“My sweet Beth,” Jo sings, leaning over the wheelchair, her unruly hairy falling around her face. She claps her hands together, jumping up, “Give me a task to do!’
Beth lets out a breathy laugh and sighs, trying to think of something to no avail. Suddenly, her eyes meet with the kite Jo had brought out. She practically lights up, sitting straighter in her chair, “Let’s pretend we’re riding on a kite!”
Jo beams, darting from the chair to where the kite lay in the sand. She bends over, scooping it up in one swift motion and flutters back to Beth’s chair. “Here,” she commands, handing it over to her younger sister. “You hold it.”
The younger March girl takes it hesitantly, the wooden spool weighing down on her frail hands. She frowns, “Jo- I don’t think I’ll be able to fly it well from my chair.” Beth bows her head, downcast and ashamed.
“Nonsense! We’re pretending anyway!” Jo scolds, pulling the kite’s string out a bit farther in hopes that it would catch wind. “Another great story for me to write, yes?”
Beth cannot help but smile at this. “Yes,” she nods earnestly, her grip tightening on the reel.
“See?” Jo asks, watching as the kite takes flight above their heads. “I knew you could do it! You’re very strong, Beth.”
Beth shakes her head with a smile, “Oh, how you flatter me, Jo.”
After a while of lifeless floating above them, Jo swipes the spool from her sister’s hands, steering the kite. It’s ribbons fly in the air, mimicking the crashing waves before their eyes. Jo dances through the sand and the sisters laugh, reveling in their time together.
A large gust of wind whips across the shore, challenging Jo’s balance and knocking the kite from the sky. She sighs, running to it’s stagnant spot in the sand. Upon inspection, she finds it has a tear- a nasty large gash ripped through it. Jo picks up the kite slowly, smiling apologetically as she heads back to Beth’s chair.
Beth frowns and looks away for a moment, a feeble finger wiping at her pooling eyes. She turns her attention back toward Jo, “Can I tell you a secret?”
“I never made plans about what I would do when I grew up,” Beth begins, her voice barely above a whisper. She swallows hard, speaking louder now- with a new solemn confidence, “And I’m not afraid to die. The hardest part, Jo, is leaving you.”
Jo rushes to Beth’s side, dropping to her knees in front of the chair. She grabs her younger sister’s hands, pleading, “I won’t let it happen. You’ll get better. You will.”
Beth smiles sadly and shrugs, “Some things are meant to be.”
“Don’t talk like that, Beth!” Jo all but shouts, her chastisement heard for miles down the beach. Her head falls into her sister’s lap in an act of desperation- she is helpless. “Please,” she begs, her voice softer this time.
Beth smiles again, wriggling her hand free from Jo’s grasp to smooth it over her sister’s chestnut curls. She sighs, her voice docile and sweet, “All my life, I’ve lived for loving you. Let me go now.”