After visiting with Gloria for a few minutes, Brad walked out the french doors that led to the backyard of the little cottage where Barbie and Gloria had lived for the last twenty years.
Unaware that she had a visitor, Barbie slowly walked around the little flower garden, bending down to smell each bloom as she hummed a song. She had a beautiful voice and Brad could have listened to her forever, but he knew his surprise couldn’t wait that long.
“Hello Sis,” he said. “It looks like you’re enjoying this beautiful day.
“Brad! Gloria didn’t tell me you were coming. Oh my goodness… it must be close to noon and I’m still in my bathrobe. I just haven’t been able to pull myself away from this refreshing morning breeze. Come and give your big sister a hug!”
“You’re all of five minutes older than I am, Barbie. Speaking of birthdays, I brought you an early present. Her name is Annie.”
“Annie? What a beautiful name,” Barbie said.
Upon hearing her name, and as if on cue, Annie walked over and sat down in front of Barbie who upon hearing a little whine, knelt down to give her new friend a hug. Brad was right behind Annie and watched his sister and her new friend begin what he knew would be the best thing that ever happened to either of them.
Barbie was Brad’s twin sister. Everyone thought she had died in the fire along with their parents. In truth she was close to death when Brad found her. Everyone had left the scene leaving him standing in front of the still burning house. For some reason, he couldn’t bring himself to leave. He remembered thinking how strange it was that such a terrible thing could happen during the light of day, but the stars, serene and sparkling in the sky, came out that night.
The small fire department in the town where they lived did their best to find the the three people who had died in the fire. They found two badly charred bodies and assumed the third had been burned to ashes.
As Brad, who was only sixteen, stood there in the quiet of the night, he thought he heard a sound coming from the little potting shed that stood just a few yards from the house.
He heard it again as he walked to the shed and flung the door open.
“Barbie! is that you?” He shouted. He reached for the flashlight he knew would be above the door. The stream of light searched the shed and in the corner was his sister… her body was badly burned. Wondering how she could even be alive he realized she was reaching out to him with a badly burned hand. Before he could get to her, she mercifully fell into unconsciousness.
Brad was brought back to the moment by seeing the look of excitement and happiness on his sister’s face.
“Thank you so much, Brad. I love Annie already. I wish I could see her!”