to be free
I hated you. Even from a great distance, my pent up anger took shape in the form of you.
Perhaps it was a good thing you went away, for who else could I fault? Oh, You were my unwitting scapegoat, Tara. And I easily blamed all the worlds ills on you and as such, never to once had to reflect on my poor decisions or simple mind. And all you had to do was take a stand.
But it was always so cold without you here. Like walking on a sheet of ice everywhere I went. And it didn't matter how many layers of clothing I put on... it wasn't the floor boards that let in the draft. The biting chill was lingering in a breeze of weeks turned to months then years of your absence. The worst kind of cold is awful silence. It makes your muscles tense and nerves come alive for fear of outside noises. Who would have thought a void would be left without your quiet stutter. The conversations were bland without your odd ball antics that we took for granted.
I admired you, I despised you.
I told myself I wasn't lonely. Bought an extra heater for my room a new comforter and bundled in the solitude until tension rose within and my body would shake for want of hurting you and your damned quiet superiority. And suddenly, the chill would be no more.
I asserted my feminine pride in your fathers house, exterted my emotional strength. I didn't miss the childish soap bubble wars. I didn't need vacuum races to pass the time.
Though, there were times when privately, I was reminded that the housework never seemed a chore when you were around. But then, you never visited and has to adjust.
I hunted out your poetry books, wanting to seek personal comfort in the words. I knew where you hid them and I found them and... How could you Tara? Witchcraft? In the house? I had remembered that you said the books were your mothers but you said nothing of Latin. As I ran my eyes down the withered pages of a language that eluded me, I remembered the way your voice became steady and proud as you pronounced the words. But I never knew you had translated from latin syllables.
That discovery pushed me. Betrayal! A million memories of you only seemed to burn the worst kind of vengeful emotions deep inside me. It hurt my chest and I hated you all the more.
But don't think I spoke bad of you while you lived your life without conscious thought of us. I never spoke ill of you, cousin. For I never once said your name aloud. I scorned your rebellion, but silently. Soon I'd find myself forgetting your face, forgetting your voice. You ceased to exist for weeks on end.
Then someone would light a candle, and I'd remember a flicker of your eyes as you gazed into the flame. Someone would trip over a sentence and it would trigger the recorder of my thoughts and your voice would suddenly be played.
And how I craved then, how desperately I wanted to hurt you. Though I remained realistic, never needing to tell myself that this anger steamed from jealousy, because I felt nothing akin to jealous. I liked my life, I liked living the life you abandoned..
It was just like growing up. Back when I thought you had it all. You, with the pretty hair and the loving mother. You, with the brother to defend you when the big kids made you cry.
I thought you had it all until junior high.. high school. That's when I saw it was not so. I was the one in the push up bras and belly huggers. I was the one lost in a circle of friends and men. I had the personality and you had your books. The Quiet One.
But you, deceptively delicate! None of us suspected you were a knave, a fraud. Was that was all the books were about, Tara? Just waiting for your chance to break away. The shy girl act became you. We never thought twice when you huddled in the corner, reading.
No. Please don't think I feel the same way now, Tara. I understand you now.
I couldn't ever see them for what they truly were. Lost in a web of lies that bound me to them. You were the one with strength of character and the courage in the end. I hadn't the capacity then to see what possessed you to leave behind our only world and venture an unmarked path. Soaking in the rain, wet and miserable as you declared your independence.
I do now. You found your place in the world. Well, I never got that chance, never took that risk of rejection.
I do wish you luck, Tara. A million guiding arms to clear your way, for if I could do it over, I think I would have liked to try out your shoes.
You left, Cousin. I saw you glow in your triumphant freedom. But in the end, you see... I broke free too.
d e a d l e t t e r s h o m e