Sisterland

One summer, when we were visiting my grandma in Wichita, Kansas, two men tried to kidnap my sister.

The man in the passenger seat of a car jumped out, moving swiftly toward where she was perched over pebbles, in the front yard.

I beat them to her.

*

I have just a few memories from childhood. I am missing a ton, which I find very odd and somehow also comforting.

But this one, I’ve got. I have actual moment to moment images, that move like pages from a flip book, even now, in the back of my eyes.

I remember seeing the car. I remember seeing the concrete steps in front of me, head lowered, on my way in the house, myself. I remember turning around, sensing fear, gauging the distance, and making the sprint.

I remember her body in my arms as I swept her up.

I remember.

*

I remember when we were little, and she was littler than me, and she would cling to my mom’s leg like it was her savior, and how I would scrunch up my face at her, in disgust.

I hated how much she loved my/our mother. I remember that.

*

I remember calling her corn tooth, in front of the neighbor boys, to humiliate her. Sometimes I sang it, too. I added high notes and low notes to the words, and sang them on repeat. I still remember the tune.

*

I remember pulling the spiral bound notebook out of the back of her car, opening it up to a page, and then another, and another, that spoke of a sadness I could only barely remember. I remember how heavy the notebook felt in my hands.

*

I remember the night she was born. And the first day I held her. Waking up to know my mom was gone. Walking into the back bedroom, climbing up on the bed, and having her placed in my arms.

**

Siblinghood is unlike any other hood. Human cement. Super glue.

On my loneliest days, and my loneliest nights — I turn to the one that I walked beside there, in my early years. The one that loved my mom so much. The one that has known sadness akin to mine. The one I teased. The one I need. The one I saved.

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