1301 Iowa Street #19

Written April 23, 1995 – Age 17

Sister, the artistic beauty you set to paper created a collage of wonderment across those boring white walls. The paints you said you would never use at our family home. Canvas and colors came together, inside #19. This place you found your niche’ among the large picture window and four white walls covered by your brush strokes and charcoal.

I studied your stick-figure, you said you had not perfected yet. Maybe you could not find satisfaction in your minds’ eye. Did you know I could feel what you put to paper? Maybe, too strong to accept that what you created was already amazing.

On that floor, stained by the tenants before; an unfinished piece of art tossed down by you. We both stood there in each other’s presence. I was amazed.

And sister,

Walking downtown Ashland, the Boulevard, you called it. You were so acquainted in your space, in each step and cracked sidewalk slab; an area so new and unusual to me. I felt this strong pull toward you, walking at your side-I didn’t want to be two steps behind or head. Trying to find a coffee shop where we can write on the tables in chalk.

Finally, we wrote our names, played tic tac toe and drank fancy coffee, in old chipped diner mugs billowing with whip cream. You told me stories-you shared laughter and tears with me. We started 17 stories and only finished seven of them. I found laughter when you did, tears when you shed them and shared rough brown paper napkins from a dented holder that was over filled.

Sister, hours in a parlor waiting…you made me go first in case I chickened out…ceiling mirrors –I stared at myself. We drove miles for what we joked would be Winnie the Pooh on our skin forever but it did not happen. It turned out to be only us. I had your hand to hold, I squeezed and you seemed to squeeze back but maybe just in my mind.  Blue ink wiped away with a paper towel and a white plastic glove.

Yes, sister we never could find the right time or place to celebrate each other; being together in the same childhood room. I know from here on that I can come to any house you live in, you will have a smile when I arrive, a hug like no other, a warm bed to sleep in even if we have to share, and our laughter and tears will always be comfortable in each other’s presence.

For you, I hope life gives you back everything you have given it.

I love you, Sister. I will be back to Iowa Street #19.

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