“Mom said I could have it,” cried Sarah, clutching the blue and white vase tightly in her hands.
“You always say that to get your way,” cried Carol, “Mom said this, Mom said that. If she would have lived fifty years longer, she still wouldn’t have had time to say ‘Mom said’ all those times you insist she did. And how come she only said things that just happened to be things you wanted to have or do. Now, give me that vase. You only want it because it’s valuable and not because you have any appreciation for it’s beauty. You’ll probably sell it as fast as you can. There is no way Mom said you could have it when she always knew I wanted it when she was gone.”
“And I suppose you have only the purest of motives for wanting it.” snapped Sarah. “You know you just want it as a display item to brag about to those high-snoot friends of yours. But, you can’t have it. Mom said....”
“I don’t want to hear it.” said Carol and grabbed for the vase. In the ensuing tussle it slipped out of Sarah’s hands, fell to the tiled floor, and smashed into a dozen pieces.
The sisters stared in shock at the shattered vase.
“Now see what you’ve done,” cried Sarah.
“As usual, blame me,” said Carol. She strode over to the sofa and picked up her coat. “I hope you are satisfied now,” she said as she walked out, slamming the door behind her.
Starting down the steps she came to a abrupt stop. A sudden vivid memory of her mother’s face, unshed tears in her eyes flashed into her mind. Standing there in the cold wind, Carol once again heard her mother’s voice pleading, “Girls, please, please stop fighting. You are sisters, why can’t you love one another?”
How often had she heard her mom say those words? Other similar images swam before Carol’s eyes. And, really, why did she and Sarah fight so much? Selfishness, admitted Carol, shivering in the wind. Both of us have always been selfish, and stubborn.
She turned around, walked up to Sarah’s door, rapped twice, turned the knob and went in. Sarah, standing with a dustpan full of pieces of the broken vase, turned around in surprise.
“Sit down, Sarah. We need to talk.”
Sarah emptied the dustpan into the trash. “About what? I don’t think there is anything we have to say to each other now.”
“Please.” said Carol.
Reluctantly, Sarah came over and sat down at the opposite end of the sofa. She folded her arms across her chest and said, “What is so important you want to talk about?”
“Sarah,” said Carol. “I think we need to start over. We made Mom really unhappy a lot with our constant fighting. Don’t you remember how often she pleaded with us to stop? Don’t you remember how tired she looked sometimes and seemed as if she might cry?”
“Well, it wasn’t my...”began Sarah, but Carol held up her hand.
“Please, just listen to me. I’m not saying it was your fault. I’m saying it was our fault. yours and mine. I think we need to start over and begin acting like sisters and not sworn enemies.”
“It’s a little late now,” said Sarah, “Mom’s dead.”
“Yes, and there’s nothing we can do about all those years of arguing. But we can start being nicer to each other now. I know it won’t be easy.” She gave Sarah a small smile, “We’re so used to bickering, we’ll have to really concentrate on being nice, forgiving each other, and trying to be the sisters Mom wanted us to be.”
Sarah sat very still, then she said. “Mom’s dead and her favorite vase is broken.” She started to cry. Carol moved over and put her arms around Sarah. Her own eyes filled with tears.
“We can’t bring Mom back and we can’t fix the vase.” said Carol. “But we can fix our relationship with each other and move forward from here. Can’t we.?”
“I don’t know. I guess so.” said Sarah. She leaned back, dug in her pocket for a handkerchief.
“I just wish it wasn’t too late for Mom to know we are trying.”
“We’ll know.” said Carol. She smiled, “and, who knows?” she said, “Maybe Mom will know, too.”
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