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"Jenny" by Sharon Jan

My older sister likes to drink from the opposite end of her cup, like she's never without the hiccups. This is mostly true; every night, I set my sleep to the soft rhythm of her voice sticking, sticking, from the bed next to mine.

The missing sound is how I know she is gone, even before I peek through slits of eyes in the thick blur of night to see how the outline of her body is lost from my line of vision. I didn't feel it, but I guess my sleep fled with my sister.

There’s no notice, nor did I expect one, but I know why she left. Three months before, my sister Jenny (who fed pigeons sunflower seeds but not nuts, who couldn't find her books unless they were color coded) fell in just the kind of love I expected. Though I could never puzzle through her rule of life, I could see the outline of her thoughts when she spoke of him. She decided in the end—he fit The Bill.

She is eloping, The Bill plus her. Now, I listen to the engine of his Ford Escort cut through the quiet, the rumble from our street deepening in pitch, the Doppler Effect in motion. I don't know where she is going, but I feel the deficiency settling in even now. I know she will not return, either. She will wed this Bill. She will throw off those metronomic hiccups. The porch light flickers on, eons behind schedule. It's completely wrong since there's nobody to welcome home, nobody to frighten off, either. The yellow of it slips between the blinds. I notice now how I didn't move my eyelids once they'd fluttered open, how if I keep them fixed just so now, I'm seeing right through those chinks.



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