Holiday Hopes

by Sophie M. S. Cooke

One

Holiday Hopes “Maria!” calls my little sister Emma from downstairs.

Many people may have confused the little 5 year olds voice for Emily’s, not me though. I should tell you I have two little sisters, Emily and Emma. They’re twins, and enjoy each the others company as best friends rather than siblings. I have a little brother too, Andy; he’s only two years old. Although what the trendy thing now seems to be – getting in numerous fights with your parents and hating them half the time – I really love my parents, they’re really very understanding. You could almost say I have a perfect family.

“Maria!” calls Emily this time.

“What you guys?” I answer.

“It’s time for our ballet class and we have to go now,” Emma said.

“I’m not coming this time, I have too much homework.” I call down the small, spiral staircase that goes from my third floor room (it’s the ONLY room on the third floor) down to the kitchen.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come?” asked Emma.

“Yeah, are you guys taking Andy or am I watching him?” I ask.

“Hold on, I’ll ask,” said Emma.

“You mean we’ll ask” I heard Emily telling Emma.

A minute or two later Emma and Emily came barreling up the iron staircase. Emma reaches the top just moments before Emily.

“He’s coming with us” said Emma.

“I think he likes our dance music.” Emily added.

“Okay, have fun” I said before they left. The house seems so quiet when nobody’s home it has three floors, plus a basement. I heard the heavy mahogany front doors shut and our minivan’s engine starting, out the window I saw the car leave our driveway. I guess I should say that I lied about the homework, but it’s because I have to wrap Christmas presents. It’s only December 13th but I already have all my Christmas shopping done.

I leave my room and walk down the stairs, the sound echoes through our empty house. I walk into the little room on the second floor that we use as a wrapping room. That’s right a wrapping room, it’s not like we’re wrapping fanatics or anything we just had an extra room and Mom thought it would be fun. I wrap all of Emily’s presents in silver wrapping paper with gold snowflakes and Emma’s vice versa. The phone rings and I rush down the large second floor hallway to one of the phones.

“Hello?” I answer in a very polite voice.

“Hello, this is Officer Shaw. I’m afraid we have some bad news …”

Two

“What kind of bad news?” I ask shakily. “Your family has been in a car accident, we have taken them to 4th Street Hospital. Is there anybody at home that could drive you down here?”

“No,” I say sobbing “I’m only 13.”

“We’ll send somebody over immediately to pick you up be ready to go, you may want to pack an over-night bag.”

“I’ll be ready.” I say and hang up the phone. As soon as it’s hung up I start sobbing uncontrollably. I think to myself; “Why didn’t I ask how bad it was?” All I can do is pack and be ready to go.

A police car comes down the street at top speed with it’s sirens on. It doesn’t even stop before I run out of the house. I jump in and he speeds away. I have so many questions but I simply can’t think of any words to ask them with.

When we get to the hospital the officer doesn’t even have time to park before I jumped out of the car. I run to reception screaming, “Somebody! Anybody! Please!”

A young nurse comes out and asks “What is it?”

“I need to get to my family they were in a car crash, our last name’s Thomas!”

The nurse hurriedly walked me down a hall to the Emergency section and showed me only one room.

“Why is there only one room? There are five of them!”

“I’m sorry dear, but your mother and father’s injuries were fatal, your little brother’s were too severe for such a young child to manage. Your little sister Emily has only a fractured wrist and your sister Emma is in a coma. The doctor is in there if you have any questions about any of them,” she said and left me there alone.

After all the bad news it helped only a bit that Emily was fine and Emma was alive. I saw the doctor and asked first about Emma. He told me that the car that hit them had run into them on them on the left side, the side Emma had been on and put her into a coma almost instantly. Andy had been in the middle and was hit more lightly, but was too young to live with the injuries. I then asked what her chances of survival and was told she had a 7% chance of survival. This sent me into a fit of hot tears.

“Where’s Emily’s room?” I asked the doctor.

“Right this way,” he said leading me down the hallway.

We got to a room where Emily ran to me her face scraped, eyes full of tears and arms trembling.

“Mommy’s dead isn’t she? And Daddy too.” She said her words falling over one another for she was shaking and crying so hard.

I told her to sit she sat in the chair next to me but then she sat on my lap. I began to tell her that Mom and Dad’s injuries were beyond mending and that Andy had gone with them to heaven. “What about Emma? She’s okay isn’t she? She hast to be!” she bawled.

“She’s in a coma,” I say choking back tears. “Which means she’s gone into a very deep sleep that she may or may not come out of.”

Three 

A cab arrived outside the hospital with a middle aged woman that I’d only met once before. Her name is Aunt Alicia. Her face was cold and hard. When we got in the cab she said nothing but squeezed her lips tightly into a thin line. You could tell almost instantly that if she were not so strict looking that she would be very pretty. She had brown hair likes Mom’s was and red lips that were not actually line thin. She had big hazelnut eyes but her glasses hid some of their beauty.

“So are you Emma or Emily?” Aunt Alicia asked coldly.

“I-I I’m Em-ily” said Emily obviously terrified of this strict woman who had come to live with them.

“I’m Maria,” I said trying to make conversation.

Aunt Alicia changed the subject wickedly by saying “Don’t you two go getting your hopes up about your sister living.”

Emily started flat out CRYING. She cried and cried.

“Aunt Alicia that’s cruel and awful, we should be hopeful that little Emma will wake up, do not be wicked.” I said as firmly as I could without my quivering being noticed.

The rest of the ride home was in silence. When we got home Aunt Alicia put up a picture of two beautiful young girls laughing I recognized them both at the same time one was Mom as a young girl with that movie star, her name was … Delilah, Delilah Thomas. I remember because I thought it was neat that she had the same last name as I did.

“Mom was friends with Delilah Thomas?” I asked.

“Not friends, sisters,” she told me fairly kindly.

“But you’re her only sister and your name’s Alicia.” I thought aloud.

“Yes but I was an actress and my stage name was Delilah.” She said actually sounding genuinely kind.

“You were one of my idols. Why didn’t Mom ever tell me my idol was my aunt?”

“I don’t know, Maria, I don’t know …” she answered.

As I look back I realize it was my saying she was being wicked that opened her eyes. After that she was always very kind especially to Emily. Emily soon became Aunt Alicia’s pet who she would dress up in the simplest yet most beautiful outfits and does her hair into two braids with bows matching her outfits. She looked adorable. We still go every day and spend time with Emma just talking to her and reading to her and telling her that if she didn’t wake up soon she’d miss Christmas.

“Sometimes Emily would be crying because she wouldn’t wake up for her. We’ve put a little Christmas tree in Emma’s hospital room and put all her presents under it. It’s now the 23rd and Emily is more discouraged than ever that Emma won’t come out of her coma in time for them to have Christmas together. We decided that we would spend Christmas evening with Emma we’d stay until 10 o’clock just to have it with her. The day of Christmas Eve was here and we did some final Christmas preparations we even made Emma’s favorite cookies so that if she woke up she could have one.

That evening Emily lay down in the hospital bed with Emma while I read T’was the Night before Christmas. We hung up a stocking for Emma at the hospital and ours at home. Emily fell asleep and Aunt Alicia and I started talking about the twins when Emily said “Is it Christmas yet?” But it was in an odd voice.

“No Emi-” I froze that wasn’t Emily’s voice that was Emma’s!

“Emma!” I cry joyously.

“Emma?” Emily asked groggily.

“I didn’t miss Christmas did I?” asked Emma.

“No, you didn’t” I laughed happily. “You didn’t miss a thing.”

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