Memoir

The sun comes up and the sun goes down. Seasons fade away.

Voices drift to silence, flowers wilt to dust; everything changes in time.

As the dust motes float upon the rays, I often find myself thinking,

‘hopefully I’ll find myself soon; someday soon I’ll know who I am.’

When I close my eyes on the light I see the things that make up the equation;

even if I I’m not proud of them I know I can’t wish them away.

Tuck secrets underneath the couch cushions; hide them from prying eyes.

Maybe I’ll hide some other things too. Just one more; maybe everything.

A chest is the safest place of course. One with a lock and key.

A key that few know how to use; I have to teach them- but she learned herself.

 

It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when she stepped across the threshold

into my world of the grass and trees, the laughs and the smiles.

Where the memories get hazy- perhaps because they’re all so similar- she enters

skinny as a twig with a grin too big for her freckled face.

In the haze, Erin becomes my other half, my long lost sister.

We play until I don’t know what it was like to live without her there,

in the purple house next door, ten feet away.

 

We run to catch the ghost; she’s faster and she knows it

but still she laughs and so do I.

Her brother plays along once he’s old enough and soon we are three:

her and him and me.

The possibilities are endless; a sandbox for ‘cooking’, a pool for pirates,

a trampoline for ‘chicken’, and a skateboard for ‘rockets’.

He makes me laugh and she keeps me going.

 

Soon everything is changing; and she is the object of my envy.

Still my sister, still the closest anyone could get; but the differences seem huge

and I can’t see past them no matter how hard I try.

She tells me about the sadness, and I don’t understand.

I tell her things will get better; she cries that I am the only one she can tell.

I can’t help thinking, ‘how can she be sad when she has everything?’

I don’t tell her that though.

I try and say it all, but even though my life is changing

with a new school, new people, a whole new way,

I can’t think of anything to say.

She finds it easier to talk, and I love to listen.

We work together like a well oiled machine.

I know everything about everyone she knows-

especially the important ones, of course.

She knows as well as I can explain, and she wishes

she could understand what it’s like to go to school

somewhere that isn’t her home.

 

The years fly by with me as confidant and her as captain

but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Maybe I am the co-captain.

I’m going to another chapter while she stays where she has always been.

The beginnings of the whispers begin, ‘restlessness’, ‘jealousy’, ‘sadness’.

And yet with all of this there is a different kind of happiness that we hadn’t

found before.

 

Her and me and him still make it through; a trio we are.

Of course, feelings always get in the way and mess everything up.

Things are shifting and I feel the floor crack immediately-

I try to pull it back together but I’ve always been deceptively weak

and I am not strong enough to do it myself.

One year, maybe two. It’s hard but I don’t tell her about the earthquakes.

And then I do, the best I can, but it’s still not right.

She tries to understand and says its okay; but it still feels unstable.

 

He had always been a part of it all, but now we are stranded

and I can’t help like feeling I am on one side of the fault and he is on the other.

Erin’s sadness has returned and the talks of life and boys are interrupted

by how she is feeling; the grasping for words to say things just right.

This time I understand; sometimes I feel it too.

 

We are reaching, we are reaching so far but the air is black.

Her arm pushes mine to see if I can scratch the surface. I can’t.

I give her a push, she stretches as far as she can and yet her fingers

slip off the cool handle.

If we could see what we’re reaching for it would be much easier.

Are we lost? Can we be lost if we don’t know where we’re

supposed to go in the first place?

Erin and I wonder together, in the silence and in the talking.

 

Words are an escape from the world we try to understand together.

Our machine proves itself again, creating stories

to characters that we can control; whose lives we set the course for.

This will be the new us, something to work for, something to complete

that no one else could do better, funnier- prettier.

We read them as well, of course, and the stories fill up the parts of me

that had felt so empty before.

 

Now there are too many ‘him’s’ to handle. We try to

keep them straight. It’s not too difficult considering that nothing happened.

She’s the only one I talk to, really. The only one who listens.

Everyone else is a friend, but not in the same way, and they don’t understand.

She is a part of me, and I am part of her. I can feel it in my bones.

After all the confusion over hims and hows and whens

we know there’s only one end to this.

The light will chase away the black and we’ll see what we’ve

been reaching for the whole time. Too bad the surprise is spoiled;

we now know we’ve been reaching for two different doors the whole time.

At least when everything was black we didn’t have to see it before us.

Now it’s here, and there is no reaching, only the closing of the doors

and we are gone. How do we say goodbye?

After all these years how do we lose a part of the person in the mirror

that we’ve maybe finally figured out?

 

I am leaving first. Then she will leave next.

Goodbye, goodbye. Not for long, we hope.

We know ‘not for long’ will still be too long.

She is me and I am her and we learned how to live

walking alongside each other, chasing the other’s shadow.

Who is she without me? Who am I without her?

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