the missed spaces, the missed places, the missed times, the missed rhymes, the missed persons I could have been or will be, the fear that restricts me, the choices that elate me, the food that prolongs, the life that kills and opens and winds up and scares and tears and screws, inspires and heightens and pitches and rolls and drowns and crowns and takes hold of and molds and breaks and pours into and empties and burns.

and here we steal away together

X ∆Big Sister

I was ten and Bekki was thirteen, brave, and beautiful. She had blond, curly hair, a tall, elegant figure just like our grandmother, and above all she emanated a distinctive strength which was all her own. Just after Jane Goodall, Bekki was my biggest idol. In the fall of that year Bekki made an announcement to the family while we sat around the dinner table. She said that the softball team did not take the game seriously enough so she would join the boys and play baseball.

Spring arrived and atop the pitcher’s mound she stood, divine and in control, presiding over a bunch of clowns who had not yet hit puberty. Her form was a practiced smooth stroke, hand extending behind, sweeping above to summon a strong forearm and defined bicep, finishing with a powerful snapping of the wrist. It was more a dance than a pitch. The ball a simple continuation of her body. I was a spectator to her show, peering through a chain linked fence from my perch on metal bleachers, a pile of pens and paper before me.

She made it all look easy, the game and the team building. So I followed in Bekki’s footsteps, aided by an overconfident and persistent push from my father. Three years later, with visions of glory in my mind, I found myself in the batter’s box waiting for mean faced boys to strike me out. Boys, who in my sister’s shadow had appeared insignificant, were now terrifying. I stepped up to the plate countless times throughout one endless season. Strike three! Strike three! Strike three!

I was a little girl surrounded by a bunch of bullies and I struck out every single time. At home, in the garage my father would pitch to me each night. There, I was not great but I was good, or I could at least hit the damn ball. Somehow though, when I stepped out the door I was smaller, nervous, weak. It was a spell I had no control over, and it took this season-long spectacle of humiliation for me to decide, once and for all, I would not play by the boy’s rules ever again. I needed to create my own game.

Little did I know my creation, with its rules based around indulgent revenge on the so called opposite sex, would be at the expense of Bekki during our overlapping year in high school. She was in the prime of her athletic pursuits and I was pissed off, alone and sculpting a body which the boys no longer laughed at. I had found my tool, sex, and I lost my virginity. I knew right away though that this simple, passive sentence was a lie. I threw my virginity away and it was easy. It meant nothing. I started using my body the way the boys did, with power. I enjoyed these insects as they clumsily flicked themselves into my fabricated web.

It was all much more satisfying than being the loser on some sports team but my forte blinded me to Bekki’s predicament. As I was pushing my body into realms where I was told it was not yet allowed to be, she was all plagued by rumors of her little slut sister. Chuckles I enjoyed, echoing in the humid high school hallway, she despised.

It was late spring and the end of the school year gleamed with tangible proximity. I waited on a stretch of asphalt for Bekki. While she had been training on a perfectly groomed field, I had been fucking in the bed of a truck behind 7-11. The whole scene was stereotypical of the suburban dream gone wrong. Everyone had a bit of property, everyone drove, you were a jock, a redneck or a junkie, and if you weren’t one of these you were worse, the conundrum outcast. Detached, I watched myself in the back of that truck from above, momentarily entertained, a temporal, lustful island in a sea of ethical predictability and blandness.

The local trend of buying pickup trucks allowed for a convenient sexual setup. I could be on top and actually almost get off. I pushed the guy’s face into the bed of the Ford. This surprised him and he liked it. I just didn’t want to see his ugly lips curl as he came. I rolled off of him, arching my back, hips in the air as I pulled tight jeans over wet skin. I bought a Snapple apple drink and walked back toward the school, my thighs aching and knees beginning to bruise. The feeling of power shed itself with each step though, and I eventually returned to an uninspired and unimpressed state of mind.

Bekki must have seen it on my face or in my hair. She looked at me like I had broken her heart. “So they are true ha, the rumors?” “YEP!” I told her triumphantly, summoning the last bit of power which had been resting on my hip bone. Her lips curled, much like the guy’s, an immediate reaction to some primal emotion. I thought for a moment, and hoped, that she would hit me. That her strong arm would finally go to some actual use rather than just throwing stupid balls. But she held back and simply stared. I looked into a face full of disgust and pity and could not fathom why she cared so much. I cared too, that her gaze made me feel increasingly weak. I turned and walked away, escaping a mixtape of begging and crying. The power in me expanded slightly and I convinced myself of another triumph over an unexpected foe.

The two sisters, bad and good, brunette and blond, floated around the small town, allowing and trusting that their opposite currents would ensure a safe distance between them. At home I locked myself away with a stash of weed and incense, books and paint. I could continue to play powerful as long as I did not have to look Bekki in the eye.

And then in a bold move that I still have respect for, Bekki knocked on my door one day. “You beat me to it, I’m still a virgin you bitch.” she said. “It’s not all that great, you can trust me on that.” I mumbled. Bekki glared. Then her face softened. “I don’t want to trust you on that. You probably didn’t realize, but I am actually dating someone. I have no idea what to do Ali. I mean, with him.”

So, with the help of a cucumber I taught my older sister how to suck cock, and we laughed together, aloud. A fear I had of her, and of myself, dissipated slightly and I started to get to know Bekki as an actual person, not a sister, an idol, or an antagonist.

XI ∆The Room

VIIII ∆Rinny