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 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.