From Your Sister

February 26, 2008
By Mackenzie Touby, Mason, OH

Sometimes I wish you’d just get over it. All the doctors and psychologists tell us that you’re not choosing to be this way, but that doesn’t change it. It’s a selfish thing. I’m just ready for my life to go back to the way it was before you started freaking out and tearing apart things that were supposed to stay the same.

At night, I get so angry I could scream. I can hear your sobbing traveling through the walls of your closet and seeping into my bedroom. Your gasps make the shadows quaver on the walls. I cry because I can’t listen to you cry anymore. Dad tells you over and over to remember what is true. But you can’t. In the mornings, you don’t get up. You never straighten your hair or try to put eyeliner on.

Mom took me to school on a morning when school should have been delayed. You called five times and it was a five minute drive. When you called the last time you were screaming that you couldn’t be alone. I remember when you baby-sat kids far into the early hours of the morning and we didn’t have to push the aspirin to the back of the shelf above the refrigerator.

You thought you were anorexic and we had to make you see that you were eating. When you got the phone you had wanted for two years on Christmas, you didn’t even pull the tape away from the box. We watch the Brady Bunch every night because it makes you stop thinking. I can’t understand what you think about. They’re forever asking you what exactly it is that worries you and you can never tell them. It’s everything.

Mom never gets enough sleep. She’s always rubbing your back until you drift off. And everyone’s praying: bible study, extended family, e-mail list. Apparently this hard time will make us all stronger. But I’m tired of it. I liked things the way they were when I worried about my next Algebra test and my vocal piece for Solo and Ensemble. Even youth group is messed up. I don’t understand how God is letting evil play with your mind like this. You’re so young. It’s killing you before you have a chance to get started.

Monica asked when you were going to stop crying. I told her not for a long time. It takes a while for the medicine to take an effect. You are doing better. I can’t hear whimpering every night. Still, I wonder if the pills are getting all those thoughts out of your head or shoving them behind a thin curtain that could fall at any minute.
I want you to go to high school. I want you to meet cute guys and learn the art of flirtation before your junior year. I want you to take Honors World History and complain about all the reading concerning Communist Russia. I need you to love running like you used to, write in your journals, and stick Post-It notes all over your walls. I can’t keep on watching you work to make it through each day without breaking down, or beg someone to sit next to you after dinner, because you’re overwhelmed by one worksheet.
I found a poem you gave me, before an audition I had. Each word is a different color and the lines all rhyme and flow with ease. Reading it, I can feel your excitement—discovering the perfect word, alternating between vibrant pens—and I hope you’ll be that person again someday. Life is at a stand still and I’m caught inside it. I can’t move forward and risk leaving you behind.

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