By C.E. Pereira
Chapter 2: Liza, the test driver
LIZA adores her two big brothers. She follows them everywhere. She imitates them in everything.
But her big brothers are sometimes embarrassed of their little sister tagging along with them. Their friends keep teasing them about baby-sitting Liza.
But the two boys have no choice. Their Daddy wouldn’t budge on this one issue.
They could still hear their Daddy’s voice booming, “Either you let your sister tag along with you or you can both stay at home and put in extra time studying.”
“Which is it going to be?”
So, Liza tagged along with her brothers everywhere.
Once out of hearing of their Daddy, the boys always told their little sister to stay out of the games they would be playing with the neighbourhood children.
But Liza would always asked them, “Why?”
“Because you are still small,” said Andy, the eldest.
“No, I’m not. Daddy said I was getting too big for him to carry me now.”
“Well then, you are a cry-baby. Yesterday, when you fell you bawled like a baby,” said Gerry who was only two years older than Liza.
“Did not,” retorted Liza, sticking out her tongue at Gerry.
“Did too,” answered Gerry, sticking out his tongue too.
“Shut up, both of you.” said Andy. Then pointing a finger at Liza, Andy said, “You can play but no crying. If the bigger boys push you down while playing catching, you cannot cry. Understood?”
Smiling broadly, Liza nodded her head.
Skipping and singing, Liza tagged behind her brothers. She was happy to be spending time with them even though they were not.
It became a familiar sight around the neighbourhood to see Liza tagging behind her two brothers.
While baby-sitting their sister, both brothers discovered that she was fun to be with and very competitive in almost everything.
And her brothers decided it was better to have Liza on their team than against them.
This morning Liza was going to test drive the go-kart her brothers built. She was wide awake before dawn, excited for the day to start. The two boys had voted her as test driver. She was feeling very proud that her brothers trusted her to test drive their go-kart.
As she lay in bed waiting for her Mummy to get up, she thought back of the things she did yesterday.
She helped her brothers in building the go-kart. Her brothers let her be a part of their team. She was a full fledged carpenter and mechanic now.
They taught her to use a hammer, how to hit the nail into the plank. And she watched and learned how to build a go-kart.
Only once did she cry. And that was when she was using the hammer and missed the nail, hitting her thumb. That was painful.
She helped in the painting of the go-kart too. Her Daddy kept tins of paint left over after painting something. Their go-kart was painted red, blue, green, white, black and brown. Daddy said it look like patch-work art.
But Daddy and Mummy didn’t know that little Liza was appointed as the test driver. And the two boys told Liza she couldn’t tell Daddy and Mummy. It was their secret, no one was to know.
Liza knew how to keep a secret, especially as she was “The Secret”.
At last, she heard Mummy moving about in the next room. So, jumping out of bed, Liza got ready for the day ahead.
After breakfast, all three of them headed out with the go-kart in tow. Like excited little imps they raced towards a small gravel hill.
It was a perfect day, Liza’s world was spinning correctly. She couldn’t wait to sit in the go-kart.
It took both her brothers to pull the go-kart behind them up the hill.
Liza tagged along behind her brothers, skipping a little. The blue sky was spotted with fluffy white clouds. A slight breeze tickled Liza’s skin and the morning was getting warmer as the sun rose higher in the sky.
Once at the top of the hill they helped Liza get into the go-kart. She was trembling with so much excitement.
Sitting in the go-kart, Liza looked down hill and felt a slight twitch of fear. It was a long way down hill.
She didn’t have time to be afraid as she felt her brothers push the go-kart and it started moving.
Then she was racing at such a speed down hill. Everything was a blur as she tried to control the car. The white fluffy clouds seems to go as fast as the go-kart.
She tried to keep the steering wheel steady but the gravel kept bouncing the go-kart, making it impossible to drive straight.
Liza felt like she was flying and soaring with the wind. And then, the go-kart hit a rock and Liza was flung out. And she went soaring in the air, landing in the dirt she tumbled the rest of the way down the hill.
Her brothers, seeing the drama of their sister being flung out of the go-kart, raced as fast as they could after her. They reached her as she came to a stop at the bottom of that gravel hill.
They were as white as sheet, so was Liza. Surprisingly, she didn’t bawl like a baby. Liza was a trooper.
Her brothers picked her up and checked her for broken bones. Finding none they calmed down a bit and starting praising her for being heroic.
But she was such a mess. Her clothes were dirty and torn. Her arms and legs were scratched and bruised. She looked like she had been hit by a truck!
Her brothers brushed her down as much as possible. Then they told her to sneak back home, have a bath and change her clothes.
As usual, Liza followed her brothers advise. She did as she was told, first hiding the dirty and torn clothes in the laundry basket.
Then she went into the bathroom. The first bucket of water that touched her skin made her whimper in pain. But it was the bathing soap that made Liza cry.
After her bath, Liza’s skin looked red and raw. No way could she hide her bruises. One look at her and her brothers were in hot soup. When Daddy got a look at his little girl, the boys were lucky that all they got was being grounded forever.
And Liza carried her bruises like a badge of honour. She will always say it wasn’t her brothers fault in getting her to be their test driver. She had the adventure of her life at as such a tender age when fear was just a word.
This will be one of those memories that will remain with Liza throughout her life. And she will smile when she thinks of the time when she was a go-kart test driver.
And everything is right in Liza’s world again.
Cont: Chapter 3