You've been gone from my life since Lola was born. Six years. My daughter has your eyes, enormous, long fringed, clear blue. I went through a stage, when she was about three? or four?
where looking at her hurt, in my stomach, in my mouth. Her rounded cornflower face, glossy
blonde hair, sloped pale belly, long, long legs. So much like you, so much like you at the age when you were beginning to be hurt, and no one protected you, and your eyes saw what I would kill to ensure my daughter never sees. Remembering you as a girl. Your innocence was radiant. Palpable in your trembling purple veins, paper thin skin, the turn of your impossibly long lashes, but most of all, in the direct clarity of your gaze. ' I have never hurt anyone ' your face said, ' I think this world is safe. ' Then that was gone. You were left strung tightly, arms crossed over your stomach, head lowered in every photo, eclipsed into sobs at the thought of wearing a bathing suit to the local pool. You made Mom come in and help you rearrange every piece of furniture in your room and scrub the walls and closet down with disinfectant. Your hair was braided so tightly you had headaches. You came into my room at night and slept with me, and it is one of the smallest gratitudes I can claim from that time, that I let you. You were always other-worldly, keenly, intimidatingly intelligent, straight A student, violin, your friends wore glasses and had braces and you were never mean, but after a certain pause,
you were truly angelic, you were suffering in complete isolation, and the purity of this never ending burn left you in such distance from the rest of the world ( you told me you left your body, remember, you said ' i went out the window and flew and saw the cat and looked in the window and saw myself and him and i stayed outside the window until i flew back in' and i sat helpless without knowing what to say, i said i love you, i'm sorry of course i said those things but what else... ) that you became distant from your body, your arms cued the fat cells and they folded over and shrank, and you were smaller and smaller, anorexic. A tall girl, 5'9, and you were smaller than I at 5'7, and we were always thin to begin with, so in the later years when you were hospitalized they made you eat, you had to weigh on a scale every day. Meanwhile you stayed knobby kneed into your teens. You had such a ferocious intelligence and beauty and otherwordliness that everyone was attracted to you, everyone. Everyone wanted to see you better. To be close to you. Boys wanted to love you and you wanted to let them but you couldn't, so of course, of course the only one you loved was the one who was far far away from your heart so that when you gave what you had to give to him he turned away and did not want it anymore.
I remember when you went to homecoming and you had chopped all your long hair to the tightest boyish crop and you came home and you told me he likes me so much and you never talked to him again, I remember understanding about that, because I understood much more than I realized at the time, in part because we are sisters, and because I lived in that house, too, because I grew up across the room from you in my room, sending a car with folded notes back and forth when were in trouble, because we were always in trouble, and we understood this long before we could articulate it.
I love you of course I do and maybe you will find these letters on the Internet.