I used to make paper bag book covers. Then, I would draw on them. A house with a chimney. A spooky tree, with its own guard cat. The sun, with two clouds on either side. One very lonely stick figure. Tall grass, and even taller flowers. That is all. Each and every time, it was the same drawing. I don’t do that anymore. I want to, but I don’t.
Sister says the silliest things. True things, but they sound so stupid coming out of her mouth. Her tone is always exaggerated, so that all sincerity disappears under a saccharine shrill. She says that the decision to have me care for her children, was a great one. This is followed by giving thanks, and a hug that is not tight, but finds her shaking anyway. Finally, she places a kiss on my cheek, before she runs off to chain-smoke. I wipe lipstick and saliva off my face.
I never agreed to look after her children. This was never discussed. It happened naturally, after coming home in the evenings, only to see that they had not been bathed, dressed, or fed. It happened when I saw that they could die, and Juliet would do nothing to stop it. There was no other way, not for me. I have painted myself as a villain often, because it allowed for me to stop feeling like a victim. But I am not evil. I have wanted to be, but am not.
There isn’t enough love here. Only the desire to make a stranger out those that share my blood. Only a need to run away