in touch with your sister


“You might want to get in touch with your sister,” the email says.

It’s from Mum, of course, and I know this despite her having another new last name.

“You might want to get in touch with your sister.”

Our first correspondence in eight or twelve or six hundred years.

No signature. No subject header. Just the one line.

“You might want to get in touch with your sister.”

Unfortunately, the one line is all I need.

Because unfortunately, I am still her daughter.

Her cold blood still runs in mine; I am still a medium for her cryptic messages.

Even though I really don’t want to be.

Even though I was really hoping I’d escaped the simmering pot of crazy by now.

Outrun the echo of our bohemian-witch-cursed past.

But no. I haven’t.

Looks like none of us have.

“You might want to get in touch with your sister.”

It means that my sister is dying.


And it means that I should do something.

Trouble is, there is nothing I can do.

I’ve never said those words before, and once upon a green time I would have denied they existed.

I certainly wouldn’t have recognized a person who used them.

Myself. I wouldn’t have recognized myself.

But here we are. And suddenly I wonder, how was it ever even determined that I could fix us, heal anything, anyway?

Was it some promise I made when I was young, so madly in love with them, so freaked out by how lost they were?

Was it some last prayer that leapt from my father’s mangled body dying soul?

Delilah, please take care of them.

“I tried, Dad,” I want to tell him.

But then I’d have to avert my eyes and say lamely, “It just turned out to be a bit more than I could handle.”

It’s not that I’ve given up, exactly.

Or, I don’t know, maybe it is.

But it doesn’t mean I feel nothing.

When it comes down to it, I’m actually pretty scared.

In part because I’m afraid this time it will be for real.

I mean, of course, right?

Death is scary.

But it’s not just that.

It’s something more peripheral than that.

It has to do with the dark thing that has been lurking around my sister for almost as long as I can remember.

The thing that makes her scream and ravage her own face, overdose, sleep in cemeteries, fuck men that throw her out of cars.

I am so scared for her.

Or by her. I don’t even know.

But I have always been so scared for her by her.

My sister has beaten death before.

Each time looking more skeletal and raw for it.

But what if this time, her heart actually stops, her eyes actually close?

What if this time we bury the sweet destroyed body (that once belonged to a girl that held my hand, taught me to tiptoe, slept in my top bunk)?

Will her addiction claw its her way up out of the clean earth, and haunt her forever? Or will she finally be free?

If I could convince her right now that there is light and beauty in life’s design, I would. Please believe me.

But in the meantime, do you want to know what terrifies me?

That she will convince me that there’s not.


6 thoughts on “in touch with your sister

  1. If there was really light and beauty in life’s design, then why so many unanswered questions. For example why do bad things happen to good people? Why is it no matter how hard I try I keep pounding my head against the same proverbial concrete wall, only to do it again later. Round and round in the same circle I go… groundhog day after groundhog day. One thing I do know is death. When it’s your time it is simply your time. It doesn’t make a difference if we are simply walking across the street, sleeping, or in the middle of a war zone. When it is someone’s time to die there is nothing we can do to alter that.

  2. One of the few things we are assured of about this life is that it will end. Since the age of 19 and 22 I’ve had a personal conviction that gives me real peace and it’s in Jesus. Not the religion but the person, the saviour, the friend who handles these matters. Who offers comfort in our frail human condition, and peace that goes beyond our limited understanding. He’s the other thing we’re assured of. I sense your anguish and questioning, and pray that in Him you (and your family) find that peace and ultimately joy coz it is intended for you.

    1. Why thank you 🙂 with regards to my original comment (I’m assuming by the reply that you were referring to that?), I had him in mind when I wrote that. Not everybody knows the personable person I’m talking about. Faith is often equated with religiosity (the accepted norm), which I find difficult and unforgiving and boring (I bore easily); J.C is anything but.

      Someone once told me, the skeptic, that it’s almost too good to be true, but it’s true. Grace is rather scandalous, really 🙂

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