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Morning Glory Blue

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There was nothing un-vibrant about Phoebe. Her hair was canary yellow, her eyes morning glory blue, and her sweater a brilliant olive. My baby sister was beautiful, from the halo of frizz above the top of her head to her small toes, curling and tapping the floor quietly as we danced in lazy circles.



The diner was deserted and dark- only the buzzing neon light circling the perimeter of our window and the streetlamp outside illuminated the interior. The chairs were upside down on the tables, and all we heard was the last song on the record he used to own. The sound of an occasional car driving past interrupted the static. It was nearing midnight, and I could not bear to look at the floor. Phoebe’s little hands were fragile in my own.



<<Amado mio, love me forever>>



Phoebe and I stepped lightly between the booths. I touched the thick cane ever so lightly with my shoe. I swung her into the air and held her at my hip. The music swooned and she pulled at the ribbon in my hair, dazed by the darkness.



<<And let forever begin tonight>>



My heels clicked on the tile as we swished past the shelf. Toy soldiers neatly arranged. Phoebe sang along.



<<Many times I’ve whispered, amado mio>>



Here are the curtains my mother sewed. They billow, as blue as bruises, with the shuddering breath of the radiator. I saw my mother and the sewing machine, together working the red thread through the fabric, crafting veins.



<<It was just a phrase that I heard in plays>>



Here is the counter of cakes, now empty. I saw him lift Phoebe so she may sit on the display case, the little muscles tense in my mother’s weary face. He wore a belt. My full skirt traveled in waves as we twirled. I heard a far-off siren. I could not bear to look at the floor.



“Lorna,” Phoebe said. Her voice was small, and her face had gone white.



<<I was acting a part>>



Here is where he beat the batter for pancakes in the morning. He would pummel the ingredients with a whisk as the irons heated up. The entire diner was muted by the darkness. All I could hear was the music, and the sigh of all the little muscles tensing in my mother’s weary face, assuming a blank expression, contorting and acting. Phoebe’s feet pressed against my skirt.



<<But now, when I whisper, amado mio>>






“Yes, my dear?”



We were in the center of the restaurant, looking through the large window pane. The neon light swam in an unbroken circuit around the glass, and in close proximity, our faces were a lurid red.



“It’s getting on your skirt, Lorna.”



“Shhhh. Don’t let it bother you. Just listen.”

<<Can’t you tell I care, by the feeling there>>

I held Phoebe in my arms. Her eyes were morning glory blue, and it broke my heart to see a new blue blooming on the skin around her flowery irises. My heart broke then, as my baby sister grew older, sweeter, stronger in my arms by the minute, as if her life extended before her endlessly, as many minutes to come as all of the stars. At last, I looked at the floor.

He was dull, still in the darkness, no more alive than the chairs. The bloody cane at my feet once more. His glazed eyes were morning glory blue, and the tiny footprints of a tiny girl chartered a path away from him. I squeezed Phoebe closer. My baby sister was beautiful, from the halo of frizz above the top of her head to her small toes, pressing blurry, bloody marks into my skirt.

<<Cause it comes from my heart.>>



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