By Chef Bellemaus
I always wanted a little sister. I would beg my parents, “Please? Pleeeeaasssee?” and they’d roll their eyes and tell me that it wasn’t as simple as I thought. That didn’t stop me from talking about it every chance I got though.
When they brought Sarah home, it was the happiest day of my life. She was so cute! I couldn’t wait to share my toys with her. I started going through them, deciding which ones were hers and which ones were mine. I borrowed my daddy’s label maker and started putting our names on each thing so we wouldn’t get them confused.
She cried a lot at first. I’d ask my parents why she cried so much and they told me it was natural. They said when she got used to us and our house she would calm down and not cry all the time. Sometimes though, she’d cry so loud that Daddy would have to take her into the basement where it was sound-proof so the neighbors wouldn’t complain.
She slept in Mommy and Daddy’s bed for the first month. Sometimes I’d try to join them but they’d always lock their door. Mommy said their bed wasn’t big enough for all of us to sleep in. I was patient. I knew the new bed with the bars that they’d set up in my room would eventually be hers.
When they felt it was safe to let her sleep on her own, they started putting her in it. She wasn’t crying so much anymore by then, and I would lie in my bed and watch her sleep from across the room. They’d take her into their bedroom first and lay with her until she fell asleep, then move her to our room. Some nights after she was moved, I’d see her lying there with her eyes open, just staring at the ceiling, so I’d go over and give her toys through the bars. A lot of the time she’d just throw the toy and then start crying and I’d have to hide under my covers before Daddy came in to deal with her.
Eventually, they started letting Sarah sit with me in the playroom. I was told that I wasn’t allowed to give her anything too small or sharp that she could hurt herself with. I was soooo happy! I would sit behind her and brush her hair and tell her she was the best little sister in the world. I showed her which toys were hers and which were mine, but she didn’t seem to care. Sometimes we’d sit on the window seat and she’d bang on the window while I drew on it with special crayons.
School started back up at Sugar Creek Elementary, and I went but Sarah had to stay home. Mommy said she wasn’t ready for school yet. I’d come home and tell Sarah all the stuff I’d learned. I drew pictures of us playing together. When I showed them to Daddy he’d tell me thank you and take them to keep in his office.
Then came the really bad day. I’ll never forget it. I came home from school and Mommy was just sitting at the table smoking. She looked real sad. I went to play with Sarah but couldn’t find her. When I went to ask Mommy where she was, she started crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said that Sarah was gone. I didn’t understand totally, but I started crying too and told her “We need to find her!” She just shook her head and said she was gone somewhere we couldn’t go.
Daddy took her bed apart. He threw away all my drawings with her in them. He took my nametags off all the toys. Sometimes I’d find one he’d missed and it’d make me cry. I started collecting them and hiding them, but he found where I hid them one day by accident and got really mad. We weren’t allowed to talk about her. It was like she never existed. I didn’t think it was fair. I told Mommy that Daddy was mean to make us not talk about Sarah, but she said it was better that way and I would understand when I was older.
I saw Sarah again.
It was just one time, but I’ll never forget it. I was with Mommy doing some errands. We went grocery shopping then went to a fabric store in Thorntown so Mommy could look at material to make some new curtains out of. She remembered that she had letters to mail, so we stopped at the post office to buy some stamps. I was humming to myself and reading posters while Mommy talked to the lady behind the counter and that’s when I saw Sarah. She was as cute as I remembered. I walked over and looked at the poster with her picture, but they’d gotten her name wrong. Somebody had written her name down as Shannon.
I rushed over to Mommy and tugged on her sleeve and told her that Sarah was up on the wall with the other pictures of children, but she got all flustered and apologized to the lady before dragging me out of the post office. I had to shout because she kept trying to talk over me instead of listening.
“I saw Sarah! They got her picture on the wall in there!”
Finally Mommy slapped me and told me it wasn’t Sarah and that it may have looked like Sarah but I was mistaken and if I didn’t stop I’d get in real trouble with Daddy when he got home. I cried and promised to be good, but even after I promised I wasn’t allowed to have dinner and had to sit in my room that night. I heard Mommy and Daddy talking in the kitchen and they got kinda loud. Somebody started banging open the kitchen drawers and then Daddy’s feet stomped up the stairs but I heard Mommy scream “Don’t you dare!” and he stopped outside my room then went back downstairs.
We never went back to that post office and I never saw Sarah again. This is the first time I’ve talked about Sarah since that day.