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“I’m angry” she said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I’m falling apart,” tears forming in her eyes as she turned away.
I waited for Faith to say something more, but I knew that she’d already said too much. We were growing apart, and I was helpless as she faded away.
There were many dead-end discussions that always seemed to leave each of us feeling more isolated. I would lay awake at night, pretending to make sense of it. I watched the stars, letting my eyes close, to keep the memories in, as I drifted into sleep.
Faith looked at me and said, “I’m dying.”
I was at a loss to save her. Searching to find something in her face, but there was nothing in the absence of a smile. The blankness in her eyes kept me from asking. I’d seen it all before, or so I thought. Truthfully, I was blind to what her eyes shared.
Darkness had set in. We were drowning. Each breath of air was shallower than the last. Finally we let go, and for the first time, felt alive.
I was afraid of that dream. It reoccurred often, making me wake in a cold sweat. I could feel the water as it surrounded our bodies, cool and calm. Shivering from fear, I closed the window. Her silhouette covered by the thin white sheet was brightly cast in the moonlight. That’s how I wanted to remember her, peacefully at rest.
After the accident, I learned to block out the world. It was hard to do at first, but I managed. It helped that people believed me when I said it was an accident. It made sense to them, and stopped questions. The more I said it, the realer it became. What had happened might have been her choice, but I wanted it to be an accident.
Faith wasn’t supposed to have found the exit without telling me. One night I woke up from that dream, screaming, and found her missing. Crying out for her, I swear I felt her body enter the frigid water, rushing her away.
It was early February, the third to be exact and the river was beginning to thaw. In silence you could hear the ice crack, as it gave way to the frozen undercurrents. I’ll never know if Faith walked out looking for her reflection, or had she desired a moment of joy, climbed on the swing, pushing away from the bank and falling.
I would never get an answer. The night I felt her disappear, I went for a walk in the dark stillness. I found myself drawn to the river. I stood on the bridge crying, my tears mixing with swirling waters below.
Then I saw her. She was limp and weightless. Drifting in the freezing water. Her body tossed upon the shore, dead.
I imagined her hair floating around her face which was set in perfect horror as the cold had ripped through her veins. The warmth in her cheeks replaced, by a blue frost that tinted her lips. Frail in the white chemise as it clung to her frame, like the wedding dress she’d never wear. Body and dress the same lonely paleness. That’s how I liked to think of her, pure and untouched. She was an angel. But her lifeless body exposed the truth. The rocks had left her bruised, head bloodied, and a swollen gash across her chest
Faith was gone, taken from me. I stood looking at her corpse, wondering what to do. The cold was seeping in through the shock. My hands were numb, and the icy wind stung my face. Ragged breaths escaped my lungs, as I sat tensed in grief. She was my sister, lost to the world.
I waited watching the snow fall, covering the quiet landscape. Purples etched across the sky as dawn approached. Unaware of the passing time, I stumbled back to the bridge, pondering plummeting to meet my sister. Instead, I turned and walked away, leaving Faith behind.