Tragically Ill: The story of two sisters

“I had to do it,” She said, “I hope you understand, it had to be me.”

She gripped her wrist tightly, the dark red blood wouldn’t stop and I don’t think she wanted it to. Her face has gone pale, her eyes are so far away now. I carry her down the stairs and scream at mom and dad.

“CALL 911!!” Without a second question, I hear dad dial the numbers and I sit with my frail sister. You wouldn’t be able to tell that she’s two years older than me. She is barely a body. Years of depriving herself has made her this way. I curse Anorexia’s name every night, for trying to take my beautiful sister away.  I keep the pressure on her open wound and move the delicate blonde strands of hair away from her eyes. I know she’s still here when she smiles her sad smile at me. A tear trickles down her cheek,  and I wipe it away.

Why do you keep doing this to us!!!? Dad screamed so sharply.

“Shut up, Dad,” My eyes are fierce with anger and disgust when I stare back at him. He paces around the living room in panic and fear. Instability runs so deeply in this family.

“It’s going to be okay”, I say. But I don’t know that it will. Once the ambulance gets to our house, they take her out of my arms and rush her to the hospital. I never know when or if i’ll get to see her again.

When Jessie goes into the hospital It’s a long time before I can see her again. It feels like years sometimes, I know that it isn’t that long. But it sure does feel like it.  Sometimes she comes back and there is more life in her eyes. Her smile is back to its playful self at times, but it’s just a matter of time before it disintegrates. They won’t let me go see her when she’s in such bad shape. Mom and dad don’t want me to see her so broken and so deathly hopeless. I think it’s because they think I’ll end up like her. Lying on hospital bed being fed through a tube. Pumping life back into my body. What they don’t realize is I feel what she feels, I think those dreadful thoughts too. The difference is that I can still hide it in my journal and in slight cuts on my upper thigh.

Monday still came with a roaring fist to my gut. The constant Beep-Beep-Beep of my alarm clock tells me that I’m supposed to get up and get ready for school. I’d rather just lay here, safe under my covers. The soft warmth of Jessie’s sweater reminds me of her glow and presence, so I get up and pretend that everything is okay. Even if it’s the exact opposite. Once I come downstairs, Dad is rushing off to work and shouts Goodbye. Mom kisses my cheek as I bite into a piece of burnt toast.

“bye sweetie,” the words are frozen and stale as she closes the door shut. I’m expected to make my own way to school. Walk, ride my bike or take the bus. I take my precious time. School doesn’t really seem to matter so much when everything else seems to be crumbling around you. I need to see her. I don’t care if my parents find out. But I’m going to see her, I have to. I take Bus 22 to the hospital and walk to the intensive care centre. I walk past the coughing smokers, with my head lowered to the ground. Avoiding eye contact. I enter through the automatic doors. Following the signs and the colour coded lines on the floor.

I walk to reception.

“Hi, Ms Owen..”

“You know i’ve known you and your sister long enough, You can call me Amy.”

Before I can say anything else she notices that I’m crying. She gets up out of her chair and tells me to come in. She opens her arms and hugs me so tightly I can barely breathe. But It feels good. My mother doesn’t even hug me like that. “She is a fighter. And My dear, so are you.” She grabs my hand the way I would take my dad’s hand when we would go into home depot together. Guiding the way to what is Jessie’s room. She has Tinkerbell stickers on the wall and her notebook and pen sits on the table next to her bed. Jessie rolls over onto her side, her eyelids flutter, adjusting to the light. I climb into bed beside her. She takes up so little space It makes me so sad and afraid. Before I know it she could just vanish. Disappear completely. I put my arm around her and hold onto her cold hand. She squeezes my finger tips tightly. We both cry. Our cries are quiet but painful. We fall asleep. Into a deep, gratifying sleep.


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