subject line: to my little sister.


abington, massachussetts

Dear Sookie,

Ever since it happened to you, I can’t stop thinking. I can’t control my body like I used to; sometimes I shudder involuntarily, sometimes I yell “FUCK FUCK FUCK,” which sounds very strange coming out of my mouth.

I feel that, when I told close friends about what happened to you, they backed away. If you had been beaten up, or diagnosed with a disease, or died, I feel that people would have drawn closer. People would have been supportive, and angry, and all of the things I wanted them to be, things that were and probably are very unfair to ask of people, even good friends. I think, basically, I wanted others to feel the radical injustice of what happened, to want to fix it, to be completely outraged that such a thing could happen to such a beautiful and perfect girl.

But because you were raped. Because you were drugged, kidnapped, and raped. People back away. It is strange to discuss it. Why is it strange? People make assumptions. You were probably drinking. You were probably drunk. You were probably wearing a short dress. If you hadn’t of been there, it wouldn’t of happened. If you had done something differently, you would be okay, and thus and thus and thus this is your fault.

Which it isn’t.

I wasn’t there. But I know about you. I know the you that was little, who zoomed around the office in her tiny purple electric car. You with brown bouncy curls and a thoughtful gaze. You who I hit on the leg, when your strong will baffled my young mind. I am sorry for hitting you. [I know we never talked about it, and I know that siblings hit eachother, but I shouldn’t have ever hit you, even if we were both little children, because I was bigger, and I should have protected you].

I know about the you, the you who only drank water. I know why you only drink water, why I am the same way. I know the you in the flannel long-sleeve shirt and blue jeans, held in the arms of a faceless rapistdestroyeranimalnothing as your long hair hangs down. I see your cowboy boots and cell phone lying on the library floor. I hear your friends pounding on the door, but it is too late. I see your unconscious, peaceful face. I see what he does to you. I see it and can’t forget it and it doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense.

I think that I am experiencing the feeling we discussed. The feeling when you thought you understood the meaning of your favorite song, but you read an artist commentary and realize you had it all wrong. I feel that way with you. I may have had you all wrong. I thought that you were the most stubborn girl in the world, the most vigilant and justice hungry creature of your generation. But since it happened to you, I realize that I don’t understand you half as much as I thought I did. I realize that, ultimately, I don’t understand the world as well as I thought, either. If rape can silence the loudest, bravest girl I know, then it is a terrible evil that I hope to never understand.

I love you. I wish you would talk to me about this, but I understand that I cannot understand this part of you.