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)

No comments: