Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Three little stairsteps
It's a bright Tuesday morning, post-rainstorm, in Huntington. Cat's in the window like she's never seen a guy with a shopping cart before, even though the same guy makes his way down our alley every day at about this time.
I haven't found my own routine here yet. Yesterday when the shopping cart rolled by, I was playing with the dogs in the kitchen. The day before, fixing lunch. The day before that, breakfast. Today I'm still working on my coffee and writing, listening to music and waiting for the mail truck to bring me work to do.
What I'm doing most of this morning, though, is I'm missing my sisters. I mean, I always miss my sisters. But today it's at the forefront, heavy in the room. One's 45 minutes away. That's all. Just 45 minutes. But my car won't start and she doesn't have gas money. We post on each other's Facebook wall. We call, once in a while, when there are minutes on our phones.
The other is in Philly. Not sure how far that is, but it feels immeasurable. Haven't seen her in a year and a half now.
We used to hate it when people called us "three little stairsteps." Three little blond girls spaced almost evenly, two years apart. Jennifer, Heather, me. Except eventually Heather and I had to switch places because I grew taller than her. Became the middle step even though I'm the youngest. You could see us around town almost daily, when we lived up that way. Sitting on the stone wall outside the laundromat, outside the courthouse, outside the movie theater, scribbling with our blue pens in our college-ruled notebooks. We were quiet kids in jeans and canvas sneakers and these odds and ends of T-shirts that came from big black trash bags people inevitably handed our parents. Shirts that thought they were clever. "Pobody's Nerfect" and "Never trust a smiling cat." We wrote till we got bored, got free candy from the theater, held contests to see who could suck on a fireball the longest, bought ten-cent cups of ice from U-Save to cool our tongues. Then started writing again, in tandem.
I don't think it ever occurred to me that someday we might live in separate cities, with separate stone walls to sit on.
Heather's got a guy and six cats in an apartment in the city, and Jennifer has a husband and three beautiful children. I'm engaged to be married and I've got this great new place. We have good lives, the three of us. Three separate, beautiful worlds.
But I don't know what kinds of shirts my sisters are wearing today or what color ink they use. And this kind of morning feels familiar, feels old. A little cooler than usual, post-rain. I'm wanting to sit elbow-to-elbow on the wall outside the courthouse in our little small town, tap our heels against the stone, suck on fireballs and write about our futures.
Miss you, Dooley girls. One lone step doesn't lead anywhere.