On Saturday morning I woke up with a smile. I had been dreaming about Samora. No boy had ever kissed me before.

And today, after athletics practice, Samora was taking me to get lunch. A date!

Then I became aware of an unusual noise. I opened my bedroom door and looked out. The noise was coming from Lizzie’s room – she was lying on her bed, sobbing her heart out.

“Dad,” she managed to splutter, between sobs.

“What’s wrong with him?”

“He wants me to go see him and meet his new friend.”

I felt as if somebody had hit me.

“It’s alright, sweetie,” I said comfortingly, wrapping my arms around her.

“I’m afraid, Esther. I don’t know what to do. I told Dad I wanted to see him. But now I feel,” she sobbed louder, “that you and Ma won’t love me anymore.”

I didn’t know what to say.

Poor Lizzie was torn between Dad, Ma and me. What a load for a ten-year-old to carry! Thankfully I had no such worries. I detested him, full stop.

“I’m not going to hold it against you for wanting to see Dad,” I assured her gently. I didn’t mention his ‘new friend’. “And Ma won’t either.”

Before Lizzie could say anything the doorbell rang. “Do you think that is Dad?” Lizzie was shaking like a leaf.

“It’s Linkie. We have athletics practise.”

“Oh,” said Lizzie. Fresh tears rose in her eyes.

“It’s okay. I’ll just go tell Linkie that I won’t be coming to practise. I’ll stay with you.” Lizzie gave me such a lovely, grateful smile that suddenly Linkie, athletics practice and dates with Samora seemed unimportant. What were they compared to my little sister at this tough time, anyway?

I played with Lizzie. Then I took her into the kitchen and made us both a snack. We were still sitting at the kitchen table when the telephone rang. It was nearly midday. Lizzie started to cry again.

“Dad said he’d phone back. I don’t want to speak to him now.” She ran from the room. The telephone kept ringing. I looked around for Beauty, but couldn’t find her. I picked up the telephone.

“Hello,” I said nervously.

“Is that you, Esther?” my mother’s voice said.

I sighed with relief. Then I told her how upset Lizzie had been when Dad phoned. I didn’t tell Ma about him wanting Lizzie to meet his girlfriend.

“Poor thing, and I had thought she was taking it so well,” Ma said slowly. “It’s going to be much harder than I imagined.”

After we discussed the situation a little more, she said she was going to have to work late at the hospital. She was phoning to see if our neighbour would agree to stay with Lizzie until she got home.

“I’ll stay with her, Ma,” I told her. “I’m not going anywhere.”

I sat with Lizzie for a while, watching television. Soon she fell asleep. I walked slowly around the house. I knew I should use the time to do some reading for school. But I kept thinking about my father. As busy as he was, he had always been there for his family.

“Why did you have to leave us, Dad?” I said aloud.

Just then the telephone rang. It had to be Dad. I would tell him what I thought of him!


Tell us what you think: Is Esther a good sister to Lizzie?