For Sarah

25 10 2006

A Girl Writer

If I died would you blame me,

Sarah read this poem by the bench where we’d grown up, spending summers counting down to our last; she was my sister, but she never complained or hurt me, or stole my dolls or my boyfriends. I was her little Marie. She’d left for college, of course, but even now I can see her on our front porch, dreaming of more, better, pink suns falling over distant beaches. Sarah was not just a writer, she was a girl. A girl more a girl than I’d ever be; she would glide almost effortlessly, gracing the front steps of only the best young men I’d ever know. Beautiful hair, too – but that’s beside the point; she was a girl that Cosmopolitan only tried to emulate and capture. Sometimes I wondered about the story behind the poem, who wrote it and stuff. I asked her once about the little slip of paper in her copy of Sunrise, Sunset; she fell to the floor, and beneath the delicate, shivering folds of pink satin my sister cried.

Just curve a little – fall away,

Sarah was never much for growing up; and I’m concerned she’s still fifteen inside. I visited her at the Ivy with mother yesterday; the summer light spilled over onto some early falling leaves covering the grass and I knew that behind these walls were people, but still I felt that they were not real in a sense – they all had their fifteen year old selves sleeping and waking. And between it all was Sarah, and it was like there was a Kennedy in the air, you could taste the intangible prestige (the worst kind, mother says). She glowed like a girl and salvation was only so far away. The boys knew it too; mother wouldn’t look at them, but I could see something divine reflected in their eyes.

Could you hate my tender eyes,

Beneath the bench there is a collection of short stories Sarah wrote in her darkest hours. Whenever I felt on the brink of something awful, when the color drained from the photographs in my memory, I could turn to her in secret. I wrote notes sometimes, as someone must have written the original poem into one of her stories. I read her stories and discovered her secret; I felt that psychotic pull towards the gray of life. I knew what sadness was, and against that, what joy was. I am not like her, but more than her in secret, a pool of potential waiting to wake up.

Or save me from my little lies.

On the floor of her college dorm I saw that she had grown up. Something occurred in me as I stretched out there on those hardwood planks and my Marie and I stole away from the life I could no longer be a part of. Floating above my family, watching their movements, little soulfilled tears forming suddenly, I turned to Marie and asked if we could go back. She looked into Sarah’s eyes and so did I, wondering how suddenly I stopped, and we saw her break too. I reached towards my dying body, understanding that I was as much the light of her life as she was mine. I gripped my still-warm hands and cried into them invisible, so invisible, to my Sarah and my mother. When I woke up beneath the rose-red glare of hospital lights and mother, I felt in my hand Sarah’s note; a poem maybe or some secret. And we knew I’d lost Marie.

Piano keys are playing here,
I sense your grace, the smell
The taste, and your atmospheres.

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2 responses

25 10 2006
Dad

Very high quality work. Publishable.

29 10 2006
Julie

I apologize if this sounds a little naive//not a typical response [whatever I mean by that…] but here it is:

I feel a inexplicable attachment to this story, empathetic somehow…maybe I just wish something as interesting [although somewhat sad] would happen for me either directly or indirectly. Maybe it was the way it’s written, while I couldn’t explain the difference really, but the simplistic wording or how the story focuses on the emotions rather than the setting is perhaps what caught by interest…

Julie :]

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