At the old writing desk, in a puddle of light leaking through the window, the older sister sits. Her hair is manicured, her cigarette a stump. If the house wasn’t such a racket, she would have finished writing days ago. Tomorrow she will try and fail again to put coherent thoughts to paper. What she has written and discarded in piles on the floor will be burned with the trash Monday afternoon. She presses her pencil against the paper until the tip snaps. The sound replays between her ears. She slams her head to the desk and starts up again, fresh and dizzy. 

 

In the distance, she hears the voice of her younger sister debating her ability to care for a macaw. As usual, she has talked herself into a hole about what to do if the bird might outlive them all. 

The older sister thinks for a moment of her fine hair and the new polish on her nails but it passes. She raises her hand to strike her across the cheek, knowing full well the fresh paint will catch her loose and unruly hair. She hits her again, and once more for good measure. 

 

The younger sister replays the feeling of a hand on her cheek and thinks it has not at all been a bad night.

text by Madison H.C.

Heather
Boyd

 © 2023 by heather boyd

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