My Sister Sarah
     Hi, my name is Alyssa Smith and I live on Oak Street in Pittsburgh.  What would you expect of a city block in June of 2005?  I sometimes wonder what life would have been like back in the 60's.  Probably gentler.  More people like my parents around.  Oh, that would be ideal.  I don't like everybody's attitude these days.  People waiting to be nasty with me.  I'm a nurse.  I'm always busy.  Being energetic, I like my job.  I thrive on stress.  At 23, I have a long way to go and I'm looking forward to it, but I have some doubts about how all my social relations are going to work out.  Maybe I'm just too much of the worrying type. 
     I still spend time with my parents,  Amy and Tony Smith, who live in a big house a few blocks away on Smoke Street.  I grew up in it with my younger sister, Sarah, who is 18.  And that's it.  Two Pittsbugh girls in that big gray house with some zany yet serious parents. 
     No, they're not comedians.
     Sarah was not a problem child.  She was always well-behaved.  She has gorgeous long red hair and hazel eyes.  She does not want to become a nurse.  She has said she would like to work in the hotel business.  She works at a Hilton location in the bar there and enjoys it.  
     She feels the same about mom and dad as I do.  She thinks she eventually has to move out, although she is not looking forward to the day.
      We used to play so many games with each other as younger children that I wonder how we ever really separated when the time came.  I used to love to keep kidding Sarah any chance I got.  What I sincerely believe is that she should wait until she saves enough from her job before she moves out.  She can't trust who she hooks up with.  No one can these days.  Almost no one.
      I'm a firm believer in the teaching power of experience.  I think some people arrange learning experiences for others, especially loved ones, to see what they take away from them.  I remember the one we did with Sarah last year.  She was 17.  It sure was mom's idea.  I liked the idea.  Of course, there was nothing involved that would hurt the poor thing.  She was always game for fun anyway.
      It was only the setting of a date with the spunky Matthew Traeger.  He has red hair also and was 18 at the time, almost the same age, and--here we go--not at all interested in any serious dating.  That was the learning experience.  A nice-looking guy who was working at Wiedemeyer's Grocery Store that dad knew from the high school.  Dad was a football coach.  See, what a sport the guy was!  Mom was the one who asked Matt.  He reluctantly said "yes."  Sarah took it all in the spirit that it was a joke that could transform into something serious, like a relationship.
       I was impressed by how it all turned out.  "He thinks I'm a very nice girl.  He'd like to marry me, he said.  'But, Sarah, I'm not ready for that kind of thing.  Or romance.'  Isn't that sweet?  'Well, good, Matt, because neither am I, I answered.'  I thought he was bright and assured.  I'm not thinking about marriage right now."
      "That's good that you two hit it off," I said.
       "We're not going to be hitting it off.  We just enjoyed the experience and left.  He paid for the hamburgers and fries.   We liked each other.  Blind dates are not what we're thinking about right now," Sarah said.
       "Oh, OK.  You sure?  No further plans?" I asked.
        "No.  He's got his things and I've got mine."
         So,  you can see what impressed me.  She doesn't want to waste her time right now on a young man.  Neither do I.  She doesn't think going steady is a critical choice for her life.  I don't even want to consider what would have happened if one had been willing and the other not.
         Mom was quite upset when Sarah's friend Alice asked her to move in with her.  Alice is her best friend.  Mom preferred her to stay in the house.    "What am I going to do without you?" mom asked her.
        "You have plenty to keep you busy.  I'm an adult now, mom.  I'm grownup.  We'll see each other.  I'm not leaving the state.  Alice lives about a mile away.  You like Alice.  She's a great person," Sarah said.
        "No, I know, dear.  I trust your judgment.  I'm not worried at all.  You always do what's best.  Maybe I'm just playing devil's advocate, in a way," mom answered with a sense of being humorous.
         It was a little hard to see Sarah move her things out and go over there to Alice's three-room apartment.  I couldn't  help making that sly observation: "What's she doing with three rooms?  Expecting you to move in with her?"
        Sarah didn't think that was funny.  
        "She expected someone eventually, I guess," Sarah answered.
        "Enjoy yourself.  You're old enough," I opined.
         "You're absolutely right, sister.  I knew I could count on you," Sarah said, with dignity.
        I was generally glad that Sarah was never a major problem for the family.  Mom and dad simply could not handle the drug scene, promiscuity scene, or any other domestic troubles that Sarah might have brought in.  
       What mom was glad of was that the phone rang immediately after settling in.  Sarah had to call and continue the conversation that they had started when they left.  There will be no separation between the two at all.  Alice is her friend and preferable to live with.  This story ends happily, in other words. 

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Short Story
writing frederic
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