Wednesday, October 1, 2008

All Apologies



“Miranda, I’m sorry,” she said.

The rub of onion and spiced meat recalled their childhood vacations to the beach. Skipping down the boardwalk with an ocean shelled in her ears. Snapping Miranda’s swimsuit straps against her pink shoulders. Running for her life.

Karen tried to swallow.

“So sorry,” she repeated.

“Yeah, you keep saying that,” her sister said, eyes fixed to the counter. The grill cook was flirting with the cashier.

“Sorry.”

Miranda didn’t smile. Karen continued breaking off the burnt tips of french fries with her greasy fingers.

“You lied to me,” Miranda said. “Over and over again.”

“I know,” Karen said, pushing her plate away and taking her sister’s hand across the table. “I feel sick about it.”

Miranda looked at her. Usually, her eyes were as warm as evergreens.

“No, you don’t.”

But today, they were as wet, and sharp, as emeralds.

“I really—”

“I mean, yes. You feel bad,” Miranda said, sliding her hand away. “But it’s not really the point. It doesn’t excuse anything.”

Karen nodded once. “No.”

Miranda wiped her hands on a napkin and tossed it aside.

“And now you want me to tell you that everything is going to be all right.”

“You always have,” Karen murmured, staring at the mosaic of tiles on the table. They blurred into a red and black tantrum. The room began to spin away, even as she clawed for the edges.

“Karen.”

She looked up. Miranda smiled.

“Everything is going to be all right.”

Karen closed her eyes. Breathed deeply.

Her sister rose, dropped some cash on the table, and tugged on a yellow sweater. Placing a hand on Karen’s shoulder, Miranda looked down at her.

“You’ve just got to find a way to get there.”

Karen watched her sister walk into autumn's arms, and disappear. Turning back to the empty table, she acknowledged the open, thrown back mouths of the cook and cashier, whose arm he was touching. They looked to be laughing. But all Karen could hear was a low, rhythmic roar in her ears.

Like waves being dragged from their summer shore.

“I’m sorry,” she mouthed, for no one.

8 comments:

Aine said...

“I’m sorry,” she mouthed, for no one.

I think Miranda heard. Her heart is melting. Sisterly love works that way-- it's a bond that can't be broken. Miranda is probably waiting around the corner to take Karen's hand and walk the road together.

Sarah Hina said...

Aine, if that's true, then it says more for Miranda than Karen at this point. But hopefully, in knowing that moment is still possible, Karen will find the strength to get up and start working hard to deserve it.

Thank you.

Charles Gramlich said...

"walk into autumn's arms."

Lovely.

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

No matter what the folly,a sister is ever forgiving.

Beautiful slice of life.Very well penned,as always :)

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, thank you. :)

Sameera, some sisters are ever forgiving. Karen's lucky to have one of them.

Thanks! :)

peggy said...

very cool work, I too hope that sisterly love prevails!

Sarah Hina said...

Peggy, thanks for coming by! I've noticed you at Bookroast. :)

I think it will prevail, in spite of the hardships.

Vesper said...

Some wonderful images in here (an ocean shelled in her ears, walk into autumn's arms) and a very human moment... I hope they can find a way...
:-)