by Esther Avila
Ever since Sarah could remember, Johnny wanted a motorcycle, so it did not surprise her that when he turned 16, it was what he asked for.
“No. Absolutely not,” Sarah said as she turned to face her husband. “You know how I feel about these things. Tommy would still …”
She couldn’t finish the sentence. Her younger brother had been killed on his first motorcycle – at age 16.
“Stop baby,” her husband said as he went to her side and held her. “He’s not Tommy. Look at him. He’s not a little boy anymore. Sooner or later you’ll have to learn to let go.”
She turned to look at Johnny, who had tried so hard to find his identity. Sarah couldn’t help but smile as she saw that the half-man/half-child had fallen asleep on the couch – watching cartoons – his long lean body draped over a stack of pillows on the floor.
She remembered how upset she felt when he cut his hair, first into a Mohawk, later clean-shaven. A lightening bolt tattoo followed and Sarah was relieved when he told her it was only henna.
No matter how big he got, he would always be her little boy, she thought.
“Sweetheart,” her husband interrupted her thoughts, telephone against his chest. “It’s ‘Make a Wish Foundation.’ They are bringing a motorcycle for Johnny to ride.”
Sarah nodded as tears rolled down her face. She knew she couldn’t take Johnny’s last wish away.