Her imaginary hand brushed itself across my cheek. For a second I could smell the definite scent of hairspray and orange juice, and I turned to face my sister whose very limited expression had- surprisingly enough- drastically changed from that of a heartless shrew to some form of an actual human being. She held my thin plastic bag as a makeshift umbrella to guard her perfect hair from the elements. A few yards behind her, Jason stood hunched under the narrow refuge of the station's roof, desperately trying light a cigarette.

I stifled my tears that had begun to build. “Why are you really here Nattie?”

She paused, the wheels turning over in her head, trying to form careful words to avoid further conflict. “She wants to see you.”

The tears were getting harder to contain. “So that’s it? You just decided to help me out all of a sudden for the sake of the mother who doesn’t even remember your name?”

I could see tears forming in her eyes too. I realized then that it was kind of selfish of me to think that I was the only one affected in this situation.

Natalie had lost her mother too.

“It’s been almost three years Sammy since she woke up." She wiped at her eyes, smudging blue and green across her face. "You haven’t even checked up on her. She’s starting to come back. She’s trying really hard to remember.” Both Natalie and her shawl began to look more and more like a wet dog. All of that vigilance and preparation to leave the house was made pointless as the blankets continued to fall.

There was a part of me that wanted nothing more than to see my mother’s face again. But the terrifying thought of being rejected for a second time was unbearable. In my head, I knew that the memories that I’d always held on to would be better preserved if the woman who inhabited her body now remained a stranger. Truth be told, those memories were the only good things I had left. “I can’t.” I sniffled. “I’m sorry Nattie, I just can’t.”

I was a coward. I knew that- I always knew. I turned my back on Natalie and started to walk away. The warm tears surged out of my eyeballs and salt began to burn on my lashes. 

The End

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