to write about our life.
She asked me to slit open my chest and pin the flaps back against my collarbones, cut through my sternum and spread my ribs into a chapel. She said to step into that space and go poking around in my swollen [raw] heart, taking out pieces, holding them up in two fingers under the light, examining, admitting, a [thing] that she would never do in her airy fairy skinny-butted earthmother life. And she asked me to perform this unspeakable duty in her absence. As her stand-in. After she died.
She said, You know, anything can be funny. You're good at taking the bitter stuff and wrapping it in something crispy and sweet. Something you can chew slowly, like Good & Plenty.
That's pretty good, I told her.
Write it down, she said. It's not like I'm going to remember it.
My memories of myself begin on the day my sister came into our house. She is with me still like a Siamese twin I carry over my heart. In the blood that thuds in my eardrums, I can hear her voice.
I'll embroider, I told her. You know how I am.
I know. And one more thing, she said. Don't go posting any sappy updates on Facebook like that girl down the street does. Just start by saying: Most people don't know that brain cancer can be funny...
I wasn’t going to chew myself up like that. I told her flat out: I can't.
But of course I can.
Do you have a sister? I wouldn't want to go through life without a good one.