I saw my sister this evening. Not because I wanted to. I’d gone to my aunt’s house to get some papers from her that she needed me to fax. My sister came out of the shadows as I was getting back into the car in the driveway. “Hey, brother,” she said holding a Happy Meal in one hand. She’s one of those weirdoes who calls her brother “brother.” I could see my aunt watching us from the porch, her dark silhouette hunched over the railing. I wonder if she placed a bet in her mind on how fast I would leave.
Last time my sister snuck up on me like this, it was in broad daylight and I didn’t recognize her then, either. I had to tell my dad (not her father) that it was my sister and he made a face like woah. And my dad plays everything close to the vest. He plays shit in the skeleton, “brother.” She used to be attractive. She was a porn star, for fuck’s sake. But now she’s large and short and her lips still look botoxed and too large eyes stare out from under too thickly tattooed on eyebrows.
She asks me what I’m doing there and I tell her I’m heading home to finish up some work. She asks about my girlfriend and my son and I tell her they are fine. She says her son is about to turn four. I wish I could save that poor boy from these people. My people. She tells me how they had moved away but how they were too far from family. And now, gosh darn diggly do, they’re moving back. She says, “You know, around where we grew up in Hollywood.” I did not really grow up with her in Hollywood. For a time, she lived on the very street we were talking on. That’s where she lived when my mom beat the shit out of her in front of the police that time she ran away from home. My mom has made a lot of mistakes, but I think that was the right thing to do. But I never lived in Hollywood, or with her on that street.
My sister says, “Oh, well, but YOU know how it is. We have to do what we have to do. We do everything for “them.” For our children. She’s telling me this like a kid acting badly at playing a grownup. I open the door to my car and I want to get in and leave in the middle of one of her sentences. The Challenger would’ve gotten me out of there a lot faster, but I have to wait for the Edge’s seat to whir itself into memory position number one.
She says she’s vegan, has been for many years, but she had fish yesterday. Oh, the things we do for them. Ha. Ha. Ha. She’s huge, and I know that sounds mean, I know it does, but she looks like a leftover, hastily put together person. She looks like she was assembled as a character designed for a movie, to put people off. Maybe it’s a character that isn’t quite a villain but isn’t up to any good. She doesn’t get shot, but maybe something hits her in the head and she goes to jail. I wonder if she sees the look on my face, the fear, the sadness, the regret. I couldn’t save her, she never listened, just cared about her hair being pretty, and boys, and blaming teachers on her mistakes, getting my mom to move her to yet another school, again away from responsibility.
It’s like I’m seeing my mother when she was young, unable to get out of her own fucking way again. When I was a kid, I thought it was funny because wow, these grownups are so dumb, but now there’s this little boy my sister has and I can’t help but see the path of anger and pain laid all out in front of him. I imagine him asking me why I don’t like his mother and grandmother and me telling him to ask me again in about twenty years.
We’re connected by this strange sickly wet web across time and dumbfuck mothers. This pattern of pain. I hope I’m just being dramatic.