THE GIRL WHO SAT STILL SO LONG THAT THE WORLD GREW UP AROUND HER
Once, I asked you why we were alive. We were only in the fifth grade, and I remember you hanging upside down on the monkey bars and looking at me like I was stupid, saying, “We’re alive just to live, sister.” Even now, your answer is still the same exact thing when anybody asks you.
When we were in the sixth grade I asked you what your favorite type of music was, and you said, “The kind that makes me want to visit places I’ve never heard about before.”
I remember looking at your “Future Me” sheet when we were eleven, and all you had written down was, “I want to have the longest hair in the whole entire world. And I want to go to sleep every night in a pile of warm dogs and cats.”
When we were in the seventh grade, you had already finished all the “good books” in the library by the second term. When I asked you what a “good book” was, you said, “A good book is the one that makes you feel like you’re a book, too.”
The answers that you give to all of my questions are always odd, to me, yet to you they seem the simplest thing in the world. I asked you once if you thought about the world a lot, and you said yes. When I asked you what you thought about, exactly, you said,
“Things like… how many kinds of trees are there that we don’t know about? If we asked, do you think they’d tell us? I think that at the center of the planet is just a big tree, holding us all up. But mostly, just about how pretty everything is.”
Ever since I can remember, you were like a song that just made me want to get up and dance. You always make me want to sing and every time that it rains, I lift my face up to the sky and think about all those times your loud, wonderful laughter has rung around the raindrops in our childhood. I like that about you, too, you know? That you’re not afraid to laugh loudly.
Sometimes I think about how one of your eyes is actually blue and the other is green, but you can only see it in the bright sunlight. You always said that you wished you had heterochromia, and I think it’s really ironic that you can’t see the one thing you always wanted but never thought you had.
Cause you’ve got it all, you know. You’ve got all the sadness and all the happiness in the whole wide world inside your lungs, and sometimes I can hear it in the way you answer my questions. Your life hasn’t been easy now has it, sister? But your advice is always to cry as hard as you can, then laugh twice as hard, right? And you follow your own advice, I know.
You’re like a magnet for people who don’t understand themselves- because you don’t understand yourself either, but you know you don’t and you don’t much mind it, do you? You are the most complex riddle in the world with the simplest solution.
I tried describing you, a lot like I am now, to a person who asked me about my childhood friends. She said that you sound “really pretentious,” but she hasn’t seen the things I’ve seen-
The way your face screws up when you think about the answer to one of my questions, then the whole thing lights up when you finally figure out how to put it into words. ‘Cause I don’t think that you spend too much time thinking about ‘em before-hand, because once you told me that you didn’t understand anything about the world yet you knew exactly how you felt about it.
You’ve tried loads of times to explain it to me, how you can’t put into words how you “just know these things, see, and if I try to explain it to somebody else it just flys away,”
"You’re the poet," you’d say, "not me. I haven’t got all those words under my tongue just waiting to spill out, like you do."
Today marks the anniversary of the day we made our “blood-sister” pact, back in the fourth grade. I just figured I’d try to put into words how you are in my mind, even though I know you don’t like stuff like that-
"People are feelings," you’d say out loud (to no one in particular, and that would bother you) while reading this, "you can’t accurately describe a feeling out loud. You just feel it."
When I asked you what feeling I was, you just said, “You’re the feeling ‘Amy’.”
I hope that there are other people out there that know about your simple-deep thoughts, because holding on to them all on my own has been a bit difficult. I hope that you have other “feelings” in your life now that we’re separated by so much distance, but I know what you’d say to that, too.
One day, we’ll meet up in the desert again. And we’ll run through the dust bare-foot and sing to the sky, just like we did when we were kids. I love you, sister, and I can’t wait till we meet again.