A Different Sister

A Different Sister

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

A Different Sister

I choose not to place “DIS” in my ability.

~Robert M. Hensel

I was standing in the park on the other side of our street watching the old Henderson place. My best friend Sam and his little brother TJ were with me.

“They’re monsters, Richard,” Sam said. “Someone told us at bowling. There are two sisters and they’re monsters.”

Sam was talking about the new family that had moved into the house. We’d seen the parents. They looked ordinary, but we had never seen the two girls. And there had never been any monsters living on our street before, so we wanted to find out all about them.

“How big are they?” TJ stretched his hands up high over his head. He knew about T. Rex and other dinosaurs.

“As big as full grown bears,” Sam said with a nod to me. “And they hate little boys.”

TJ moved behind his brother, but kept his eyes on the house.

That’s when the garage door opened. We expected to see someone drive out but two girls walked out instead. They were pushing bicycles.

The girl in front was very pretty. She had curly blond hair and pink clothes. She was about as old as me.

“She looks all right,” I said. “She’s not a monster.”

“Look at the other one!” TJ’s voice was more squeaky than usual, as he pointed at the second girl coming down the driveway. She was bigger than the first one, and she had a crooked face. She swayed from side to side as she walked.

The girls pushed their bikes across the road toward us. That’s when I noticed the big girl’s tongue seemed to be blocking her mouth.

TJ became very brave. He jumped out from behind Sam and pointed and laughed at them. “Monsters! Monsters!” he yelled.

The two girls took no notice. The pretty girl was helping the other girl put on her helmet. TJ bent down, picked up a stick and threw it at them. The stick didn’t even go close.

“TJ!” Sam and I both shouted at him at the same time, and he stepped back and looked very guilty.

I wanted to find out what the pretty girl’s name was. She looked nice. And she didn’t seem to be frightened of the other girl.

“Come on, Sam. Let’s go and talk to them,” I said.

TJ wanted to go home. He was almost crying and kept dragging on Sam’s hand, so I went by myself.

“Hi, my name’s Richard,” I said.

“I’m Holly. This is my big sister Claire.” Holly finished tightening both helmets while I looked closely at Claire. Her eyes were bulgy and she stared at the ground beside me.

“Hi,” I said to her.

She didn’t answer. She just stood and stared.

“Can she talk?” I asked Holly.

“I can talk!” Claire shouted. “And I can ride a bike. Can you ride a bike?”

“Yes, I can,” I said. “I didn’t mean to be rude. Don’t be angry.”

“She’s not angry.” Holly looked straight at me and smiled. “That’s how she talks.”

Holly had the best smile in the world. It was like it was a special smile just for me. And I couldn’t help smiling back.

Then Claire got on her bike and nearly ran me down as she started off along the track.

“Sorry,” Holly said, as she rode after Claire.

By this time Sam and TJ were almost out of sight. I ran home to get my bike so I could ride with the girls. When I got back to the park they were still going slowly around the track. I rode next to Holly with Claire riding ahead.

“What happened to her?” I said.

“What do you mean?” Holly said.

“Why does she look so strange and talk so loud?”

“Nothing happened to her,” Holly said. “She’s always been like that.”

“Don’t you mind going out with her, when kids point and laugh?”

“They soon stop when they get to know her,” Holly said. “She says some funny things you know.”

After a while the girls propped up their bikes and sat down to have the cookies and drinks they’d brought with them. I sat next to Holly and looked at Claire. She hadn’t said anything funny since I’d been with them. In fact she hadn’t said anything at all. She sure looked strange, but not scary-strange like she did at first.

“Do you eat cookies?” Claire shouted at me. She was holding out a cookie for me. I took it and she smiled for the first time. It was a lopsided smile and her tongue got in the way, but that was all right.

The next day I rode with them to the library. Claire waited outside to mind the bikes while Holly and I went in to find some books.

We’d only been in the library a few minutes, but when we came out the police were there. One of them was trying to talk to Claire, and the other one was talking to a woman next to her car. The side window of the car had been smashed and glass was on the ground.

“Did you see anything?” the policeman said to Claire.

“Yes,” she shouted back at him.

The policeman waited a while and then said, “Well? What did you see?”

“Two men.”

“Which way did they go?” the policeman asked.

“Nowhere,” Claire shouted.

“They must have gone somewhere.” The policeman seemed to be getting impatient with Claire.

“No. They’re over there.” Claire pointed at two men watching from behind a blue truck. They saw her point and they scrambled to get in the truck. But the police were too quick. They had their guns out and the men gave up.

The police found the woman’s bag in the truck and lots of other things as well.

The woman came over to speak to Claire.

“Thank you,” she said. “You’re a very clever young lady.”

“I know,” shouted Claire. “They said I was stupid. They didn’t care if I saw them smash your window.”

“Well, here’s a $20 reward for being such a good witness.” The woman held out the bill to Claire. But she wouldn’t take it.

“I don’t have money,” she shouted. “Holly has money.”

“Thank you,” Holly said as she accepted the bill. “I’ll buy her something nice.”

On the way home, Holly had to ride in front because Claire didn’t know the way.

As I rode beside Claire I realized I had become used to her already. There wasn’t anything scary about her at all. She might look unusual, but she was really a very nice person — just different.

~Richard Brookton

More stories from our partners