She lit the firecracker and closed her eyes.
"Throw it!" a voice yelled out from behind the bushes,"Now!"
Startled, she hastily let go of it and stepped back just as the fuse hit and it went off.
Out from behind a privet hedge dashed her brother,
tackling her to the ground.
"You could have lost an eye or a finger,you idiot.I ought to tell dad."
With that she began to cry,"Don't tell Kenny, dad will ground me."
"You'll owe me," he said,getting up and dusting off his jeans.
"...you'll owe me for the rest of your life."
Ten years later it was Kenny lighting the firecrackers and bottle rockets
at the family's 4th of July picnic.
The following Monday he would be heading to boot camp.
It was 1968 and he had been drafted.
"Remember?" he asked her that day,"remember when I said you owed me
for not telling dad how you almost blew off your fingers? Well, I want to collect your debt."
Kathy laughed thinking back on that day. "Yeah what is it,what do you want?"
"Sis, if I don't come back,I want you to be the one to make sure that the
4th of July is always celebrated with fireworks.
And I want you to take care of mom and dad for me,will you?"
"Hey,"he said,"let's light one more for old times sake..and remember,
toss it this time."
They lit the fuses and tossed the firecrackers onto the driveway,
their faces lit up in the darkness reflecting the children that they really were.
Kathy stood facing her brother,older than her by two years,
and began to cry,then shaking...grabbing hold of her brother and hugging him.
And together they laughed and cried as the smell of sulfur filled the air.
Suddenly,their embracing bodies became still...as if they were to let go,
it would be parting forever.