One of the saddest moments in my life. It was last week.
My little sister was showing me her minecraft world. I showed up on the doorstep and she ran to get the cracked ipad.
My sister’s world is beautiful. She has an extensive railway system. The passengers are mostly cows. Scattered across the map she has a museum and a mountain castle and a deep cave dwelling (under renovation). She has a staircase that towers all the way up into the clouds. A king and queen live there.
She showed me the throne room. The king’s chair was golden. It dominated the center of the room.
The queen’s chair was wooden. It didn’t even have a back. It sat unobtrusively in a corner.
She walked her minecraft self into the bedrooms (which were separate). The king’s was impressive. Gold. Crystal. The queen’s was wood. Plain wood at that. She adds an explanation.
“I used to think queens and princesses were better. But now I know they’re not.”
I will probably never have a child. I hate being a girl too much.
When little sister was a baby, our mom didn’t have time for her. Didn’t have time to make her toys talk in silly voices. Didn’t have time to read to her or show her new things. Was too devoted to her ailing father (who thought he had cured his cancer through prayer) to spend time with her tiny child. Too obsessed with the horrific end of the world to spend any time on life in the here and now.
I had time.
My mother spent my childhood and youth beating into my head that women were created by the all knowing all righteous infinite source of the universe for the sole purpose of handing men sandwiches and getting pregnant as often as humanly possible.
None of them talk to me. Oh they talk to me. They smile. Sometimes they even ask me how my day was. But they never talk about anything below the surface. Never about anything of the organizing beliefs of our lives, never, never answer any of the questions I’ve asked them. Once in a while the mask slips a little. Little brother will mention something that I told mom in strict confidence. Mom keeps little sister away from me at church. The little kids stopped hanging out with me, despite being excited to see me when I show up.
I’ve seen her do this too many times- to too many other people- to not know what she’s doing.
I have honored my agreement to not talk about my questions with the little kids. I would have been, and probably still would be, cut off from them entirely- for doing that.
The screen shifts, and the view moves through block built trees- cascades of mountains. A cow is stuck in a train car, being carted off to the farthest horizon for no apparent reason. The world that little sister created pours through our eyes.
The world my mother created pours through them too.
My little sister believes that she is worth less.
There is nothing I can do or say.
Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything anything-
When will I learn?-
I push it down, push it down…
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier
From the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night
Feel my tears as they dry…
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life
Won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight