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Anina looked at the wall hanging. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the waves in the painting. She squinted to enhance her vision and get a clearer picture of the individual water droplets falling from the surf. She leaned toward the painting. What a great job the artist did to capture the blue and turquoise in the water’s movement.
Something bumped her arm. She turned her head and looked up into eyes that almost matched the colors in the picture.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Her brother stood on her right.
“Is it really as brilliant as I think it is?”
“Yes. Do you have your magnifier?” Kason asked.
Anina shook her head. “I forgot to put it in my satchel when you honked this morning.”
“Next time, I won’t mind if you take enough time to get all you need.”
She smiled. “You’re a good guy, Kason.”
“Shhh, let’s keep that our little secret. People might get the wrong impression.”
They laughed together as siblings do who have shared jokes and teases, struggles and sadness, over a lifetime and come through it all still loving each other.
“Do you miss it?” His words came soft like a hummingbird’s wings.
“What? The ocean?”
He nodded and tilted his head toward the art. “And that.”
“Most days, I don’t think about painting. I would have to start all over again and learn a different style. Anina reached into her bag, searched around a bit, and pulled out a tissue. “I only wanted to be the best, most desired painter . . . no matter what I did to make it happen.” She dabbed at her eyes. “I know I don’t have to tell you. You know that better than anyone.” A shiver raced over her. “I will never be able to express how sorry I am—”
“Your priorities were a mess for a while, but we’ve settled it all. It’s in the past. Forgiven and forgotten.”
“I still don’t understand how you can do that.”
“Do you blame Rocky for the accident that left you fighting for sight?”
“Not anymore, but I was so angry at first. How could he die and leave me?” She placed her hand in his outstretched one.
“And I struggled with some choices you made.” He gave her hand a squeeze and released it. “But look, we’re here and together again. How’s your head? Are the lights bothering you? We could go to the café next door.”
Moments later, they both sipped on hot coffee under a wide-spread umbrella.
“You know, just because one dream is gone, doesn’t mean there won’t be another one.” Kason spoke between swallows.
Anina shook her head, “I can’t imagine loving anything as much as painting.”
“Have you asked God what to do with the disappointment that your life didn’t turn out like you thought.” Kason whispered.
“You always know how to get right to the heart of the matter, don’t you?” A sound somewhere between a laugh and a sob burst from her.
“Hey, what are big brothers for?” He winked.
Anina furrowed her brows, “I’ve been so scared for so long that I couldn’t do anything else, or didn’t know how to do anything else, but paint. But lately . . .” Her voice drifted off. Her stomach jittered. She grasped her hands together to keep them from shaking.
Kason leaned forward, “Lately, what?”
“Do you remember all the stories and poems I made up over the years?”
Kason laughed the deep, belly kind she loved. “Do I ever. You only wanted notebooks and journals for Christmas. Every. Single. Year. You wrote and drew pictures to go with whatever you’d put down on paper.”
“I was thinking about finally finishing the sign language classes I still need in order to become certified as an interpreter.”
Kason raised his eyebrows.
Silence fell over them for several moments; a comfortable knowing grew.
“It’s been a long road back.” He looked to the ceiling, then back at her.
Anina wiped her eyes. “Have you been practicing? Is your certification still valid for interpreting?”
Anina smiled. “I have a good amount of money saved from Rocky’s life insurance. I haven’t wanted to touch it since he died.” She twirled the band with diamond chips she recently moved to her right hand.
“I have to say, I’m a bit shocked that we’re talking about this right now.”
Kason drew in a long breath. “A few days ago, I was driving out in the country, and I saw a barn.”
Anina gasped. “The barn school.”
“Exactly. I asked God this morning if He wanted to resurrect the dream we’d shared about a school for blind and deaf kids, He would work out the details. We have a lot to do.” Kason raised his head as if to study the ceiling again. A drip fell from his chin.
Anina placed her hand on his arm until he looked at her.
“Maybe it’s finally time to live out what God gave us together when we were teenagers.”
Kason smiled and looked at Anina. “Maybe it’s true that dreams never die, they just change direction.”
“I’m ready. I wouldn’t have been two years ago, or even one. But now . . . I am.” She jumped up and reached for his hand. “I know a few people we can talk to about this. I can’t wait to see where God takes this.”
Photo credit: Jeremy Chen, James DeMers