Lou Gehrig's Disease, or Christmas Envelopes

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She was thin, but not any thinner than usual. Clavicle, patella, jaw bone stretching the skin like they were trying to escape. Escape and touch the dirt. She can’t open a jar. Pull a zipper. Lift a fork. It’s gotten to the point where she has had to sacrifice her handwriting. Her beautiful curly script has been replaced by chicken scratch. She addressed her Christmas envelopes with her left hand. Ragged and shaky.
He didn’t want to talk about it. 7 years divided Keith and Sybil when they were children. Now, when he is Daddy and she is Auntie Samm, that gap seems a lot smaller.
She always called me princess. I was Princess and my sister was Angel. All of my gifts were pink and sparkly. All of my sister’s gifts were blue and had wings. I used to hate her for it. I hated pink. I hated jewels. I hated her sharp accusing question “Princess! Where are your earrings?!” To be a female and not wear jewelry was a cardinal sin for Auntie. I hated that my only aunt on my father’s side had no idea who I was.
She has graduated me from pink, plastic toys. Now I get jewelry in matching purple boxes. Purple. It’s barely a step up. But now I cherish it. I cherish the cards with her beautiful font scrawled all over them. Never again will she make such art with her pen. I always envied her handwriting.
Sometimes I want to ask her. 'Where are your butterflies now?" After Joe died, my uncle for barely a year, she became obsessed with them. Butterflies. He gave her a pin that she wears on her right shoulder. Her guardian butterfly, she calls it. Obviously, such pretty insects can’t fight a degenerate nerve cell disease.
I’m not angry. I must sound it, though. I won’t miss her when she’s gone. I won’t cry or mourn. I won’t fondly tell stories of her to my friends until they are sick of hearing her name. I will just mourn the fact that she never really knew me. I will just wish that I had the guts to break her heart and tell her to really look at me. ME. Not the princess that she always thought I was or wanted me to be. Wish, that my auntie and I had a real bond. Rather than the one she had with her fictitious niece.
My auntie has Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but don’t feel bad for me, Feel bad for her. She has to address Christmas card envelopes with her left hand now. She always loved her handwriting and so did I…





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