Test 3, Day 5

England 353 (Stokes 112, Cook 88) and 313 for 8 dec (Bairstow 63, Westley 59, Root 50) beat South Africa 175 (Bavuma 52, Roland-Jones 5-57) and 205 for 7 (Elgar 136, Moeen 4-45) by 239 runs

#

The days after my father died were dark and numb. It was fall and the grass was brown and the whole world smelled like pine and dust. The days dragged along. There was very little outpouring of emotion or obvious sadness, mostly there was just silence.

One Saturday my little brother, mother and I returned home from an errand. It was dark outside already even though it was only early evening. There was a chill in the air. I was in the hall putting my jacket on a hanger when I heard my sister and mother yelling in the kitchen.

“HE SAID YES!!” I heard my sister yell.

“YOU ASKED HIM!” I heard my mother reply in a scream — with almost girlish delight.

There hadn’t been that kind of noise in the house for weeks.

I went into the kitchen to find out what was going on and learned that my sister had asked a boy to the Sadie Hawkins dance (the traditional dance where the girls would ask the boys instead of vice versa) and the boy, Steve, whom she knew from a church youth group, had said yes.

My sister was positively glowing. I had never seen her so happy. All the darkness of the past few weeks was gone from her eyes. She was overjoyed. It was a moment of pure happiness that you rarely see in real life. The kind of moment that only appears on film or in sport.

The dance happened and they dated for a while and Steve was around the house a lot. He was a calming presence. Helping us set up a new computer, patiently and kindly admonishing me for picking on my brother, going with my sister on walks with the dog.

In January they broke up and my sister was crushed, positively crushed. But life went on. And she had other triumphs and other set backs, successes and failures. And she is happy a lot, always seeming to have a smile on her face and to be excited about something. At least I like to think she’s happy, despite the coldness that life can deal out with apparent randomness.

But when I think about my sister happy — really and truly happy — I think about that moment in the kitchen that one horrible autumn when, for just a little while, everything wasn’t just okay, everything was perfect.

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