Life goes on

1967 Elcona Mobile Home
Image via Wikipedia

Keep meaning to finish this, but I haven’t…so here’s the first bit.  I may finish it, maybe not.  Enjoy.

She looks out the kitchen window, her eyes swollen, red rimmed puffs ready to burst again.  I swallow and say, “Well, I know it sucks, but she’ll survive.”

My sister barks a laugh and sobs at the same time.  She grabs her side in pain as she chuckles, wiping at her tears.  “Yeah, I know.  If nothing else, she’s healthy.  Damn it, though, I put her on the pill last year as soon as she started going steady with Freddie.”  She sighed and looked at the stove as if it had the answers.  As if it failed to send out a warning that her 16-year-old daughter was about to get knocked up.

“So how far along is she?”  I ask.

“Four months.”

“Four?  She didn’t notice?”

She shakes her head, avoiding my eyes.

“Well,” I add, “guess that rules out an abortion.”

Sis starts crying again.  This time it is just tears, streaming down her face.  She barely moves a muscle as she stares at the dust bunnies gathered under the kitchen cabinets.  The overhead light feels hot.

“It’s not…like that.  She can have the baby.  Put it up for adoption.  Or maybe I’ll take care of it.  Doesn’t matter.  She doesn’t have to…the way I did.”

My stomach lurches as the memory hits me like the fetid air from a sewer pipe.  Why did I have to go and say that word?  I always forget.  It surprises me that those memories vanish as if some neural acid conveniently wipes that horrible day from my mind, sparing me the heavy guilt I carried for years.

“Hey, honey, I’m sorry.  I didn’t..”  I reach out for her hand, stretching over the wide, oak table.

She gets up, knocking back her chair and walks out back.  I get up too, knowing that I should go out to her, but then what?

We’ve never talked about that day.  We’ve talked about the result – a quick abortion attended by me, mom and Sis.  Sis doubled up in pain as we went home late that night because late-term abortions are never easy, but she survived.

I sit back down, and stare up at the light above the table.  It’s one of those fan-chandelier combo with four, bare bulbs staring down at me like a fiery god that resurrects my long-buried memories.

The sun stood white and small in the sky as we walked along the edge of our farm.  Sis stood a good four inches taller than me so I walked along the canal’s berm and she on the dirt road that led to an orchard farm next to our plowed fields.  That way we could talk to each other face to face.  Now that I think about it, I realize we talked to each other all the time back then.  Said all sorts, hanging our souls out for each other so we could touch, see, hear, and live as one.

What had she been talking about?  Something about a cat?  And boy who had a crush on her?  The memory of her clear, thirteen year old voice comes in snippets, my concentration is on the strange trailer home that sits at the edge of our neighbor’s orchard.  I interrupt her.  “What’s that?”

Sis looks away from me and to the orchard’s edge.  “Looks like McPherson’s got a new laborer.”


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