Sunday, July 11, 2010

Between sisters

I answer the phone, Hello? She begins right away, she jumps in before I can catch my breath. This is familiar, her need for me to hear her. 

Alison? I didn’t drink for quite some time.  And then all of a sudden I did again.  That’s when I got my babies taken from me.

I’m not sure where she’s going with this, but I know she's hurting and she needs to defend herself.  My upper lip trembles because I am little sister again and also the bad guy, the one who stole her children. I remember the time, I remember the reasons. I skin my knee tripping over her words this morning, all of a sudden I did it again. I'm picking up every scap, every clue, I'm throwing away the cans, emptying the ashtrays, folding the clothes, putting the babies to bed. I'm asking for my parents to hear me, for my friends to help me.

She skips over my voiceless thoughts, like the chalk we drew on damp sidewalks, like our stories washed away in the rain.  It's her turn. When she starts, I don't stop her.

I remember the church where she was baptized. I still remember that. And all of a sudden, well anyway, it just happened. I can’t remember now, well, anyway, it happened. I remember that, we were sitting in that bathroom in the church and it meant a lot, you and me talking. We were together then, and it ended up that you were with my children. I’m glad that you were the one because if something ever happened, I wanted to be you and something did happen and it was you. So, I meant it. Well, that’s what I meant. Here it is. Of all the people in the world, I’m so glad that you’re the one with them. I hope you don’t mind. I’m so happy you were with them. Of course I hated it then, that I was so sick inside of me. But pretty soon, it’s going to be your birthday.  I remember, do you remember?  I drove all the way to, oh gosh, I don't know, I was in Dad's car, and I was like 14 years old. I guess that old, and I took Dad's credit card and took off and went all the way to, all the way to Oklahoma.  That was crazy, I just want to say that was crazy. 

I wrangle the memories and force them against a wall, into submission.  I tie them together and place them on the floor where they can't hurt her, or me. I choke the breath out of them and let them go to the sky.  I push away the fact that I am her little sister and I step back into the shoes of her protecter.

That's how they go sometimes, our conversations.  That's my sister.  My beautiful, damaged, pure, messed up big sister.  No one knows her like I do. No one loves me like she does.  After all the crazy shit, it's still our truth. 


Anonymous said...

This post hit a bit to close to home for me tonight, in some way, I know what you know. It doesn't stop, but you love anyway...I love, because God commands us to do so.
Beautifully written by the way..

Velvet Sacks said...

The fact that those children are all grown up now must help your sister to understand that you, and others, made the absolute best of a bad situation. I'm glad she let you know she appreciates you. It's kind of you to listen to her and wise of you to compartmentalize those memories in a way that's safe for both of you.

Fitzhughkid said...

I can confirm your sister’s love for you. Other recipients include Jessie, Nanci, her kids, and me. And of course, your Mom and Dad. At least once a day she says “I will never forget my Dad, he ........” (and a story begins) or “I just love my Mom so much ........” (another story) The Oklahoma incident is painful to me now, because of how it affected her life. But maybe that is why we are back together now. When I hold her close, a voice inside me says “I love this girl, I love this girl"

ghost said...

love is the only truth.

Pony Writer said...

Alison she tells me every time I see her, "I don't know what I would have done without my sister, I don't know what I would have done without my children, I don't know what I would have done without my father..." It is one of those thoughts that is still jumbled in her mind, mixed up where she kind of can't sort it out but wants to communicate that she knows it was right, even though it hurt so much. And when she introduced me to her grown daughter, she was so proud of the lovely woman she has become, and I could see in her eyes the gratitude meant for you. As for The One With The Shining Halo who holds her tight at night, I think that love she feels is what helps her let go of the bad and embrace the good. She is a very, very lucky and loved girl.