Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Creation of a Sister
It's happening to her, just the same as it did to him, maybe even at the same age.
She sits at the table tonight, intently devouring her supper when she lays down her fork. She tips her head to the side, regards me, and says it in a fake-crying voice.
I'm sad because I miss Charlotte.
She sniffles a little bit.
I'm sad because Charlotte isn't here.
I look at her, kindly, lay my hand on her back. I think about how, for the whole two years and seven months of her life, she has seen evidence of this phantom-sister, has heard that this Charlotte has "died", and has not known whatsoever what any of this means.
Suddenly, it's lining up. I see, she says to herself, it's making sense. This person is missing from our family, and I'm part of this family, so I am also supposed to miss her.
So she practices this missing her, and she's only two, so she doesn't yet know what she's missing out on.
Some day she'll dream what it is she's missing, and I know she will feel sad. For now she is just trying it on.
It makes me weep a little.