Aug 7, 2006

Valerie

She’s leaving today. In the morning. Her room is a mess, with stuff sorted into piles on the table and the sideboard and the bed and the floor. Her stuff is strewn and organized into a mess and tomorrow she will weigh it all on a scale to see what she can carry and still fly away. The books are divided into the ones she’s taking and the ones she’s leaving and I notice those piles don’t match the division between the books that are mine and the books that’re hers.

She’s leaving, my sister. The summer’s over even though the heat’s still on, really just here, pulsing so you can’t tell if it comes from above or from all around. Her time here is over even though we still haven’t had boiled peanuts, or seen Eddie’s or the Earl. She’s going, even though we just figured out the best ways to live together.

Tomorrow she’ll get on a plane. She’ll pass through the airport between the soldiers going back to Iraq and evacuees from Lebanon. She’ll pass people from everywhere and all of them will pass individually through the electric doors where she'll pass and then the last I see her she will merge with them. She’ll board in a line and taxi on down to the runway and the engine will rev and the plane will turn down the long black stretch and lift into the air and she’ll read a book or lean back on the seat and sleep and she’ll wake up in the opposite corner of the country.

She sighs. What? I say and she says it means nothing. She’s always sighed. Since she was a little girl, and I know that – she started sighing in kindergarten – but still I always ask her what.