Piper Prompts Winning Story – Wish

The Highland Piper kicked off our first ever Piper Prompts writing contest with the prompt “Wish.” We received a total of 21 submissions from Shorecrest students, which we voted on as a club, before sending out the top three to the whole school for voting. Our winning piece was written by Hank Rohs.

The other day, my girlfriend saw an eyelash on my cheek. She picked it off with her finger, held it up to me, and told me to make a wish.

I never really understood the appeal of this weird tradition. A piece of hair falls off your eyelid, and then you’re supposed to ask some divine being for something. The same goes for birthday candles, a shooting star, or 11:11. I usually just roll my eyes and say I want a billion dollars.

Another part about wishing I never understood was the purpose. Wishing just evokes pointless fantasizing. A wish is supposed to be unrealistic, because if it was for something realistic, then why would you be simply wishing for it, instead of setting it as a goal to one day achieve.

But if I’m being honest, the reality is that when I actually think about what I would wish for, I get pretty overwhelmed. The first thing that comes to mind is my twin sister. She has mitochondrial disease and autism, leading her to be non-verbal and need assistance in nearly every aspect of life. Growing up with her has been a challenge, from being embarrassed by her at a young age, to being frustrated with her, to being scared for her. She often gets pretty seriously hurt due to her frequent seizures. Most recently she nearly ripped one of her toes off after falling from a seizure. On a social level, she doesn’t really have friends. Being nonverbal, making friends at school is practically impossible. Not being able to do these things that are supposed to be the best parts of growing up, makes me super depressed. So obviously, the first wish that comes to mind is to wish for her to not be disabled.

However, not having a disabled sister would completely change my identity. Being her brother is a part of who I am. Having a sister with special needs has taught me how to feel empathy, and how to act on it. Being so closely connected with someone who is disabled has opened my eyes to the profound disparities in our world, and how cruel it is to some people. Do I really want to change that part of my identity?

Even more importantly though is that my sister’s disability is a part of HER identity, and I have no idea if she would really want that part of herself changed. Would other disabled people wish away their disability? Maybe some, but maybe not others. What right do I have to make that choice for my sister, and erase a part of her identity?

I wish I could ask her.