Ruby Red was born out of grief. She’s nine. She’s spunky. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She appeared out of the blue and stole the first line of my next novel. She took off running and I’ve been tagging along ever since.

It’s difficult to make sense of life after both your sister and brother die within a few months of each other like Ruby’s did. Her whole world turned upside down so Ruby turned to blogging to try and put things “right” again.

Monday, May 19, 2014


“You’re a firework, Ruby!” Jessie Mobley said. “I mean you’re a lot funner than when we met 'n you got a spark in you now." Kerrington just looked at us shakin' that curly head. "What'cha talkin' 'bout?"

That’s somethin' 'bout Kerrington…she didn’t know me b’fore, I mean she didn’t know me when I was a little sister to a bossy girl ‘n a twin to a boy who made everbody laugh. Back then people felt sorry for Loraine. Even Loraine. She couldn’t always go to school. She was too sick. She couldn’t breathe right ‘n some days couldn’t even walk to the ‘frigerator to get a glass a milk or an apple. She didn’t like apples anyway. She didn’t like health foods. She liked candy bars. Mostly Almond Joy. Grandpa used to tease her with that commercial song from when he was a little kid. “Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.” Loraine liked hearin’ Grandpa sing that. Maybe that’s why she always ate an Almond Joy when he was around. One time Grandpa gave her a whole big box a Almond Joys for a Christmas present. That made her happy. Loraine scared me. I mean bein’ so puney ‘n walkin’ on them skinny legs that looked like they would snap ‘n break like a twig. I wanted to help her. Lots a times I cried ‘cause I didn’t know what to do ‘n most times I felt sad that I could do things she wanted to do but I didn’t never do ‘em ‘cause I didn’t want her to feel more bad like, well, if I could a played basketball. That woulda broke her heart more’n it was already broken so I just stayed quiet ‘n fetched her things like Almond Joys when she was layin’ on the couch watchin’ TV ‘n tryin’ to stay awake. Loraine had to sleep a lot ‘cause she didn’t have no energy.

Energy was somethin’ Rubin had. Daddy said he had more energy than a racecar at the Daytona 500! Rubin’s philossopy was don’t lay down when you can sit ‘n don’t sit when you can stand ‘n don’t stand when you can walk ‘n don’t walk when you could run. He couldn’t hardly never sit down at the dining’ room table—he had to stand up to eat or bend one leg on the chair seat ‘n stand with the other. ‘N talk! That Rubin talked all the dern time. He kept everbody’ laughin’ too at all the strange things he’d have to say like if you had a bunny pretty soon you’d have a hundred bunnies or a thousand bunnies ‘n they’d live in tunnels under the back yard ‘n one day you’d go outside ‘n all the tunnels would collapse ‘cause there were so many of ‘em ‘n then you could count how many bunnies you had. Everbody liked Rubin ‘n he liked everbody back. I guess ‘cause he talked ‘bout things people liked to talk ‘bout. He made people laugh ‘n when people laughed they was happy. I don’t think sad people can laugh…at least not belly laugh like Rubin made people do.

I always laughed at Rubin ‘n listened to everthing he had to say. I didn’t talk that much ‘cause Loraine wanted everbody to be quiet ‘n Rubin talked so much that I couldn’t fit a word in edge ways. I didn’t never know how to say funny things anyway. I guess I just answered questions. That’s ‘bout all the talkin’ I did.

Kerrington, she wouldn’t a recognized me then. I started thinkin’ on that ‘n membered Jessie Mobley seein’ how sad I was after Loraine ‘n Rubin died. One day she just told me she wanted us to be friends. I didn’t know if I could be a friend or even think a things to say ‘n at first I was scared. I didn’t hardly know what my voice sounded like. By the time I met Kerrington I was talkin ‘n laughin’ pretty good, thanks to Jessie Mobley.

Sometimes when I’m alone I feel guilty-like. Cause I’m still alive. Cause I’m havin’ fun. Cause I can think a funny things to say. I worry that Loraine ‘n Rubin are lookin’ down at me ‘n sayin’ “Will ya just look at that Ruby? I didn’t know she could talk so much. I didn’t know she had any friends. I didn’t know she could dribble a basketball or tell a joke. Maybe she don’t miss us no more. Maybe she’s happy we went away.  

But that’s not the way I feel a tall. I done cried ‘n rolled round in the mud with my arms tight round my chest to keep my heart from breakin’ apart till I was done feelin’ so sad. I still think a them ever mornin’ when I first wake up ‘n sometimes when me ‘n Kerrington ‘n Jessie Mobley are playin’ Angry Birds or Monopoly ‘n eatin’ the rest a Loraine’s Almond Joys that Grandpa gave her I hafta turn round to see if one a them is standin’ there wantin’ to play too.

Since they left me, I got stronger ‘n braver ‘n that’s somethin’ I hope they don’t feel sad ‘bout.


1 comment:

Judy Baker said...

Great Post. Shelia you need to write Ruby's book - Cause she still alive and having fun.It would be a great kid's book.