I wrote a short story in my notebook on the 2 hours flight from Helsinki to Amsterdam. And since I'm jetlagged and running on Finland time now, I typed the whole story out. It's a short story bout sisters....but in no way does it reflect my sister and I.
The floor is made of linoleum. Its shiny surfaces reflect the soles of her shoes. The whole room is either a variation of either grey or white. Grey shiny floor. White impersonal walls. The walls betrays its age. It’s been a while since anyone repaint these walls but someone clearly have mopped the floor earlier today. Sterile. The way these places should be. The fluorescent light blinks overhead of her. It blinked a couple more times before it gave out a little scream of defeat and died away. It left her in semi darkness. She was reminded for the second time that day that nothing last forever.
A door creaks as its being pushed open. She could hear the sounds of footsteps approaching her. Even. Unrushed. Respectful. Places like these are always respectful of everything. She didn’t look up but waited until the footsteps reach her.
She didn’t respond. She continued staring at her shoes. Her blue Adidas shoes. She remembers the day she bought the shoes. It was a happy day. A beautiful day…the sun was shining and she….she was there too. Sitting here in this hallway, she couldn’t even see the sun. Ironic that the shoes that give her so much joy would end up with her here in this place and on this day. It’s a cosmic joke. The entity of which many would recognize as “God” likes to mess around with His subjects.
She does not realize that he has knelt in front of her until his piercing brown eyes stared into her black, hooded ones. She was sitting on the chair while he was kneeling in front of her. They are level now.
“We are ready for you now, Miss.”
She did not respond. She continues staring at him. Here is a man who goes through this everyday. Here is a man who knows how to deal with these types of situations. Composed and dignified. Not like her. Everything that she is, everything that made her what she is, is spinning out of control. Her sanity is hanging by a thread.
“Yes Miss, its time.”
Gently his hand took hers. She doesn’t realize that she had her hands in a fist on her lap. She was stiff and terrified. He took her fists and gently parted her hands. There was blood in her palms where her own nails had been digging into her flesh. They made five nicely shaped moon cuts in her palms. Blood oozes from them. She does not feel the pain as she stared at her blood soaked palms but yet……she wonders how much really her blood resembles her blood.
“We’ll fix that later. You have to come with me now.”
Finally she stood up. The man with the piercing eyes gently guides her down the hall. The other room is different from the first one. It’s much darker here. She could hear the soft whispers of Mozart in the background. Another man was waiting for her. He is older but he has kindly eyes. She wonders if they only hire kind people to work here. Maybe they do. He was standing next to a cabinet. A metal cabinet, with huge drawers. Huge, because that’s what they used to store people in.
“Ms. Sanders, you are the next of kin?”
“Yes….” A voice, hoarse by anguish answers. It’s not her voice but yet it comes from her nonetheless.
“……..Yes, I am the next of kin.”
He pulls the metal drawer out. She could tell that he does not have to use much force. She was never heavy. And there she was in front of her. Her little sister. Only two years apart but yet destiny had carved a different path for them both. She flipped the white cloth from her head just to see a face that is identical to her. Right down to the mole on their right temple. Her brown hair had been swept back. They look lanky and wet on the slab as if she just got out from the rain. Her eyes shut close and never would it be open again. Her button nose is just the way she remembers it. And her lips, her lips…..are curved upwards in a smile. Lily smiles in death when she had never done so in life.
“She killed herself.” She said out loud.
It was a statement, not a question.
“Yes, two slashes to the left wrist.” But yet, the coroner with the kindly eyes answered.
She had known long ago that this day would come but yet she kept on living in denial. Tears trickled down her face as she stares into the pale face of her now deceased sister. It wasn’t the first time Lily has attempted suicide, there were many times before. This time, she happened to do it right. She stroked her face; it felt cold to the touch. Lily is dead now, officially, but truth be told she died long ago…… On that first night when he first came into their room.
There was a storm outside when it happened all those years ago. Bianca was wide awake. The booming sound of thunders kept her up as she huddled in her bed. Lightening flashes outside….illuminating the room that she and Lily shared. In the dark of the night there was a silhouette standing at the end of Lily’s bed. Through her half lidded eyes Bianca could tell that it was their uncle Rick. She was just about to ask what he was doing in their room when he sat down on Lily’s bed. He pulled off the covers of her gently. Bianca could see the heaving of Lily’s chest as she breathed gently, lost in her own dream world. Than Rick begun stroking Lily’s cheeks gently and his fingers kept slipping lower and lower until it was down to her thighs. The nine-years-old Bianca did not understand what was happening but even so her heart begun to beat faster. Something is really wrong with this picture, something…..but she did not know what. At that exact moment, Lily woke up.
“Hey pretty Lily, how are you?” Uncle Rick whispered.
“Uncle Rick, what are you doing here?” Lily asked, still drugged with sleep.
“I was coming to wake you up. I want to play a game and I want to play it with you.”
“What about Bianca?”
“She wouldn’t like to play this game. Plus I just want to play it with you. Would you come with me?”
“Okay Uncle Rick.”
Lily’s childlike innocence kept her from questioning the strange request. She trusted him, he was her uncle. Bianca was left all alone in her room, confused but yet jealous because her uncle did not chose her to play with. Years down the road her jealousy would turn into thankfulness. Thankful that Rick did not chose her but instead Lily and whenever that feeling comes she would be burdened with guilt.
Over the years the sisters have carried this shameful secret with them. Not knowing that it’s neither of their faults but really they are just victims or circumstance. Night after night, Rick came for Lily. Touching her where he should not have. Sometimes he even climbed into bed with her only leaving when the sun rays hit the windowpanes. Lily who was once a trustful child becomes suspicious and withdrawn. Bianca grew quiet, fearful of the knowledge she has; thankful that she wasn’t chosen but yet burdened with the guilt of knowing. The girls grew up in secretive silence. Lying in bed at night, hearts thumping in unison out of fear and waiting…waiting for the door to creak for the man who was suppose to protect them to come in and rob them of their childhood.
Lily first tried to kill herself at age of fifteen. She tried to hang herself form the wooden beams in the farmhouse. She couldn’t take the shame and the guilt but fortunately the beam, wrinkled with years, broke under her feather weight. Bianca found her lying on the floor in a fetal position and whispering words of comfort to herself. The noose still tied around her neck. She came and lied next to her sister. Holding her tight, letting her know that one day it would end. She felt the wetness of Lily’s tears drenching her shirt. The despair in the air was palpable. The fear and the secret shame sucked them both in that by the end of it they were both howling in anguish. Even worse, they know for a fact that the tears would never make the nightmare go away.
They ran away from home the year Lily turned sixteen. It was Bianca’s idea. There was nothing left for them on the farm. So they hopped onto a bus with nothing but the clothes on their backs and they left. They held each other’s hands throughout the journey. They had high hopes that tomorrow would be a better day than today. Lily believed that with leaving the farm, where it all begun she can start life anew. Pure, innocent and untainted by what have been done to her. Bianca, legal now at the age of eighteen was adamant that she could take care of her little sister. That she could protect her when she couldn’t all those years ago. Their hopes and dreams seemed to become more real as the bus drove further and further away leaving the farm far behind. Hoping this episode would be forgotten, a memory lost in the realms of time.
They were wrong.
Things like these could never go away. Events and memories formed in childhood carried forward to adulthood. It’s what makes a person. And it made Lily a broken person. Freed from his hands yet never from the emotional and psychological scars that he left behind, Lily never really grew up to become the woman she should. She carried on as if she is still seven years old. Hoping that by acting that age, it would turn back the hands of time. It did not. She was crazy. She drove Bianca into depression. Burdened with survivor’s guilt Bianca tried everything to help Lily fight her demons. Counseling, therapy, over medications and even shock therapy but nothing works. Lily was set in her ways.
Then one day, Bianca came home from her graveyard shift at the local diner only to find the floor flooded with water. Her heart stopped beating. Her hands shook from the fear of knowing…but yet..how could she? She ran towards the bathroom and even before she opened the door she knew what she was going to find there.
Drenched. Naked. Her eyes glazed over.
Her wrist bloody,….the water in the bathtub soaked in blood red- her sister is dead.
She couldn’t save her. Running away from the farm did nothing. The demons have been unleashed within Lily’s heart and mind. And there is no escape from that. Bianca howled in pain and agony. She couldn’t even move past the bathroom’s doorway. She screamed and cried and the next thing she knew the paramedics were there. Somehow someone must have called them. But it was too late. Lily is dead for good. And so is a part of Bianca that had been intertwined with Lily for so long.
Standing next to Lily’s body, grief threatened to overpower her, she could see that Lily did not really lost the battle to her demons after all. In her death, Lily was smiling. And she could not recall a moment of when Lily actually smiled when she was alive. Lily’s free now. She’s off to a better place. A safe place where the demons and the nightmares would never keep her up at nights anymore. A place that Bianca could never provided for her. Through her tears, Bianca smiles. Lily is free now. Free of the pain, the nightmares and the guilt.
They both are.