My Sister Liz

A lot of autumn nights, Liz would climb up the tree against my window and I’d find my sheets wrinkled in leaves as if she had left some piece of herself with me. She barely went out during the winter, the snow and cold the only prevention our parents never could repeat to keep Liz in line. In the spring when the nights got chilly, Liz always forgot to bring a sweater or something warm, so when she finally pulled up the window and slipped across my bed like a worm she’d end up slipping under the sheets and rubbing her cold hands against the still warmth of my arm.

One spring night, when it literally dropped twenty degrees after sunset, I asked Liz as she drew her rosy fingertips against my skin, “Why do you go out at night?”

She laughed, her voice muffled against my blanket, “It’s so funny you ask ‘why’ instead of ‘where,’ or ‘with whom,’ Claire Bear.”

I didn’t get it, but she went on. “Sharon and Pat, or mom and dad, they don’t ever ask me why. They think they know, so they don’t bother.”

“But they don’t know?”

“No, they really don’t.”

She was quiet for a minute, and I figured she didn’t want to go on, so I asked. “Why do you call them that? Sharon and Pat?”

She clicked her tongue, probably thinking of something nice to say, to make it nicer for me, “I’m older now, so I feel more mature like them, like a peer.”

“Don’t lie.”

“Okay, okay. It’s just, they’re people, you know? It’s easier for us to call them ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ because then we feel good about them. We think of them like these wonderful, caring, giving figures and spearheads in our lives, instead of two just, individuals. I think of you like an individual, like a real person, Claire Bear, but ‘mom’ and ‘dad,’ how I thought of those… ideas. That’s dead.”

I thought about this, and thought about this for many years after.

“I think of you like an individual too, Lizzy.” I wrapped my tiny arms around her, and she wrapped her big ones around me.

My Sister Liz

bridgealita11

Joined December 2007

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Artist's Description

A deep moment between two sisters.

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