Katherine

She is red siren lipstick. The color that I can never pull off with my red hair. The kind that she always wore when she was feeling especially feminine. The kind that was next to impossible to get off my neck, breasts and thighs later that night.

She is sports bras and wife-beater tank tops. Even if she later dressed it up with a button down shirt or blouse, it always ended with that. I only saw her wear a dress twice in our whole relationship.

She is ice blue eyes. Always getting asked if she’s wearing contacts. She was always amused by that. The eyes were the color that could see deep into your soul and past the masks. The kind that haunt dreams even years after.

She is the taste of Skyy vodka and Smirnoff ice coolers. The cool burn creeping down my throat all the way to my stomach. The sour taste of green apple- the first alcohol I tried with her in Kentucky. The bitter taste of it coming back up the next day. To this day I avoid the green apple flavors.

She is the smell of asiago bagels and soft cream cheese. The smell of forgiveness when her 3rd shift ran over. The rustle of the brown bag from Panera. The covert way we carefully ate them in bed, even living all alone.

She is the hiss of the word “Mine”. Uttered way too often and most often accompanied by a sharp squeeze or nibble.

She is binge watching “Gargoyles” while scarfing bad junk food. The teasing about Fox being so much like me. The way she automatically got me another diet coke when in the kitchen for herself.

She is talking until the small hours of the morning (or afternoon, if she’d just gotten off work). Sleep is for the lonely and we never seem to run out of topics.


She is the wistful desire for deep intimacy beyond sex. I know better than to actually pursue it, but there are so many times I remember how fulfilling it was.

She is my inability to comfortably listen to Journey. I still listen anyway.

She is my hatred at seeing Daddy settle into perfect domesticity. Despite every thing he’s done, it is him that is rewarded after a lifetime of denying any want for stable romance. And here I am living in loneliness and taking the scraps I can while denying outloud a want of anything further.

She is the wet hiccups of learning to cry silently and quickly. No one else ever wanted to deal with it. I’ve always been a quick study.

She is the tension in my muscles every time I drive near anything that reminds me of Kentucky. The rolling hills. The blooming meadows. All terrain vehicles. The burning liquor. I can’t force them to loosen until I’m well past memory lane.


She is my utter struggle here in Chicago this weekend. I just want to cope like a normal girl. A good girl for Daddy. But the memories swirl and I can feel her breath and it isn’t entirely unpleasant. The only good part about dealing with my grandparents’ wicked dementia is they don’t ask about her. Or is that good?

While Daddy goes through his sections of their house and personal effects with the stark detachment he’s always possessed, here I am trying not to weep at every moment. At every item. In every room.
And I feel like only she would understand.

And all I can feel through the curtain of misery and DID-fog is burning hatred for myself.

It’s been almost five years now and she’s still the security blanket I automatically want to reach for.

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