“Why she had to go, I don’t know. She wouldn’t say”.
Our closeness from afar was like flannel pjs.
Hearts cozy, rarely a rough edge or a sharp elbow.
We hung tight through trauma and triumph,
children, divorce, a looming diagnosis.
She delivered her dream after decades,
moved to the left coast sea
to live closer to me.
Shy of a year in the distance,
my sister had left my life without a word.
No drama or parting shots.
Just dead air.
But for the waning weeks
as our mother slipped toward the grave,
communication between us had already died.
Birthday and Christmas cards
delivered into a void.
No return receipt was requested
and none given.
Her silence did the talking.
All doubt chipped away
that desire to recover sister softness
was but a one-way street.
I stayed in my lane.
She in hers.
Still I savored sweet recollections.
Ocean walks one winter in Florida,
sisters heading to the shoreline at sunrise.
Dunkin donuts and coffee
to power beach brainstorms
for the day with our mother.
A pretty lipstick selected by my sis,
I wear to this day.
And think of her when I do.
Ten years in the rear-view mirror,
we appear as if characters
from another lifetime.
The sting of loss has faded.
Coping gears ceased grinding,
like rummaging through banker’s boxes
for her old letters. Dropping
a few back to her with fresh postage
to spark a tender nerve for shared fondness.
Was it true, as Mom surmised,
that my sister’s life-movie held space
for but one starring role?
Our scenes together, a dress rehearsal
for her to figure that out?
I will never be sure, yet
the script we followed feels destined;
its storyline blameless.
To this day we share the same town.
Though the distance between us is vaster than two oceans,
she is as close as the lipstick of my smile.