By Emma Omid
“Get on the sled. Just get on the sled. You can do it. Don’t be afraid.”
The small boy’s sister stood at the top of the hill, holding the plastic sled in place. His hands curled close to his chest, the worn mittens scratching against his heavy jacket. He shook his head.
“Come on. It’s going to be okay. It’s fun! You have to try it.” She patted the unstable seat. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
The boy slid his foot forward, then hesitated. He looked at his sister’s eyes, wide and bright and filled with excitement. He took another step. She smiled from behind her scarf. The purity behind the expression pushed the boy towards her and onto the sled.
“Alright. Are you ready?”
The boy shook his head no.
She pushed the sled towards the hill as hard as she could. The boy watched her covered hands let go of him. As the sled moved against the heavy snow, he felt his heartbeat all over. The pounding was in his head and hands, all the way down to his feet.
He held onto the sled’s string tightly as the wind whipped against his eyes. His eyelids closed against his will. The sled continued on, faster and faster, until the boy felt it move up. He got his eyes to open right as the sled pushed off the earth.
He barely recognized the snow ramp before he came crashing down. A few seconds later, he was at the bottom of the hill. The sled slowed to a stop and the boy rolled off of it.
Pain shot through his entire torso. Moaning, he tried to get up, but couldn’t. His sister’s footsteps got closer and closer.
“Are you okay? Oh, my God. Come on. Let’s get home. Here, get back on the sled.” She helped him roll over, then started pulling him across the field.
“I promise it’ll be okay. I’ll ride with you if you want. But, look! There’s no ramp. You’ll be fine.”
The boy sat on the sled, holding the string tightly. He nodded towards her.
“Okay. Just a sec.,” she said as she started walking towards the back of the sled while still trying to keep hold of it.
As she pulled her leg up to get on, she lost her grip. The sled began sliding down the hill at full speed, her terrified brother still aboard.
The boy held his eyes open for as long as he could, but the cold wind slapped so hard against them that his eyelids closed once again. As the sled continued on, the boy groaned in fear.
But before he knew it, he was at the bottom. The sled slowed. When the boy no longer felt movement, his eyes creaked open. He took in the white view. His sister remained at the top of the hill, waving.
He waved back and smiled. His legs pushed him up and off the sled, then he dutifully grabbed the string and started back up the hill.
“Do you want to go again?” she yelled at him.
The boy nodded in excitement, ready to go.