by Cathy Arden on May 10, 2013

Thinking of my sister today.  I’m now old enough to have been without her longer than I was with her.  I’m not sure what happens to time.  But some things stay the same, don’t they?  The wind?  The afternoon?


“Please come out now.  I give up. I can’t find you.   Do you hear me?   Come back!   Please!  I said I give up!”

The only sound is the summer wind moving through the leaves on the old maple tree in the front yard.  I run around the whole outside of the house, searching under bushes, up in trees, through the screened-in porch, behind the swings, down those big holes the trees in back are standing in, and by the canal.  I still can’t find my big sister.  Doren always wants to play hide and seek.  “Maybe this time you’ll find me,” she says.  But I never can and she never comes when I call.  I stand in front of the garage, tasting the liverwurst from lunch behind my nose, waiting for Doren to come around the corner.  Suddenly, like magic, she’s standing next to me, leaning against the garage door.  “It was the wind,” Doren says, “the wind took me away again,”

She says this time it carried her away while I was still counting.  “Yes, yes, that gust of wind when you were up to ten.”  She flew above the maple tree, across the canal, and up to the palace in the sky.  There is always a feast waiting for Doren up there, laid out on the purple rug – seedless grapes, soft ice cream, milk chocolate, cinnamon raisin bread and apple cider.

Doren says, “The wind wants me to stay and live there, but he always takes me back when I want to go home.”

“No, it’s not true.  The wind doesn’t take you.” (The lump in my throat makes my voice shake.)  But I can never find her.  “Why won’t he take me?  Prove that’s it’s true.”

“He only likes me,” Doren says. “No one else can ever come.”

She walks away taking a Hershey Kiss from her pocket.  I follow her.

“Tell me what it’s like to fly with the wind.”



Don’t forget:  you can’t prove that one thing
or another is more important
the backyard is full of old
powerful machines, like a lawnmower
my grandfather painted a hopscotch board
on the pink patio
for my sister and me
we threw a set of keys
belonging to one parent or the other
on the large, white numbers
when we grew tired of the keys
the next week we’d throw something else

a cat peering out through a porch screen
a child with thin arms
wearing a sleeveless blouse
giving away the last kitten in the litter

in the afternoon

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

sharonseecherich May 11, 2013 at 1:59 AM

Dear Cathy,
I think it never stops hurting.
Just last week my 92 year-old mother said to me, “I felt like crying, but i couldn’t. I never can.’
“What was bothering you, Mother?” I asked.
And her reply was that she had been thinking if only her mother and her sister Charlotte and her sister Fran and her brother Melvin and her brother Howard were here, then everything would be all right.”
Strange, I thought. She never even mentioned my father whom she adored.


Ellis Amburn May 11, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Dear Doren, dearest Doren. I am seeing her at her wedding. I think it was atop the St. Regis. I think she is very aware of us now. Hi, Doren. I love you.


Lisa May 18, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Cathy –
Your writing is so beautiful. I was very moved by this. Please write more – I want to keep reading your words!


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