Rebellion. I’ve never been one for it. I mean, yes I’ve deliberately disobeyed my parents. Eaten a piece of cake when I wasn’t supposed to. Gotten my good clothes dirtied and ruined. But everyone does that stuff, don’t they? No, the rebellion I’m talking about is the blood and fire rebellion. The one that fills my thoughts with the acidic burning of pepper spray they shower the crowds with when they stampede our Quadrants every year. What they’re rebelling against is completely understandable. The right to their children’s’ memories and lives is something anyone would get upset about. But it’s better to stay in the shadows, to keep your eyes down and acknowledge that fighting is wrong. To stay out of the way and keep your mouth shut. To listen, it’s easier. Not so painful if you just accept things are going to happen. So that’s what I try to do. Accept it.
All day, through breakfast and lunch I chew it over and over in my mind. In between the two I go into hysteria, but I convince myself eventually that this is going to happen. I’m going to die. The person I’ve worked so hard to build will be eliminated. My parents and I sit down to dinner tonight, pork roast. I hate pork roast, but I know it is the nicest thing they can afford. We all sit around the table solemnly, eyes cast downward, blinking away our tears and sniffling into our napkins. All of this is going to make me burst into tears, so I try to focus on the room itself, thinking that if I engrave it deep enough in my mind, maybe I’ll be able to keep it there. But the room is not the same as it once was, filled with love and laughter. My sloppy sister scarfing down her plate of food and chortling into her drink leaves an emptiness that cannot be filled with words.
My parents both explained to me, of course, why she never came home today, that this was hard for her. That she had me all of her life and now she needs to let go. But I still want to hold her one more time, to brush back her hair the way I know she hates. To give her a peck on the cheek and be a big sister and smile a big fake smile and wave goodbye, promising and lying that one day I’ll be back. But she didn’t even give me the chance.