From inside the house, the wind outside could be heard howling. The strong gust of wind shook the trees as the leaves rustle against each other. The sight and sound of raindrops hitting the window panes brought back fond memories as I sat by the window watching the dark mysterious sky open up. Ever since we were young, my mother had always warned me and my siblings not to play in the rain and about the ground swallowing children playing in the rain. Young and cheeky as we were, we wouldn’t heed her advice. All of us, except Zandra, the second eldest among us all, would rush out to play whenever it rained. We loved to feel the raindrops hitting out face and to smell the freshness of the air. It was as if rain was a cleansing process on earth. Zandra, whom we called “goody-two-shoes”, would complain to our mother and soon, the sight of our mother, with a cane in her hand and an umbrella in her other hand could be seen coming towards us.
Without looking at each other, my brothers, Zachary and Zack and I would run into the house. Inside, dripping, we would be caned by our mother. Though it hurt, my brothers and I would be always caught playing in the rain whenever it rained. We could not be stopped. Perhaps, this was why I was closer to my brothers than Zandra, my sister. I would never forget the day when Zachary and I were alone at home. Mom and dad were taking Zack and Zandra to Uncle Ben’s house. As they would be back way past my bedtime, I was not allowed to go. On the other hand, Zachary did not like to going to Uncle Ben’s house as he claimed that it was too small and seemed like everything was crammed together. So, Zachary was left with the task of babysitting me. Between Zack and Zachary, I was closer to my eldest brother, Zachary. As I was the youngest in the family, Zachary was doted on me. No matter how busy he was, he would always make it a family, Zachary would be there whenever others too busy to hear my whines and sadness, Zachary would be there to comfort me.
Perhaps, that was why I was closest to Zachary among all my siblings. Not long after they left for Uncle Ben’s house, it started to rain. Gleefully, Zachary and I looked at each other. Without needing to say a word, Zachary and I rushed out into the rain. We had a great time chasing each other and splashing around in the puddles everywhere. Out laughter could be heard everywhere and it felt as if the whole world was ours. We had never laughed so much in our lives. After about half an hour, we decided that we should get back into the house and dry ourselves just in case out parents decided to come home early to check on us. Little did I know that it would be the last time I played in the rain, that it was the last time Zachary and I would feel as if we had nothing to worry about, as if the whole world was ours. For unknown to us, our lives were about to be changed forever. As expected, Zachary and I were down with cold and fever the next day. With proper care and medication, I was well again after a couple days. Meanwhile, Zachary was nowhere near getting well.
A week later he was still sick and was then that doctor decided that Zachary should take a blood test to check if anything else was wrong. The next day, the blood test result came back and our world came crashing down when the doctor diagnosed that Zachary was suffering from leukaemia. Day by day, I watched Zachary transform from a muscular, handsome teenager into a thin sickly young man. All his soft auburn hair had fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. He was no longer muscular but just all skin and bones. His sunken eyes had dark patches under them and he looked like a skeleton. Looking at him, I could not help but blame myself for believed that it was because of me Zachary was really sick. I felt that had I not decided to play in the rain that day, Zachary would still be the way he was before all this happened.
As if one bad news was not enough, doctor told that Zachary had about a month more to live. Mom and dad decided to bring Zachary home as there was nothing else the doctor could do for Zachary. Besides, Zachary had said that he wanted to die at home, not in the hospital. I felt so much anger towards myself for not being to relieve all the pain my beloved brother was going through. On the fateful day, it was raining just like today. Outside, the house was engulfed in darkness, trees shook with the strong winds. A gloomy atmosphere surrounded us all, as if a sign that something bad was about happen. It was already 8 o’clock in the morning but it looked as if it was 8 at night.
Mom was in the kitchen preparing breakfast while dad, Zandra and Zack were reading newspaper in the living hall. Zachary was in bed in his room. I sat close to him and as if he knew that he had only moments to spare, he held my hands tightly. ‘Thanks for the wonderful time I had with you. You are my best sister, take good care of yourself.’ Just then he stopped. I shouted for my mother but then it was too late. Zachary left us at every young age and I blamed myself for not listening to my mother ‘s advice before. The rain outside reminded me of the laughter and fun that we had but took it away soon after.