I kept my older sister’s cat-eye glasses in a drawer after she was struck down by a train. Nancy’s Chevy Bel-Air was stalled, like a truly cliché song on the radio. She was only eighteen and it was 1961. Nancy said they made her look like a freak. A nerd. She was embarrassed that she needed glasses to read and see the world’s problems highlighted. She’d get rid of these glasses, go with contacts if she just had the money. A scarlet letter, a reminder of what Nancy didn’t have. There was so much my sister and I didn’t have. We lacked parents like Ward and June Cleaver, the opportunity simply to relax and watch the world move past. Vast objects that were all our own, the finest frocks and suits.
I hated my sister. An easy thing for me to say, despite (according to my parents) hate being such a “strong word.” But it was true; I detested my sister. Loathed her. I didn’t always hate her; in fact, I felt nothing the day she was handed to me.
10:30, Sunday morning, 21 February 1970
It was one of those little lost lamb spring days that sometimes wander into the dead of a Pacific Northwest winter. The sky was as clear as the devil’s conscience, and the temperature would reach well into the sixties by mid-afternoon. By and by, almost everyone in Charleston would go out to grab a piece of that little lost lamb spring day; for everyone knew it wouldn’t be long until another dreary storm blew in off Philo Bay.
I wish you wouldn’t go with him tonight. If you get caught…” Judith’s voice bounced off the yellowed porcelain tiles as she leaned closer to her sister at the counter in the ladies’ room. Judith stared at her own thin, chapped lips as Leda bared her teeth at her reflection in the chipped mirror and painted her lips a bright scarlet.