Like Old Silk
I’ve been thirteen for four months. Mom says this makes me responsible now. I like to think I have always been so. You need to be when you have a little sister as spirited as Clara.
Clara turned six the day before yesterday. The day after tomorrow, which is Saturday, Mom and I are hosting a party for her. She hasn’t a clue. Mom told her it was too cold, too wintery, too much January for us to expect tiny children and their overburdened mothers to wade out through the snow, even if it was just down the street. We would have a celebration for her in the springtime, Mom said, after the leaves began peaking from the buds, but before the muddy month of May, when the streets would be red and gray clay colored from runoff.
Clara will be so surprised when the doorbell rings and in trudge six, six year old girls with their smiling mothers in tow. There will be cake with raspberry filling and a heavy cream frosting. I would have preferred chocolate.
If Dad were here, he would spoil everything. He was atrocious at secret keeping. The aquamarine blue glint in his left eye gave everything away. You could tickle a secret out of him, or sad eye one if he was particularly vulnerable. Sometimes, he’d just tell you because keeping something so happy locked inside of him was counter to his nature. He loved sharing.
We don’t talk about Dad much anymore. It’s bad luck to mention the dead.
Clara plays with her birthday doll in the living room. I helped pick it out from among seven other worthy (and three not so) candidates. The winner had eyes that opened and closed (even winked if you held her at the right angle), and a dress that felt like it was made from the same material as grandmother’s doilies. She named her Lydia, after me.