YOU

 

I place the key into the ignition and turn it; my dad’s old ‘67 Camaro
roars to life. It was his prized possession, navy blue with two white race stripes right down the hood. Now, dirt suffocates him six feet under. I’m going to see you. I’m ready to forgive you after all you’ve done. After you destroyed what we had.

It’s late September, crispy leaves blow across the pavement as I turn onto the highway. The sky is crystal clear with a light breeze. It is not . You’re staying at the old motel about 10 minutes west. You went there after I said you couldn’t stay at my house; after I said I would never speak to you again. I drive with no haste. I see no need to rush over to you; you’re lucky I’m even coming to begin with. I turn up the radio only to hear exactly what I didn’t
need to.

house burns to the ground on Second Ave less than a week ago…47-year-old Marie Yates and 50-year-old Len Yates killed…investigators confirm the source was a curling iron left on in their daughter’s bedroom…prayers go out to their family…

I pull over, the anger and sorrow I felt that day coming right back.
It floods every inch of my body. Your curling iron was just a little too close to your tissue box, that was just a little too close to your binder and all those stupid, stupid, stupid, posters hanging all over your room. You don’t even look good with your hair curled. Look what you’ve done. Even though this is all your fault, you are the only one left, so I pull back onto the highway and continue to go see you.

As the motel comes into view, I instantly see mom’s bright red Audi Q5—that’s what you got. The loose gravel crunches under my car; I love the sound. I park right next to the SUV. Why am I nervous? I’ve known you my entire life, we’re siblings.

I knock lightly on the door of room eight, you do not answer. I knock a second time, harder, and I announce myself. You do not answer. I wonder if maybe you’re out with a friend. I hadn’t thought of that variable when I decided to come be forgiving. Maybe this is the wrong room. I check my texts: nope, room eight is correct. I step back and look around. There is no one in sight, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were the only guest in this shithole. I decide to try the door; to my surprise it is unlocked. I swing the door wide open.

The room is very dim compared to outside. I wait for my eyes to adjust. The space is spotless except for the bed, which was not made. A half-eaten tuxedo truffle cake is on the desk—your favourite. The ugly stained orange armchair is knocked over on the floor. And there you are, floating a foot above the ground.

You swing a little from the disruptive air the door brought in. A single tear falls down my face. I wonder how long you have been like this. Maybe if I had come an hour earlier you wouldn’t be like this. I have nobody left now.

“I forgive you I whisper to my sister.