stories people tell me so that I can write and you can read!
"Hey?" Lori called from the second floor. "Do you have any more packing tape? I just ran out!"
She waited, but her sister didn't answer.
"Jen!" she yelled.
Still there was no response and Lori stood up from the spot where she was kneeling among her sister's sheets and towels and blankets, stacking them all neatly into cardboard boxes to be taped and loaded into the truck in the morning.
She walked to the top of the staircase and paused, ready to yell her sister's name again, but then she thought she heard something.
"Jen?" she questioned. The sound abruptly stopped and then came her sister's soft and garbled reply for her to hang on a minute, but Lori knew.
She knew and so she took quickly to the stairs and when she reached the bottom she saw her sister on her knees in the middle of the living room rug, her head in her hands and pictures all around. Pictures.
"Oh Jen," she said as she joined her sister on the floor amidst so many memories. "I'm sorry."
Her sister tried to respond, but the tears were fast now and they got tangled all around her words so that they were like talking under water, like drowning.
"I didn't know sweetie. I didn't know you were still sad. I thought you were over him."
Jen looked up at her then and she shook her head back and forth and Lori thought she meant no. No, I'm not over him. But she didn't.
"It's not that," Jen managed to say. "I am. I'm over him."
Lori didn't know what to do. She waited and she rubbed her sister's back and she tried to understand.
"I'm over him," Jen repeated. It's loss I'm not over. It's loss."
"Loss?" Lori asked.
Jen took a deep breath in and let it out slowly as her crying became less pronounced, turned to a soft and steady pain that trickled gently down her cheeks.
"Yes. Loss. It just hurts when things end. Even if you wanted the things to end, there's this hurting that happens when it's over."
Lori let out a deep breath she didn't know she was holding and then suddenly she began to look around at all of her sister's things taken off the walls and the shelves and the counters and put into boxes that were stacked on boxes and pushed off to the edges of the room.
She was looking at the end. At all of the loss.
"I understand," she told her sister.
And then they sat. In the middle of the living room rug that she remembered her sister measuring to fit this room exactly, they sat.
Next to the coffee table they'd refinished from their childhood home so that it would fit perfectly in this one, they sat.
Among all of the endings and the hurt and the loss, they just sat.