Once upon a time (most probably in 2001), my sister asked for a story for her birthday. "So that it is beautiful."
I used an idea that'd been lurking in my head for some time and started writing that story on the remaining empty pages in an old school notebook. (And that's from where I deduce it was in 2001, because the notebook was for the schoolterm 1999/2000).
I filled eight more notebooks with the story. And I finished it about three years after that particular birthday.
But every time I wrote a considerably long part, we sat down on one of our beds in the evening, and I read to her what I had written.
It is her story. Written by me, and very much mine; but written for her, and five of the characters in it are her own.
I missed writing it after I had finished. A lot. I still miss it. There are many silly parts and many mistakes now that I read it after the years, but overall it's a very good story, filled with things I like and would like others to know and like. The characters are very important to me, too.
Reading it as I was writing it was one of the traditions connected to it, but soon another one was born - as I did not finish the story for the birthday, or for the Christmas afterwards, not even for other birthdays and Christmases, I started giving my sister illustrations to the story instead.
The first two were made, I guess, before we had scanner. So I cannot show you, and given the quality of the pictures (compared to the latter ones), I guess that's a good thing.
This is, I believe, the third illustration I've made for my sister. Showcasing two of my favourite characters - the main character, Vladyka, a 15-year-old boy who's discovering there's more to the world than he thought, in the front, and his new adult friend and advisor Joshua in the back. Admiring the pure blue skies and musing about purity.
(I kind of want Vladyka's t-shirt.)
I actually started this whole post because of a part of the story I re-read last night...
Vladyka comes back from the pre-Christmas celebration with his new Christian friends and finds only his elder sister at home.They lead a more serious conversation than usual, which leads to them sealing a peace of arms - they had been fighting and teasing each other a lot before.
"...You're going back to the religion of your ancestros, bro."
"Parents are not at home, are they?"
"You wouldn't be talking like this otherwise."
"No, they're not."
"Hey, what's that you're wearing on your neck?"
"I got that from Kněžna."
"Isn't it? It's a fish. The symbol of the first Christians, and Christians on the whole."
"I thought that was the cross."
"Well, that too. This was kind of a camouflage. It's ICHTHYS or something in Greek - like an abbreviation for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. Kind of a confession of faith."
"Bro, we've always been arguing and fighting, haven't we?"
Vladyka graciously remained silent.
"We've been stupid. Do you want peace?"
They shaked hands, thoroughly and earnestly.
"Wait, we have to drink to that," sister had an idea - oh, wait, sister Kateřina had an idea. She has a name, too. "There's some wine left."
"Hey, I'm not of age yet!"
"Doesn't matter. It's just a little bit, look."
Vladyka admitted he can't get drunk by that amount. He got another idea and cut a slice of bread.
"Bread and wine..." Katka said. "That reminds me of something."
"That's the Communion," Vladyka explained.
Katka's brow frowned in thought. Then it finally clicked into place.
"Well, but I'm not Christian."
"And I'm not baptised yet. I don't mean it as seriously as in church anyway. More like a symbol." He broke the slice of bread into two and gave her one half. She didvided the wine into two glasses.
"So - to our peace. Let it last," she said. "Until death."
"Even further," Vladyka dared.
"You Christians are crazy," she concluded.