On June 5th my sister Marla called “It’s been four years today, are you okay?”
“You don’t have to remind me Marla, I already laid flowers on her headstone.”
Since my wife died Marla was always concerned for me, that I was managing without my spouse. For the first few months I was depressed, devastated and didn’t give a rotten fuck about anything. Marla helped me though the hardest six months I had ever lived. Then just two years after that her husband was killed in a work accident so I started consoling her. We talk to each other, rely on each other, offering support to keep the other from going into a funk.
Ever since childhood Marla and I have been close. Now as seniors we have a sibling bond nearer to friend and confidant than brother and sister. We are both very close to our sons and daughters but they now have lives and families of their own so with the children grown and gone, my sister and I gravitated to each other to ward off complete isolation.
“Can you meet me Asters for lunch, your treat?”
She was upbeat, smiling and talking my ears off about a weekend with her daughter and two grand kids. “I wish Chuck could see Angie now, she was the stars in his sky before he died, now she would be the universe.” She continued sadly, “That little girl would be wrapped around his heart.”
Marla sat quiet long enough for me to say, “Hey, this is my anniversary, you don’t get to use it for your own downer.”
My sister shook off her melancholy then sipped some wine, “I hate being alone, my house is too big and empty. I want to sell it.”
“Wow, that’s a big decision, where would you move to? Are going to look for some guy on a senior dating site? Lonely widow will share living space with lonely widower?”
Marla was quiet for several long moments then asked softly, “Would you offer to let me move in with you? I mean you have that big house and much of it is closed off right now. And yes, I guess it would be a lonely widow looking to share living space with a lonely widower.”
I don’t know how she expected me to react to the question but I’m sure quiet reflection didn’t top the list. I sat back and looked long at my sister while my mind churned. I wasn’t shocked, scared, wary, upset, nervous or even surprised. I felt no more reaction than if she had asked to borrow my truck to haul something. After watching her face, evaluating her question, I replied “Do you need an immediate answer or can I finish lunch before committing my future to my sister?”
Marla visibly relaxed her posture, smiled, then answered, “Sure, it took me two months to get the balls to ask, I guess you can have a few minutes to decide.”
I called her the next day, “Do Sharon and Missy know what you asked me?” I started. “Would they be okay if you moved in with their uncle?”
“Missy is a little puzzled as to why you rather than find another man but Sharon asked if I wanted her to ask you. She thinks it would be good for both of us but thought I might be to timid to ask.”
“Well, before I make any kind of deal with you I’d better talk to my kids.”
“Does that mean I should put my house on the market?”
“No, it means I want to talk to my family before I decide how much rent to charge you. I’ll call you back by Friday.”
It took two weeks for my sister and I to reach an arrangement that we and our families were comfortable with. After that she and her daughters spent weeks sorting, selecting and selling or donating furniture and possessions. It took me a couple of months to prepare living space for Marla. Fortunately my house was large enough to split, almost like two full apartments centered around one kitchen. My son and I painted, repaired and replaced flooring to my sisters standards and wishes. When moving day arrived she didn’t overload her space with ‘cherished’ minutia, she brought only her most loved memories. Her two daughters got to pick and choose from everything else then the leftovers went to Goodwill.
It didn’t take long for my sister and I to assume domestic roles. She became my surrogate wife, me her surrogate husband. She fell quickly into homemaker mode while I became the provider. The assumption of those roles wasn’t conscience or purposeful, it just a natural adjustment to living with someone again. We quickly got used to the new living arrangements; to someone who didn’t know us we could have been a long married couple. The most major adjustment we had to make was what to watch on TV together.
Four months after she moved in she asked me during breakfast, “How many laptops to you have?”
“Well, mine died an ugly death, I can’t get it to do anything but stare at me with a black screen. My computer guy says it’s fried. I’ll buy another but he doesn’t have the one I want right now, it’s on back-order. Can I borrow one?”
“So you can kill it too?”
My sister snuffled a laugh “I hope not, I just need to use it until my new one comes. Whatcha got?”
“I’ve an old Dell I don’t use very often, you’re welcome to it. It’s kind of slow and still has Vista on it but it’s functional.”
About two weeks after I gave Marla my spare laptop she cornered me, “We need to talk.”
She sat next to me on the sofa then reached into a computer bag and pulled out my laptop. She set it up on the coffee table so we could both see the monitor then turned it on. It took maybe 45 seconds for the desktop to come up. I was curious but didn’t ask what she was doing, I knew I would find out shortly.
“I have to ask you something.” She opened the start button, started my document processor then clicked open a file. I knew immediately what was on her mind, what her questions would be. I was looking at something I had written several years earlier; a story. A story she was never supposed to find. My heart fluttered with angst when I looked into my sister’s eyes. She said “What the hell is this, and this isn’t the only one.”
I’d forgotten to set the hidden properties of my files before I gave her the laptop and now she was showing me that she had found the folders with over a hundred sexual orientated stories I had written over several years. She was not waiting my explanation, “Did you write these or did you copy them from somewhere?”
No sense in hiding the truth, at 58 she was old enough to know the facts of life. “I wrote them, all of them. I sometimes just sat and let my thoughts go and these are what I came up with.”
Marla sat back and studied my face for several long seconds, “This is a little surprising. I mean the writing is not bad but the topics are pretty gross, not all, but some.”
“You read them, how many?”
She looked at me with accusation in her eyes, “Once I got over the shock, I read a lot of them, maybe half.” I wanted to grab my computer and flee from my sister and what I imagined she was going to say to me. I wanted to, but it was too late so I sat and waited for the storm to begin. “I know for sure some of this is pure fantastical bullshit but are they all? Is any of this about your own under the blanket adventures?”
“I changed names but some are real life, some are fiction.”
“Not fiction, fantasies”
“Is there a difference?”
“Fiction is something plausible but made up, fantasy is more like a dream or desire for something that can’t or won’t happen.” Marla paused, “Those stories about you and me are pure fantasy. How in hell could you even write things like that? I would never fuck you, not even in my nightmares and you should know that, I slapped you down to many times.”
As we were growing through puberty my sister turned from a unisex stick figure into an alluring young woman and as my balls got hairier I approached her several times to experiment with me, to play around and have sex. I was a horny beginner and girls scared the crap out of me but Marla was always near and for some reason making passes at her didn’t scare me. I persisted over three years, she rejected me every time. “They’re just stories Marla, they don’t mean anything.”
She countered sharply, “Don’t tell me they don’t mean anything; to me they mean you still want to get me into the sack. I have to tell you Carl, this is a little unsettling, especially at our age. Are you still writing, do you let other people read them? Do your friends think you and I screwed all the way through high school?”
“Those are old, I haven’t done a story in maybe ten years.” Our coffee sat on the table untouched, cooling as my sister heated up.
“But you kept them, do you still read them?” I shook my head, I hadn’t even thought about my story file since long before Kathleen died. “I deleted your sister fuck stories, all except this one because I wanted to show you what I found, now this one goes too. She closed the file, then with a couple more key strokes deleted my story about her and me doing it while she talked to her boyfriend on the phone. She closed the lid then pushed my laptop to me, “I bought another, keep this piece of crap” she declared angrily then left the room.
I sat abashed, my day was shot, I couldn’t think of anything except how ruined my relationship with my only sibling was now. She had found my stories about her and me fucking and was so disgusted she disowned me.
.... There is more of this story ...