Just when I think it’s over, God surprises me. I literally wrote this about five minutes ago.
Home wasn’t the same after she left. The hallways didn’t echo with screams and the basement didn’t tremble with bass. She left behind nothing but memories that floated around in the emptiest parts of our minds. None of us spoke about it at the dinner table, or any table actually, but I knew that we missed her.
There weren’t always bad times with my sister. When we were little she and I used to climb the tree in our backyard together and hang upside down on its aged branches. Her legs were longer than mine so she used to climb higher, where the branches were much thinner, but I was too afraid. I watched her climb higher and higher until I could only see the soles of her shoes.
But, now that we had gotten older, we didn’t do that anymore.
She didn’t talk to us, or anyone, for a really long time. She traded in her cheerleading skirt for a pair of black cargo pants. She would only answer to Trish and would flip if we ever addressed her as Willow. No one understood what was going on and Mom and Dad didn’t question her about it.
That was their fault.
After the Trish phase, Willow started to dress like a skank. She lost the cargo pants and added heavy eyeliner. Instead of black or deep purple lips she wore bright reds or popping pinks. She bleached her black hair and started to wear ocean blue contacts.
She took rides from men in expensive cars and kept a huge wad of cash in her mattress.
The investigators took that.
The night she left, she gave me a large roll of bills. She told me to keep it and never say a word. It’s still in the neck of my teddy bear. I haven’t told Mom or Dad and I won’t ever tell them. I’ve always kept Willow’s secrets. Even the bad ones where I thought telling Mom and Dad would be best. I always thought telling Mom and Dad would be best but Willow said they only caused more trouble.
She was right.
We never had rules until now. I have to be in the house at 7PM with my homework done. I only get one hour of supervised television time and that’s only if Dad isn’t passed out on the couch.
Mom never comes downstairs to check.
It’s usually just Boomer, our golden retriever, and I watching re-runs of Jersey Shore. Sometimes, Matt comes over and we watch The Big Bang Theory marathons, but it’s usually just me. Boomer and me.
Until Matt came over last Sunday with a package he said he got from my sister. I thought the boy had let all the nerd chat from BBT get to his head but he was right. He did get a package from Willow. He rushed over at 10PM while season three of Jersey Shore was on and dropped the package wrapped in brown paper into my lap.
The top was labeled to Matt Kessler and I immediately noticed Willow’s loopy handwriting. There was no return address.
“Did you open it?” I asked, feeling the rough paper run over the pads of my fingertips.
“No,” he said, eyeing the thing like it was a bomb. “My Mom put it on my bed and I came right over because I knew it was Willow’s. Maybe she sent it to me by mistake?” He offered.
My mind floated away. “Don’t be silly, Matt,” I answered. “Willow is dead.”