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1.31 Kim - Good Luck Sister Kim Young was used to being different.

For one thing, she was the only Asian girl in her class. Even though she was born in St. Josephs hospital in North Bay, Ontario, and hadnt a speck of the accent her own immigrant parents possessed, she looked different and so felt different from all her classmates. Kim was 11 years old. She had long, straight black hair, shiny as a starlings feather. She was small for her age, and seemed to always be looking upwards at the people and things around her. Her skin showed the permanent, sunny tan of her Chinese ancestors, and her small eyes sparkled behind her large glasses. Kim lived in a little house with a cheerful garden in the front yard, on a busy street called Castle Road with her parents and her younger brother, An. An was 8 years old but had never been to school; he was born with muscular dystrophy, which made his muscles weak and pulled his arms and legs in strange directions. He had difficulty walking and mostly stayed in his electric wheelchair, or in his bed. Kim and An were best friends, even though they were brother and sister. For a long time, Kim was the only person in the house who could understand what An was trying to say his speech was sometimes muddled, or slow, but Kim always knew what he meant. It was like she and An had a secret language, and this brought them closer together. Ans world was fairly small. He didnt leave the house very often, except to go to doctors appointments. He had never done so many of the things that Kim loved to do: walking in the forest, playing baseball, skating on ice rink in winter. Kim tried her best to share these experiences with An. She would bring him leaves from the forest, and she would give him the play-by-play account of her schools latest basketball game. Once, Kim brought a small snow man inside for An. She put it at the foot of Ans bed to watch over him that night. Well, it melted into the blankets, so they were soaking wet like a dish sponge. The next morning Lilly, their mother, came to Ans room and sat on the foot of his bed to wake him up she woke him up alright! She sat in the cold, wet spot and leapt up screaming! An and Kim laughed together for days saying that Mom had peed her pants!

This led to a long campaign of practical jokes which Kim and An played on their mother. The jokes were mostly Ans idea, and Kim would execute them like the devoted accomplice she was. One day, Kim snuck one of Ans adult diapers into Lillys underwear drawer. Oh, you two! exclaimed Lilly, when she found the blue striped plastic brief in her drawer. An giggled compulsively as Kim explained Mom, its in case you have another accident. If you wear a diaper, nobody else will know! Lilly was tolerant of her childrens pranks because she loved them both and she wanted An to enjoy himself as much as possible. Kim and Ans father, unfortunately, did not have a sense of humour. Li Zhijian was a proud man who worked very hard and sacrificed many years in order to bring his new wife, Lilly, to Canada where they could start a family and a new generation of prosperity would begin. When An, his first son, was born ill, Li Zhijian was sure it was a very bad omen. He felt like he or his wife must have done something wrong for their first born son to be so weak and sickly. Li Zhijian did not spend much time with his family, but instead worked at his computer company all the time, for many hours every day. Lilly explained to her children that this is how her husband was able to make a good living to provide food, education and the house for his family. She told her children that their father showed them how much he loved them by working very hard every day. But he often came home only after he knew both children were in bed, and in the morning at breakfast he did not look at or talk to An or Kim very much. An and Kim tried not to annoy their father, but sometimes he was accidentally the butt of their practical jokes. One night, Kim poured water on the couch cushion so that her mother would sit in it when she sat down to watch Wheel of Fortune. She brought An into the living room so he could see what happened. Unfortunately, their father decided to join them that day, and Kim watched in horror as he sat down on the soaked couch cushion. Li Zhijian roared in outrage when he felt the cold, wet water soak the pants of his expensive business suit. He sent both children to their rooms and this time, they did not laugh.

An was startled to hear his father bellow, and he felt sick in his belly. He knew his father thought his birth was a bad omen for the family, but Kim hated to see her brother in a melancholy mood. Youre my good luck brother, An, Kim whispered to him. I would be very lonely without you. Father may believe it was a bad omen when you were born, but it was a good omen for me, because I am never lonely. This made An feel better; he could feel the truth of her words in his heart. When Kim went to school, An stayed home and worked on his homeschooling with Lilly and he looked forward to four oclock, when Kim returned. Kim did not have any friends at school. Even her team mates on the basketball team kept their distance from Kim. You see, Kim not only looked different than the other children at school, she behaved differently. She didnt understand exactly how she was different from the other kids, she only knew that she was. Kim could see and hear things that the other children didnt seem to see or hear. She could see a shimmering light around every person in her classroom. It looked like the air rising off of the hot pavement in summer time. Sometimes, this shimmering would have a colour, and the colour could tell her about the persons mood and health. One night, at a basketball game, Kim noticed that this light around one of the girls on the opposing team was different it changed from a soft blue to a shimmering green around the girls left knee. Kim understood that the light was telling her this girls knee was weak and shed better be careful. Kim went up to this girl and asked, Is there something wrong with your knee? The girl, whose name was Larissa, was startled that this girl she didnt know, from another school, on the opposing team, would come up to her and just start talking to her about her knee. If fact, it frightened Larissa a little bit because her knee had been feeling weak lately, but she hadnt told anybody about it. Go away! she hissed at Kim. Larissa didnt know what to think about this strange girl. The game was about to begin and all the girls ran out to take their places on the court. Larissa was the tallest girl on the team, so she always played centre and was used at

the tip-off at the beginning of every game. She crouched in readiness for the whistle the tip-off was her favourite part. The whistle tweeted and Larissa launched into the air, and connected with the ball success! Her heart swelled in her chest as she sank down to earth - but her weak knee crumpled under her and she crashed to the gym floor. Her knee was in agony. Her mind was a red fog of pain. She was angry and hurting, upset that she had let her team down. She screamed and pointed at Kim, That girl! That girl cursed me! She said something would be wrong with my knee! Its her fault! Kim was shocked. She knew full well that Larissas knee was weak before the game, but she didnt understand that no one else could see this. To everyone else watching, Kim was the strange girl who walked up to talk to Larissa, without even introducing herself, she told Larissa there was something wrong with her knee not five minutes later, her knee was seriously injured. It did seem that Kim had done something to cause Larissas injury. This frightened all the other kids. They giggled and whispered about her, sometimes they teased her. They might call the rice she brought for lunch maggots or pull their faces so their eyes were exaggerated versions of her own. Sometimes Kim would feel sorry for herself, but most of the time she focused on things she could tell An when she got home that night. The colours around people that Kim could perceive was just the beginning of the strange things Kim could do. Kim could also see invisible people. One day, another girl at Kims school named Sue, showed up to class with her grandmother. Sues grandmother looked right at Kim and smiled the kindest smile, which filled Kim with warmth to receive. Sues grandmother had such a kind face that Kim could barely resist going up to Sue to talk to her. All day, Kim watched Sue and her grandmother. The grandmother seemed content to watch Sue at her school work, standing behind her chair, looking over her shoulder. Sue seemed to be ignoring her grandmother, which Kim thought was very strange.

At recess, Kim watched Sue put on her parka it was winter time and very cold outside. It was so strange that Sues grandmother did not put on a coat at all, but she followed Sue out to the playground to watch her play outside. Finally, curiosity got the better of Kim. She walked up to Sue and ask ed, Doesnt your grandmother get cold without a coat on? What are you talking about, Kim? Sue frowned and looked angry. Your grandmother isnt wearing a coat, isnt she cold? Why doesnt she put something else on? Kim pointed right at Sues grandmother, who smiled and shook her head. Sue looked behind her where Kim had been pointing, and saw no one. You are the meanest girl, Kim Li! shouted Sue. She ran away crying, leaving Kim very confused and a little bit scared herself. She watched Sues grandmother follow Sue and add a pink light to the energy surrounding Sue, and Kim could see that this light was making Sue feel better. Soon Sue had stopped crying and instead was whispering with the other girls and pointing at Kim. Kim just didnt understand the girls at school. She kept incidents like this a secret from her mother. Even though Kim didnt understand why she got into trouble with the girls at school, one thing was certain Kim is the one who was different. It had always been this way. When Kim told the story of Sue and her grandmother to An that night, An couldnt explain it either. Sometimes I think I must be crazy, whispered Kim to An that night. An hadnt been to school, but from the sounds of it, it wasnt such a great place to be. If Kim saw coloured lights around her classmates and invisible people no one else could see, then it must be because his sister was special. But An already knew that Kim was special, she was his good luck sister.

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