by Em Remington
Being an older sister has always been a large portion of my identity. I have two brothers full biological- and a half-sister on my father’s side. For as long as I can remember, I have been a caretaker. Blue eyes, brown eyes and blood is the only thing that has ever made any difference to me in terms of my relationships with my brothers vs the one that I have with my younger sister, Naomi. When sunlight, filtered through decaying sugar maple leaves hits Naomi’s eyes, they turn this gorgeous golden with a taste of cinnamon with sprigs of mint and some juniper berries- tart and tooth-achingly sweet. As she runs across the field to pick up a large, plastic wiffle ball that one of my brothers has tossed into the air, she is giggling. Her laughter doubles when she drops the thing into the grass. Her giggles are the sound of our grandmother’s windchimes, shaped like lighthouses that hang outside of her back door. Shells clinking together against metal bars that create an almost melancholy sort of music. Our shadows cast funny sort of oblong shapes that stretch far beyond us and we contort our little bodies to make life-size puppets. We try to tell stories with our bodies, try to make the others laugh. Naomi loves this, the baby of the group, we are just happy to see her smile. In the distance we see the poisonous Sumac tree that our grandmother forbids us from touching- but it stretches skyward and I can’t help but want to touch its itchy branches to see what would happen. In front of us, each of our siblings faces. I see my father mirrored back in all of us except the little girl with dark hair. She twirls around, there in the grass, like the wind is picking up and threatening to blow her away. My brothers chase after her, their bodies bleeding together against the grass and sky in trails of blonde and light brown hair. My grandmother’s heart aches for us. For how infrequent these moments have become. For the last hour of play that we have together for days, weeks, months. I take my little sister’s hand and she smiles, her warm hand slick with sweat and sticky chocolate ice cream. She pulls me down onto the green and we collapse onto the patchy earth, the grass and dirt cooling our hot skin. The sun has baked our skin, but the approaching twilight has brought along a cool breeze that settles onto us like a damp cloth. It is the only release from the Vermont humidity. As we look up at the sky, we see the trails that airplanes leave behind. We try to imagine what they would see from all the way up there. I close my eyes and inhale the last smells of Summertime. Freshly cut hay and grass. The smell of a fire nearby, the neighbors are preparing a bonfire. I can smell the Earth below me, and my sister’s conditioner against the wind.
Em Remington is a double major in Theatre and Creative Writing at The University of Maine at Farmington. Her short stories, “Shotgun” and “The Butterfly Jar”, have been published in The Road Runner Review and The Oakland Arts Review respectively. When not writing she can be found in the costume shop of Alumni Theatre.