I close my eyes and take a deep breath...I swear that I can almost smell the flowers in the garden from that day....
"Steve!" I dropped the football I'd been playing with and ran around the back of the house to find my little sister Bethany swinging from a branch by her fingertips, barely able to hold on.
I ran towards her and reached her just as her fingers slipped from the fresh wood and caught her in my arms as we both tumbled to the ground. For a few moments we sat there in shock before her voice rose in a wail "Oww I hurt my knee Steve!!"
I looked up in dread at the sound of footsteps and my mother came rushing out of the house and down the path. "Steve you said you'd take care of her." she shrieked as she scooped Beth up in her arms and glared at me.
"It's only a scrape Mom, I..."
But then she interrupted me "I don't care what it is Stephen James West, I told you to take care of your sister!"
Beth sucked her thumb and stared over Mother's shoulder with a look of apology and regret as she was carried into the house. I curled my hand into a fist and punched the ground angrily. "How am I supposed to take care of her when she keeps getting herself into trouble?!" I shouted before jumping to my feet and storming inside and up to my room.
My father caught me on the landing and he put his hand on my shoulder. "She's got to grow up and learn for herself, yes. But that doesn't mean she doesn't need anyone to look after her Stephen. Look after your sister, help her if she needs your help, a West never turns his back on a friend so he damn sure doesn't turn his back on family."
I never forgot those words, they burned into my brain like they were written in kerosene and I'd just lit a match...maybe that's why I joined SCIT in the end, something I swore I'd never do. Maybe those words are the reason I am where I am today.... Who really knows?