Your sister is dead. Burning tears seep from your eyes as you drive your car or grill halibut on your patio. In moments of clarity, you realize that it’s grief. But why do you grieve? Dallis was a mean girl, your nemesis. Your Moriarity whose sole purpose in your life was to bust your chops. Even in your dreams she shows up, a black cancerous blob come to shut you down. Her tapered fingers with deathly purple manicure reach across the dimensions and choke you. You wonder if you’re going crazy. You don’t recognize your cat.
A control freak, she liked you when it served her. You did it her way or no way—it was always her way. Your mother encouraged it, keeping you outside the circle of mother and daughter. For your mother, the sun rose and set on Dallis—you could never compare.
You could have celebrated Dallis’s life at the Art and Garden Center. You might have wondered at the hundreds of people who attended and said such nice things. You might have joked that most of them came for the open bar. But you weren’t invited. So you pound furiously at your keyboard and question your existence. Have you always felt so angry, so disenfranchised? Be honest.
Look into the glass your mother always held in front of you. That’s the gold standard, the image of Dallis Jean the Jovial Jelly Bean Queen, staring back at you.
“Why can’t you be more like your sister?” your mother accuses.
“I don’t know why you say things like that.”
You want to quip, “You taught her.” What is it they say, that cliché? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. You remember them, mother and daughter in your sister’s bedroom after school, apple-cheeked and giggling, at your expense. The Beatles trill “oooooooo!” softly in the background. Just loud enough for you to hear.
You look up from your book. “Turn it up,” you call.
“Buy your own record, ugly,” Dallis replies.
You ask your mother to drive you to the record store.
“Your sister bought it. We don’t need two.”
It was your favorite record, and Dallis didn’t buy it. Mom did. But you knew better than to expect equity.
Your job was to take the blame. If your sister clinked the lid closing the cookie crock, she’d say, “Mo-o-om! She’s stealing cookies.” You knew to disappear. It was safer than trying to fight for the truth.
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