Test 3, Day 4

South Africa 175 and 117 for 4 (Elgar 72*, Bavuma 16*) need a further 375 runs to beat England 353 and 313 for 8 dec (Bairstow 63, Westley 59, Root 50, Maharaj 3-50)

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After visiting Disney World when I was 11 years old we went on a short cruise around the Carribean, including a stop in the Bahamas. While there my sister bought a Panama style hat which I thought looked silly but now I realize that it was pretty fashionable for the time.

When we returned home she wore it non-stop. To school, to church, everywhere. She loved that hate.

One afternoon a couple weeks after the vacation I was waiting on the bus when there was a commotion near the front. I couldn’t tell what was going on. But then my sister got on and was holding her hat in her hands and it was stained with mud and ripped and she was crying and she slumped into the seat right behind the driver.

I stayed where I was. I don’t know why I didn’t get up to make sure she was okay. But I didn’t. The winter before my sister had stood up for me to some older neighborhood kids who were throwing snowballs at me as I tried to run away. But that late spring day on the bus I decided not to return the favor.

The bus driver called a teacher over to the bus and my sister — through her tears — told her what had happened. A couple mean girls had called her a bitch and pushed her down and took her hat off and stomped on it. It was pretty brutal and cruel, as kids can be at that age. I still didn’t get up and help her. She went with the teacher into the school and I rode the bus home. After getting home my mother and I drove to the school to pick her up. On the drive home, she told my sister that people were jealous of her and how smart she was and her good grades. And that sometimes that jealousy manifested as cruelty. I listened quietly but thought that sounded silly. Kids were just mean. That’s all. Especially the kids in that backwater two-bit Michigan town in which we were living.

My sister identified the girls to the principal and they were forced to apologize and agreed to pay for the hat — and she spent the next week or so in a dark funk. I forgot about the whole thing. Weeks later I asked if she ever got the money and said she did, and that she had already spent it on some make up and other things. She was so nonchalant. Smiling even. It was weird. She had been so upset, so bruised, so beaten down, but now it was like no big deal, life goes on, what’s next.

When life gets me down, I often think about my sister’s hat, and her resiliency in the face of those horrible bullies. Nothing gets her down for too long, she just keeps moving, keeps fighting, keeps smiling, keeps finding the good things in this dumb old mean world.

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