Page 26 - 2016 Spring-Summer Issue
P. 26

The Language of Sisters

by Karen Soltero

© natara/         I don’t expect it’s this way with all siblings, but Wendy and I could
                             talk to each other about almost anything. We didn’t always agree;
                             in fact it was often the opposite, but we could communicate in
                             that way I always imagined only certain siblings possibly can
                             – without fear of alienation, without risk. No matter what was
                             said, we would always be connected, and even in the midst of
                             disagreement, we would understand one another. We could talk
                             about our parents and our shared history, we could talk about our
                             friends, and we could talk about our fears. When she died, I knew
                             I would never have that again.

                             I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what I would find.
                             It was summer in Los Angeles and I had agreed to go to a
                             conference. My mom had heard about an organization.

                             “We should check it out, she said, the conference is in Hollywood.
                             It is 10 minutes from your apartment so I can just come out and
                             stay with you. See if we like it. See if it helps.”

                             It sounded good to me. It was worth a shot, anything was worth
                             a shot. Wendy had been gone for almost four years. I had been
                             thrust into only childhood as a 26 year old. We were finally
                             done with murder trials, the ones responsible put away for good.
                             The driving purpose we’d had since her murder to see justice
                             served was about a year and a half gone. I didn’t have a job or a
                             direction. I had just turned 30, on the cusp of what was supposed
                             to be the next decade, the next era of my life. I was living in

                             The hallways were filled with people. On the first day, I sat by
                             myself in the back of rooms filled with chairs. I sat in circles
                             without talking. I drank too much wine in the lobby bar with
                             my mom. I bid on some things in the silent auction and listened
                             to speakers at a luncheon in the middle of a banquet room on
                             Hollywood Boulevard and thought, this is not my life. In my
                             life, Hollywood Boulevard means a crazy night out with Wendy
                             that ends with her in the back of a tattoo parlor getting a tongue
                             piercing. It means me laughing with her and she sticks her
                             swollen tongue in a cup of ice from the convenience store across
                             the street. That is my life. I don’t know what this is.

2 6 |We Need Not Walk Alone
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