She’s my good-morning every day, and my night-love-you before I go to bed.
I remember meeting Sherry, Roger’s older sister, in 1992 when we were dating brothers. Her height was enhanced by a little 90’s poof and her smile was warm. The guys aren’t in recent chapters, but Sherry is still in mine.
I remember in the early 90’s we were driving back from Chi chi’s Mexican restaurant during an ice storm. Mini skirts and cowboy boots embraced our tight little bodies, and we laughed while we pushed the small, silver sedan up the dark, slippery hill in Westhampton. We didn’t look at the time.
I remember we yelled at each other in 1995, when I started dating Roger. He was in the marines, stationed in North Carolina. His leave and holidays were always spent with Sherry and that would change. The people in the apartment below used a broomstick or something on their ceiling to break up our boisterous exchange. We laughed and ate pancakes with real syrup the next morning while we shared the funnies.
I remember Sherry standing next to me in December of 1995. We were outside at the gazebo in Easthampton. It was dark and the snow was fresh and white like my rented gown. We joked that the only reason I was marrying her brother was so we could be sisters. I really loved my marine, but this may have been true.
I remember her trying to win a staring contest, the kind when you can’t smile or look away. She’s received the genetic gift of not being very good at it, but it is the most authentic smile I’ve ever seen. Her eyes crinkle, and the left side of her mouth duels the right.
I remember when she came to us one year when we were living in North Carolina. She wanted to start over. She was brave and I was in awe. “Life is hard,” we said.
I remember how excited we were when Madonna came out with her Music CD and we played the shine out of the disk. The speakers crinkled and cracked. We’d drive down Bell Fork Road in Jacksonville, NC. She drove a navy-blue Ford Ranger, and I drove a Candy. Apple. Red . . .mini van.
I remember not being able to use my voice when I saw her through the muggy air in June of 2009. Roger was gone. I don’t remember what she wore or how her blonde curls were shaped, but I remember the trauma in her blue eyes.
I remember sitting across from Sherry while her and Roger’s father was dying, hoping it would end soon, but guilty for feeling that way. We held hands across his thin chest, and played audio of the Boston Red Sox World Series game hoping he could hear it. We commented on his perfect skin and his heart’s purity.
Sherry folds money into little shapes like guitars or swans and sends them to the boys on their birthdays. She listens to me more than I listen to her and is the only one who calls me T-Mae. She tells me when I should have used the word “rode” instead of “road” in my writings. She remembers everything significant like if I have a paper due, and from Tennessee, she checks my weather. She always tells me how strong I am.
I get it from my big sister.