Shit that used to matter.

What a mess this city is. Real people are getting harder to find. Colors stop making sense the moment you start thinking they oughta. Know what I mean, jelly-bean? 'Meaningless' gets a whole new meaning, seeing the city from way up there...

And how hard it is to keep going... It feels like every line will have to be the last, since there's never any assurance of what the next will look like. Still we keep at it, hopeless from the get go.

Real people. Photographs. Snapshots. The look of the word on the virtual page. The sound of sandals slapping the asphalt, running their way into the ground again and again, kneading against the concrete. The smile of the real person already hiding. First time we met like nothing. The next time, a little less. And each time after like we're both hoping it's the last. And the worst part? How aggravatingly nice we are to each other—if only because we both know we'd get along fine if either of us could give in and give up the initial pretenses we simultaneously rely on. How so? It's the flowers, bright and perky, but utterly lacking that requisite sweetness of fragrance able to christian us 'flowers' at all.

My frustration is strong and short-lived each time, so that i'm ready for an all-out-brawl just long enough to disappear, and by the time I come back to the ring i've forgotten my destruction somewhere out on the town; lost my drive on the side of the street. Well the hell with it, anyway—heaven knows my counterpart has yet to earn my history, whatever the mysterious fuck that could possibly mean.

-L (10/29/10)


[I feel like I'm looking out through a veil. Like there's a dark haze that slowly closes down around my vision most of the time, now. The haze is denser in public, at school, work—anywhere that I'm surrounded by people who don't know, and don't know to care. I stare blankly at teachers watching their lips move; I keep my lips just from quivering when doctors off-handedly mention little sisters that they don't know that I don't have anymore; I stay between the deep need to talk about her, and the horrific image of trying to explain to someone that doesn't understand even in the slightest—has no idea that I'm moving around in a world that is new, and now forever less meaningful.]

[-L (10/26/10)]

“So no matter how hard it get, stick your chest out, keep ya head up.... and handle it.” -Tupac

Beautiful Girl,

We're living in a new world now. An uglier world, one in which your smile is no longer a part. A darker, confusing world, where carefree trips to Vegas can end in a sterile hospital, and everyday stressors vanish in a cloud of obsolescence. I find it impossible to believe I could cease grieving for that sweet world of eleven days ago—that world which held you in it, healthy and fearless. Held an image of our family when we could still remember being whole and fully intact.

I tried to describe this new world to J yesterday, whose slight distraction pained rather than charmed me for the first time—another fluke of the new paradigm, I suppose. I told her to imagine a tall glass, meant to be filled with the waters of joy like a liquid happiness. I told her I did not know whether my glass in this world has been hewed down so that it physically holds less happiness than before...or else that my glass is the same height and breadth as always, only now it has been punctured with an ever seeping hole, so that it no longer sustains such joy as it once held, but rather, must leak from the moment I begin to fill it. I don't yet know which glass is mine in this inadequate and inferior new world, but I know my capacity for happiness is not what it was; gravely diminished am I, and yet heavy with the loss of you.

I keep saying that you lived regretless, brave and true. I tell everyone with pride and frustration that we had no lessons to learn—you and I, and our beautiful family—about giving each other our best in appreciation and gratitude. I say these things to illustrate just how stupid, pointless, and utterly mistaken this fucked-up circumstance of your dying really is: we don't need to lose you to recognize how much we love and straight-up fucking need you. And yet here we are anyway, and for no reason at all, here you're not.

-L (10/20/10)

“When shit happens, you either grow wings or get crutches.” -M

Hey Beautiful Girl...

I miss you so, so much. I'm sitting in a coffee shop called Sertino's in Huntington Beach, feeling surrounded by your memory but utterly lacking your presence. Across the street is “Forever 21”, next door is a place called “Angl”, in the corner of the room is a fuchsia orchid, “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilara is playing on the radio, and the last picture taken of you is forever displayed behind the cracked screen of my old phone. (I washed and then baked my new phone the day after I found out about you. You would have loved it.) And my life feels just as broken. Like our family, suddenly without you. Surreal doesn't begin to describe it. Infinitely inadequate. Profoundly unjust. This stupid life, to not have you in it; gypped of all meaning.

I wanted to wait 'til I got a pink pen before writing to you. You died on 10-10-2010, at 4:27pm. Everyone looked down at their clocks at 10:10 that morning. The off-ramp where your friend's car crashed was called Exit 27, and Mike had just told me that we ought to go visit Vegas while we played cards for the first time in all our days together. I told him I hate Vegas—even before I found out it killed you. Mike says now that he'll never drive that fucking road again; I tell him that I want to, everyday for the rest of my life. Cursing or tempting fate, and always-always-always thinking of you.

Last night was so hard, Katie Sue. A week to the day we lost you forever, and the biggest fucking party anyone has ever thrown for you. All night long we waited for you to show up. So many 'sorries'; so many tears. Never enough but we did the best we could for you. I wanted to get up and tell everyone that you are my favorite person in the world. That you are my best friend, my one true love, and my whole, complete, totally fucking-fulfilled baby sister—who shirked regrets but stayed on the smart side of safe, always. Except perhaps to offer the front seat to the guy with longer legs than yours...

We're thinking about getting tattoos for you tonight. Even Jake and Alex, who otherwise never would have. Your Erik got a pink bow on his bicep, dearest, as did others of your friends as well—but I'm still at a loss as to what would best suit you to have framed by this silly body of mine.

-L (10/18/10)


[My beautiful baby sister was in a stupid car accident last weekend that stole her life. She died on 10-10-10, at 4:27pm, which was the date of her birthday.]

[It's no secret that she was my favorite person in the world. My only sister and best fucking friend. Strong beyond imagination, beautiful beyond words, and a veritable inspiration who managed to fit an entire, consummate life--utterly free from regret--into a measly 21 years, 5 months, and 13 days. She was gypped and so were we, as there was clearly an irremediable clerical error out there somewhere in the universe.]

[In any case, the shape of her life was that type of masterpiece which marvels each witness with every passing glance. Words are deeply inadequate; this sudden reality, profoundly unjust. And if any of us knows what's good for us, we'll live out the rest of our days aspiring to earn a fraction of the love that now follows her into the dark.]

[We'll never stop missing you, my beautiful Katie Sue.]

[-L (10/15/10)]


Two days ago, on October 10th, 2010 (10/10/10...), my little sister was killed in a car crash.

Today, right now, I'm sitting on an airplane heading from Costa Rica to LAX—after taking a boat to a bus to this airplane's flight—flying back on our fourth day here to be with my family there. Mike is with me, and he's right when he says, “It comes in waves, baby...”

Katie...dead. Katie. Dead. The words don't make sense together. They're opposites. Enemies. Utterly in conflict. She is so full of life! Capability! Color! She has an infinite number of connections with the world, and the loose ends are innumerable and impossible to tie up in her absence. It's the ultimate Heidegger metaphor: her life makes no sense without her to live it.

It's senseless. All of it. Her condo, her job, her dog... Her family, now without its baby girl. Down one sister—forever out of balance; jagged and uneven to see. My mom had all those boys just to get herself two daughters, she always said. Katie always knew from the beginning that she was the only irreplaceable one of all of us. She always used to tell my mom, “I'm glad you had five kids, because I would have been so sad and lonely without my big brothers and sister!” Katie was sure that she'd been in the womb throughout each of our births, having arrived first but deciding to stay a while. She'd say she kicked each one of us out until she had the whole spacious place to herself again, just so that she could stretch out a bit longer...

I remember her in the womb. She's the only one I remember. Maybe my earliest of memories. I assured my mom she would be a little girl, because I'd heard a high-pitched squeak when I put my ear to her belly. I was sure, even at age four, that my baby sister was finally on her way to me. To us. And there's no preparation possible to accept that she'd be on her way back out so soon.

When I read and saw 'My Sister's Keeper', I sobbed longer and harder than any book or movie had ever made me cry before. And in the last two days, I've shed more tears than all the tears in my life meshed together, flooding my body with still lifes of her: Her hair. Her huge, blue eyes, always framed with black eyeliner, to shrink them for no reason at all. Her heart-shaped smile. Her freckled cheeks and arms and legs, lightly sprinkling their inconstant color. How I used to stare at those little freckles while wishing so hard for her to find a person that would memorize each lovely spot on her body. Who would make her feel as beautiful as she is. Was. Will always be to me.

Oh god, her tattoos!! Her perfect closet of shoes! And to know that with the gift of Katie's body, nine strangers continue to live...but none so beautiful as she.

-L (10/12/10)