No use having light unless you open the curtains. (Flash fiction)



“It’s no use having light if you don’t open the curtains. Look it’s a beautiful day outside!”

Sometimes her sister’s sunny disposition would get Amber down. She looked on rebelliously as Sarah drew back the drapes and light flooded into the dingy bedsit. “It was easy for her,” she muttered inwardly, she had it all, a good solid relationship, cute kids, a great job… She’d be happy too if she had what Sarah had, but then it had always been that way since they were kids, Sarah always seemed to get the breaks.

“Look, why don’t we go out for a coffee? I know this great place by the river. Come on, you can’t stay boxed up in here forever.”

Amber didn’t answer, reluctant to stir herself. Sarah sat down beside her placing an arm around her shoulders.

“I know it’s hard Amber but life goes on. It’s not like Jeff was such a catch anyway, my little sister can do better than that guy! Right?” She made a silly face bringing a momentary grin to Amber’s morbid countenance. Grasping the opportunity Sarah dragged her to her feet casting an eye over her rag tag exterior…


The cafe was bustling with activity. Amber was glad she’d changed, put some make up on… Sara chatted gaily, coffee cup waving wildly as she talked. Then she dropped the bomb shell.

“Look Amber, I didn’t just come to cheer you up. There’s something I need to tell you. I know now’s not a good time, but you’ll find out soon enough. Our Emmie has leukaemia. We’ve known a while now, but …” Sarah’s cheery face teared up for a moment. Amber reached out across the table taking her hand.

“Sarah, you should have told me. Here I’ve been wallowing in self-pity and you have an eight year old with leukaemia. I always thought your life was so great, so perfect!”

“My life?” Sarah laughed grimly. “Having to forsake my college dreams when I got pregnant with Emmie? Making things work with James?”

“But James is an angel!”

“He is now.” Sarah smiled ruefully.

A light was dawning in Amber’s head. Life had handed Sarah some pretty dud cards too, but her secret was in how she dealt with them. Sarah’s curtains were always open.

Squeezing her hand Amber whispered, “We’ll get through this together sis. I’m here any time you need OK?”

Sarah smiled through her tears, as she always had done, and Amber made a vow to keep her curtains open. No matter what the weather she was determined not to miss out on those sunny days.


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