To Sissy

I looked for you the other night; I thought for sure you’d come.
I had a conversation with you, but, alas it was with one.


Do you remember when you’d take me downtown and your friends would stop to say, “Is this your baby sister?”  and I’d look up and see you smile? And do you remember crawling out our bedroom window to sunbathe on the roof? Did Mom or Dad ever find out about our clandestine outing on that long-ago spring day? How long did we share that bedroom? Was it because Nana came to stay?

Remember how you held my hand in the darkened theater as we watched  Geppetto hurry through the dim-lit streets, lantern in hand, calling out “Pinocchio. Pinocchio!” And how we returned to those velvety seats to watch Cinderella find her Prince. Remember?

You were my big sister. Sixteen years older than me. I called you “Sissy,” and you called me “baby sister.”  You were my world. You took me everywhere—even with your beau. Sledding, ice cream stands, candy stores, and beaches. That faded picture of a beautiful young woman in a bathing suit on the beach—holding the hand of a little girl in pigtails—that was us! Remember?

Then you left.

Remember how I clung to the car door as you were leaving on your honeymoon, and you smiled at my grief?

But you came back.

And still you took me everywhere on vacations to the ocean, mountains, and lakes. And still I called you Sissy.

But those early memories—the ones that you and I shared, the ones that are ours’ alone.  Do you remember them all? 

Do you remember them, Sissy?

The years grew and our lives took different paths. And one day I called you from a distance and cried. “I need you. I want to come home.” You said to me, “You’re a mother now. I know you’re going to be fine.”

Were you smiling when you said that? Did you know it would take some time?

You gave my child another name to call you by, for “Sissy” was mine alone to use. And over the years we outgrew our endearments, but they still echoed in our souls. Can you hear them?

Where are you, Sissy? 
Are you there?

You left me again
and didn’t come back.

Can you hear me?



    • admin

      Hi Jennifer,
      I’m glad I did too. Life is becoming “curiouser and curiouser” for me. You’ve become a good writer-friend, Jennifer. And reading all the stories in our fantastic (that’s not hyperbole) W2P alumni group, has got me thinking about trying my hand at expanding the first short story I wrote into a novel. It’s because of all the support we give to each other.
      Thanks again,

  1. Julia Rayball

    Oh Kathy, I felt every word. Such beautiful memories you have of your Sissy. She was indeed one of a kind. Thank you for sharing such intimacy with us.

  2. Matt

    This was so beautifully sad having read it as your son and her nephew. (As you could tell when my voice cracked after reading it when we were together.). Dominick was very moved, too. This is a wonderful tribute. I miss her, too.

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