June 18, 2008
By Katie Barasch, South Salem, NY

The hospital room was always packed with people, so there wasn’t a quiet moment for her. This was good. She loved commotion, excitement, and high spirits. She got used to the presents filling her bedside tables, the flowers decorating her room. The nurses were always active, but this didn’t bother her. The doctors were always rushing, but she didn’t seem to notice. Our mother was usually crying, but she learned to ignore it. Dad was usually silent, but she found ways to get him talking. I played games with her and told her about school, so my behavior was acceptable in her mind. As her twin, I was obligated to make her happy. Those aren’t my words, though—they’re my mother’s. But I guess I agree. There wouldn’t be this picture-perfect sibling behavior, though, if not for my sister’s condition. But I will be a nice, nice twin now.
Things are. Things happen. Nobody can turn a knob and rewind our lives backwards, watch the doctors fade away, go back to when we were little, before the bad news. I wish we could live those seven years before the news again and again. But maybe not even time machines can change our fate.

Somehow, Alison stayed cheerful, never afraid. Maybe she was afraid of being afraid.

The doctors knew what was coming.

The nurses knew.

Mom and Dad knew.

I knew.

And she knew.

So, in the end, she knew she was leaving. And in the end she did.

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