Saturday, 5 November 2016

From The Heart: Always & Forever (A Story)

       Here we are again. Back to the hardest day of the year for me. Twenty-three years ago today, I lost my beautiful older sister, Henna. I never got to meet her, which is partly why today is so hard for me. I've always wanted an older sister and I am just infuriated that it was ripped away from my family and I. When I was going through the depression episode over loosing her in 2014, which I've mentioned numerous times on here, I wrote this story. And today, I am sharing that story with you.

                                                        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
     It was a cold gloomy day in November. Overcast with a chance of rain. During lunch that day, I sat on a bench away from everyone else and cried until I noticed a penny on the ground. I picked it up and read the date. 1993. I smiled the tinest smile as a tears flowed from my chocolate brown eyes.
I smiled to myself and chuckled. "I found a penny from my guardian angel."
     A few seconds later, I saw another penny a few feet away. And another a few feet away from the second penny. And then another. I kept following the penny trail, laughing through my tears until I came across a woman with beautiful exotic features who was casually sitting on a rock. Her long brown hair was open, cascading down her back. She wore a simple white dress, and strappy brown heels. What drew me to this person was the familiarity of this person. It was if I somehow knew her.
     "Hello." I said, uncertainty in my voice.
     "Hello, Felicity. I'm Henna. I've been waiting for you." said this person. Her voice was soft and sweet. Like the bubbling of a small waterfall.
     Without thinking, I lunged at Henna, threw my arms around her and hugged her as if my life depended on it. Henna hugged me back. A big genuine hug, that only some people were capable of giving.
     "Oh Henna!" I cried, as she wiped away my tears. "I thought I'd have to attempt suicide before I'd see you again. What in heavens name are you doing here on Earth?"
     Henna threw her head back and laughed. Her laughed sounded like a chorus of the bells on Santa's sleigh. Then her face became more serious as she looked at me with a stern look.
     "I am here because it seems that I have some unfinished business I never took care of before I left.  
     "You say that you were born in place of me?" Henna asked, looking down at me.
     "You heard my prayer." I said astonished.
     "No, Jesus heard your prayer. He said me down as your answer. I am here to help you fix your problem. But the catch is, we only have one week to do it. You with me?" Henna said, standing up and offering me her hand. 
     I stood up, laughed and took Henna's hand. "I don't know who you are but I'm with you." I said as we took off running towards the YHS campus parking lot.
     "Henna?" I said stopping suddenly. Henna stopped next to me, panting.
     "What?" she asked me.
     "You're an angel. Why can't you fly us to where I want to go?" I look at her with a mysterious look.
     "Yes, I can fly and I will fly you somewhere. But while I'm here, I want to live like you do. Now, where is your car?"
     "It's right here. Follow me." I took her hand and we walked towards my car. Henna sat in the passenger seat and I sat in the drivers seat. She looked around the car, touching different parts of it.
     "So this is what a car is. I've always wanted to ride in one. I can't believe I'm letting my little sister drive me somewhere." Henna said, and sat back in the seat.
     "Um, Henna. I can't see the cars behind me because your wings are in my way. Can you make them smaller?" I asked, as I started the car and began to slowly reverse.
     "Oh," she laughed, "Yes of course. I also should probably wear something more human like." Henna said and with a wave of her hand, her beautiful white wings disappeared and her white dress changed into blue jeans, a loose white top and her shoes turned into Nikes. Henna's hair now cascaded down her back in a gorgeous dutch braid.
     "Where are we going?" Henna asked me.
     "To one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Yosemite National Park."I said as I drove us to Yosemite. 
     On the drive, I turned on her music and Avril Lavigne blasted through the speakers. I rocked out to the song while Henna looked at me with a disgusted look.
     "What? It's a good song..." I said, looking at her out of the corner of my eye.
     "It has so many vulgar words. I can't believe our parents let you listen to that stuff." Henna replied. I laughed and switched the music to something classical.
     For the next few hours I showed Henna all the amazing parts of Yosemite. From Bridalveil Falls, to Half Dome, to the Ansel Adams Gallery. At the end of the day my phone had no more storage for any more pictures because we took so many. 
     "Dang, Lissie. Thanks for showing me all of Yosemite. It's like heaven on Earth." Henna said.
     "It really is." I replied. We rode in silence for a few moments.
     "Yes?" I asked, looking at Henna who was looking down at her shoes. She took a deep breath before asking, "What are our parents like?"
     "Our dad is amazing, he's so kind and genuine. He really helps me through all of my issues. I swear, I have more issues than the Vogue magazine. Our mother, is amazing too. She's the nicest and most caring person in the world. We fight a lot but I know she means well. I wouldn't be able to live without them."
     "Can I meet them?" Henna asked quietly.
     I slowly stopped the car at the red light before answering. After a minute, I turned to face Henna and put a hand hers. "Of course. They will love you. I'll tell them that you're new to YHS and that you want to spend the night." We drove the rest of the way home in silence.
     When we got home, we both walked in from the garage door. Before entering the house, Henna made a "sleepover" bag materialize out of thin air. Her magic never failed to surprise me.
     "Hi mum!" I called as I put my keys in my backpack and took off my shoes. 
     "Hi, Rosy! I'm in the kitchen. How was school today?" my mum called.
     I walked over to where my mum was cooking some delicious smelling food. Henna stood a few paces behind me.
     "It was good. Sorry I got home late. I got..." I looked at Henna. She giggled.
     "...distracted." we said in unison. I laughed with her now.
     "Who is this?" my mum asked me when she turned around from mixing something on the stove. I saw a look of recognition pass over her face but she quickly recovered it. I knew she noticed the same familiarity in Henna I did.
     "Mum, this is Henna. She's new to YHS. I hope you don't mind if she spends the night." I said as I cleaned my hands with sanitizer and began to set the table for dinner. 
     "Of course. Stay as long as you like."
     My dad walked in just then. His eyes got big when he saw Henna and I knew that he knew exactly who she was. He walked over to her hand shook her hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Henna." he said smiling. 
     "It's a pleasure to meet both of you." Henna said, her eyes watering with tears.
     "Why the tears, Henna?" my mum asked her.
     "You remind me of my parents." Henna said. "I've never met them thought. I live with some extended family."
     "I'm sorry to hear that. Please make yourself at home. Rosy, when you're done setting the table, why don't you show Henna around? I'll call you when dinner's ready." my mum suggested.
     "Sure. Henna, I'll show you my room first." I said as we ran up the stairs. 
     After dinner that night, when my parents and brother were fast asleep, Henna and I sat in front of the fire and chatted. We spend hours laughing, sharing stories and taking selfies on my's phone.
                                                          ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
     The next day was Saturday so Henna and I slept in and then went to dance class that afternoon. 
     Naturally, Henna was a beautiful ballerina and even made Elsa envious. After class we stopped at Cool Bean. There we met Mark, who was the youth pastor at the church I went to.
     "Hey, Felicity!" Mark said walking up to us. 
     "Hi Mark. How are you?" I smiled when he hugged me.
     "I'm great." Markus said before turning to Henna. "What's your name?"
     "I'm Henna."
     "It's a pleasure to meet you Henna." Markus said before giving me a weird look.
     I gave him a look and mouthed that I would text him later. 
     We got our drinks and left. As we were leaving we ran into Elsa again.
     "You were beautiful in class today guys." she said as she passed us.
     "Thanks." Henna and I replied. When Elsa went inside and Henna was sure she was looking, flipped her off.
     "Henna!" I scolded, laughing. "You out of all people should know better."
     "I'm sorry. I've been dying to do that to her after the way she's treated you the past few years."
     "How did you know that?" I asked, astonished.
     Henna pointed to herself. "I'm an angel." she said proudly. "I know things."
     "You're terrible." I said, shaking my head. 
     That night Henna and I watched the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy. We chatted about my plans to either become a neurosurgeon or psychotherapist and what that would mean for the world one day.
                                                  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
     As the days past Henna and I did the things I always wanted to do with an older sibling, from going shopping with her, to having photoshoots, to going to a party. 
     One night, as we were lying in the back of my truck, gazing up at the stars, Henna told me she had to tell me something.
     "What is it?" I asked, sitting up, bringing my braid over my shoulder.
     Henna looked down before looking at me. As she took my hands in hers she said, "Tonight is my last day here. I go back to Heaven tomorrow afternoon."
     "What? I'm not ready." I said as I began to sob again.
     Henna wrapped her arms around me and held her tight. "This isn't exactly easy for me either. I've been happier here on Earth, than I ever am in the skies. I've met my family, but most of all, I've gotten to know what a beautiful, compassionate girl you are. You don't need me here. You only think you do."
     "Henna, I need you. I've been needing you for EIGHTEEN years. You know I always longed for an older sibling. I can't just let you go." I said looking into her eyes fiercely.
     "I will always be here with you. You just have to close your eyes. Now please, let us spend our last night together without tears."
     "Okay." we leaned back on the pillows and looked back up at the stars.
     "Henna, what have we done?" I asked quietly.
     "Learned the truth." she replied.
     "Closed a door." 
     "Opened more."
     "I'm scared, Henna." I said, my voice barely above a whisper.
     "Of what?" Henna asked, her voice full of curiosity.
     "Being alone." I replied quietly.
     Henna sat up. "But you're not. You never have been. If we stood on our tiptoes, we could peer over the sill. And once in a while we would see a girl, slowly walking up the hill." she sang.
     I smiled before singing back, "And we'd think what a sad situation. To be outside on your own."
"To go through the town with no playmate. To go through life all alone."
     We turned towards each other, holding hands we sang in perfect unison. "I will never leave you. I will never go away. We were meant to share each moment, beside you is where I will stay. Evermore and always, we'll be one though we're two, for I will never leave you."
     Henna let go of my hand and turned away. 
     "What's wrong?" I asked her, my voice full of concern. 
     "I can't do this sis. It hurts to much." she said, her voice breaking.
     I took her hand. "I can. I'll be big enough for us to say, be happy. Come on."
     Henna looked over her shoulder at me. With tears in her eyes she said, "When the day is filled with shadows, that stretch into the night."
"I am fill with your sweet comfort like morning filled with light." 
     Leaping out of the truck, hand in hand, we began spinning around each other. Suddenly Henna's wings appeared. As we kept spinning, we lifted off the ground. Still spinning we sang, "I will never leave you. I will never go away. We were meant to share each moment. Beside you is where I will stay. Evermore and always. We'll be one though we're two. For I will never leave you." 
     We stared at each other for a moment before falling into an embrace and gently floated back to the ground.
     After several minutes of hugging, we crawled back into my truck and feel asleep.
                                                    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
     "Lissie, wake up." Henna said nudging me. 
     "What is it Henna. Let me sleep more." I said rolling over.
     "Look around you." Henna said, wonder in her voice.
Rubbing my eyes, I sat up and looked around me.
     "Whoa!" I said, in bewilderment.
     "I've never seen a sunrise before." Henna said, looking all around her at the beautiful colors in the sky. 
     "God, must be really happy that we finally got a chance to meet." I said, happily. 
     "I'm sure he is." 
We sat there for a few minutes, not wanting to miss a moment of the beautiful performance of colors that floated throughout the sky.
     "This is the pretties sunrise I've ever seen." I said, smiling.
     "It sure is." said someone behind us.
We turned around to see my dad, taking pictures of the sunrise.
     "Morning dad!" I said.
     "Morning Mr. Neill." said Henna.
     "Please, call me Dad."  my dad told Henna as he turned back to his camera, too fixated on the beautiful sunrise to hold a conversation with us. 
     "Thanks for sharing your home with me...Dad." Henna said, tears streaming down her face. Luckily, her voice did not break. 
     "You're welcome. Come back anytime." 
     We turned around and sat, hand in hand, enjoying the beauty of nature.
                                                  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
     Henna drove me to school that day. She picked up really easily. No one would be able to catch her doing something bad anyways. We sat in my parking spot for minute. Not saying anything. Just simply being together.
     "So this is where I leave you, Lissie." Henna said quietly.
     "Will I ever see you again?" I asked.
     "You will. One day." Henna said as she got out of my car. I slowly followed her lead.
     She reached for me and gave me a big hug. I hugged her back with tears streaming down my face. As she pulled away she leaned back in and very lightly kissed me on the cheek.
     "Thank you for showing me what your life is like. I am so honored to be you sister. Now go, and don't look back. I don't want this to be any more harder on you." 
     "I can't go. I love you too much. The worst thing about loving someone is the day you loose them." I said giving her another hug.
     She hugged me back, shorter this time.
     "You won't ever loose me. I will always be smiling next to you. In silent lucidity. Now go!" she said, giving me a gentle shove in the direction of my first class.
I moved slightly so I wouldn't fall but didn't turn around to go to class. 
RIIIINNNNGGG!! Went the first school bell signaling to us that we had seven minutes to get to class.
     "GO!" Henna commanded.
I wiped the tears from my face, grabbed my bag and keys before running away as fast as I could.
                                                    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
     When I got home from school I found a gift on my bed. Opening up the card I read allowed,
My dear sweet sister,
     Just because you cannot see me, does not mean I am not there. Just because I'm in heaven doesn't not mean I do not care. I often see you crying, you often say my name. I want to hold you tight. I want to ease your pain. It's easy for me, for I know heaven is real. If you knew the truth, how much better you would feel. One day we will meet again. But only when the time is right. When you step out of the darkness I will be standing in the light.
     Thank you for showing me what it's like to be human. If you ever need me just whisper my name and I will be there. You are a gorgeous person inside and out. You have this amazing aura that will light up the world. I am so proud to be your sister.
Love Always and Forever,

In the gift box was a necklace with a double infinity pendant. On the back engraved it was the words: Your Guardian Angel Loves You.
I sat back on my pillows and held the letter lose to my heart.
I love you Henna. I whispered. 

With that said, I put on my necklace, put the letter safely away in my diary and move on with my life.

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