some sliced up oranges to share with a friend at school. And Beatrix asked for an apple peeler to see if the fruit from the orchard out back is ready yet.
Of course My Wonderful Girls.
This story is a response to the Flash Fiction Challenge by Fractured Faith Blog.