It was close to sunset as two siblings, brother and sister were walking home. The sister is named Jessica and she is 17 years old. Her younger brother is named Kyle and he is 10. Kyle is complaining to his sister, "Why do they have to tease me about this bracelet?"
In their family, they had a tradition to make a bracelet of crystal beads worn when a child turned 10 years of age. The beads were of various favorite colors of each family member. Kyle was being teased by schoolmates since he had begun wearing his.
"Well, Kyle, it's our family tradition. Don't let their teasing brother you."
The tradition had a story behind it. Their grandfather had wanted sons to share his passion for hunting and carving. However grandmother only bore him one child and that was their mother. He didn't know what to do with a daughter though he loved her so. One day grandmother suggested that they take up making bracelets together. Searching for materials they could use for making bracelets was not easy in their little town but one day in an old antique store, he came across an interesting bucket of old crystal beads. The store owner said they had sat in his store forever and he was willing to sell the whole bucket for just a few dollars. Grandfather bought them on the spot. He took them home and they became the source for the bracelets they would make together and wear. The beads were of every color and naturally each family member would make their bracelet using their favorite colors.
"But they say wearing bracelets is a girl thing," replied Kyle who at his age was very sensitive to his peers. Jessica said, "Guys can wear them and it's our tradition, not theirs."
They got to their home and walked in the front door. Their mom was in the kitchen washing dishes and hearing them coming in shouted, "How was school?"
"It was okay," they replied. Jessica added, "Kyle is having a little problem with the boys teasing again." "There wasn't a fight this time, I hope," Mom asked worriedly. "No," replied Kyle. "What's for supper tonight and when is Dad getting home?" asked Jessica changing the subject.
"Soup – and he should be home at five." Their Dad was a reporter for the local paper and sometimes came home late if he was on assignment. Mother sometimes worked part-time for the paper as a photographer. She sometimes took pictures for his articles. She also enjoyed taking pictures of the family and pictures of nature and animals.
Kyle asked, "Did you take any pictures today?" He loved looking at her pictures.
"Yes." She left her dishes, dried her hands and went to get her camera. She had taken some pictures of a friend's horse running in a pasture through the winter snow. It was beautiful with the morning sun gleaming off the whiteness and vapor puffing from the horse's flared nostrils, the powder flying as the action was captured by the high speed camera. She also had snapped a couple of frames of some birds flying. One was an eagle and the other a hawk. Reviewing her shots, they noticed something fuzzy in the corner of the hawk picture; something in the sky but out of focus.
Jessica, who was looking too, said, "Great pictures as usual, Mom, but what is that?"
"I don't know," she replied. "At the time, I hadn't noticed anything but the bird. Looks too out of focus to tell." She put the camera down and went back to washing dishes.
Jessica asked, "Do you need any help washing the dishes?"
"No, why don't you go watch a movie with your brother." So she went into the other room and they looked for a movie. They decided on a cowboy movie and spent the next hour and a half watching it. After the movie, her brother asked, "Don't you wish something exciting would happen to us sometime – like the people in the movies?"
Jessica replied, "Sometimes, but I get enough excitement here in the family, especially when I win wrestling with you and Dad." Then she grabbed his head and gave him a knuckle rub as he screamed in protest. Just at that time, their Dad walked in and laughing said as he grabbed Jessica, "That's enough beating on your brother for this day." She laughed and hugged her dad as Kyle took advantage of their distraction and attempted to tackle them to the floor. Bad move, because they quickly recovered and attacked in unison. Kyle didn't have a chance and got knuckle-rubbed big time by his Dad as Jessica bound his arms. They all collapsed into a pile of laughter.
Then Mom came in, calling them to dinner and laughed as she saw their fun. They untangled themselves and took their places around the dining room table. It was salad, soup and bread sticks and ice cold tea. Dad said grace and everyone enjoyed the meal. Mom was a good cook. After dinner, the kids got started on their homework. When Kyle had a question about his math course or science, he asked Jessica who was an A+ student. Jessica liked helping Kyle who had a harder time with scholastics. When they were finished, there was still a little time to enjoy tv. They watched a favorite show called "Numbers." It was about a math genius who could help solve crimes through his calculations. Then it was time for bed with school beginning early the next morning.
There was going to be an evening basketball game and Kyle asked his Dad if they could attend it together. He agreed they would go if he got off of work in time. Kyle and Jessica put on their pajamas and said their good nights and went to bed.
The next day they got up as usual and went to school. Kyle was looking forward to the game that night. At lunch, he sat with his sister and they talked about what the family would do that weekend. Jessica was very happy with her family life and looked forward to the weekends and their shared time. All this was going to change when two policemen would come to their afternoon classes and ask to speak with them in the principal's office. They were just beginning to feel alarmed when one of the men spoke up and said, "I'm sorry to tell you that there has been an accident."
Jessica cried, "Is it our parents?"
"Yes, they were in a head-on collision. They did not survive."
Kyle shaken said, "How did it happen?"
"A drunk driver crossed the line and it appears they were unable to avoid him. Your Mom was killed in the crash and your Dad died on the way to the hospital. We are so sorry for your loss."
Jessica screamed and wept as the sad news pierced her heart. One of the policemen put his arms around her and sought to console her while Kyle stood apart speechless, white as a sheet. Then one of the policemen asked if they had family nearby where they could go? Jessica between snobs answered, "No, our grandparents have passed away and both Mom and Dad were the only child in their families." The officer asked if they would be okay at home until other arrangements could be made? The kids were still in shock and didn't know how to answer. Finally, Jessica answered, "I think so as long as we are together."
This was going to be a long day. So much would have to be decided. There would be a search for any surviving next-of-kin. How would the funeral be arranged by kids? How would the finances of their parents be accessed and determined? Apparently the state would have to appoint foster parents in due course. Their world had been turned upside down. Even more shocking things were coming in the weeks that would follow.