It took a year before I had contact with anyone else aside from my mother or Alice. A sister, to be exact, one of two that I’ve heard words being spoken about from time to time. That is why when I heard a light knocking on the door I had already had some expectations, and though faintly, the lower opening at the bottom of the door left two small sets of shadows—her small feet.
Alice went and opened the door and Lehvie entered wearing a white frilly dress, trimmed in purple-ish red to perfectly match the color of her hair and eyes, though she looked uncomfortable in it. This is formal wear beyond what I’ve been accustomed to wearing myself, none of which have ever been so elegant.
There is no doubt now, that we have the same blood running through our veins unless her colors could so easily be repeated from the common folk in whatever town I am in.
“This way,” said Alice, bowing to the little girl and then holding on to Lehvie’s small hands. This sister of mines is only a few years older than I am.
Once she’s close enough, Lehvie stood a foot away from my cradle. I reached my hand out to hers and she responded by doing the same and finally, our hands met. I looked down at her from my cradle, a comfy bed compensating our difference in height by a slight overwhelming bit, so much so that if I were in my real body, I’d be bending over slightly to greet her a short ‘hello.’
Lehvie looked healthy from a first glance, proved by the pink flush of her cheeks, puffy as it is, so there is doubt also that this is a good family. I can’t but wonder who looks after her if it isn’t my mother, or Alice, one of which is rarely ever seemingly home. Nor would I know if Alice wonders out when I am in deep sleep, or if others come in to find me in that state only to let their eyes wonder over me. There is just too much I don’t know about this place, that it tickles my curiosity to some degree.
“Leh-vie,” I called out her name.
Alice made sure I practiced saying her name until I got it to some resemblance of the word correct. She didn’t call Glinn when I spoke my first word, but I am fine with that.
“Lee,” she called me in return, making a nickname from out of thin air.
I grabbed her finger, covering it completely with most of my hand from the difference in size and began to shake them together. My sister smiled and the meeting doesn’t go farther than a physical hand shake. Instead, Lehvie goes off into a corner where Alice soon had set up a small table, followed by some plush toys of animals which I couldn’t make a guess of their species.
Then my eyes caught their attention. Stitched on the edges around the plush animals, likely made by hand but still well crafted to trick my eyes momentarily. One is shaped like a bear, a standard in plush toys except its ears were a deep red color, dark brown fur and a strangely fluffed up tail. The maker must have had a wild imagination.
When I think about it, wearing such formal looking clothing would likely rule out the possibility of living far from some sort of civilization. Probably. Along with a mother who likes wearing a thin dress that falls over to her feet, I’d imagine that she wants to present herself well for some sort of audience. It only serves to peak my interest, and yet all I can do is keep that desire to know to myself. Not to mention it adds to the strange feeling of living in this home.
“Here, young miss,” said Alice, handing Lehvie tea cups.
Lehvie took the cupts and continued playing with her stuffed toys, handing them tea filled cups. Luke warm from the looks of it, as Alice would not likely hand Lehvie anything of higher temperature. The day has turned more into a play date than anything else, one that I’m not physically involved in. It is a change of scenery that I’ve perhaps longed for in the time since the the first month. Soon, I hope, I’d like to be able to speak properly, intentionally, and without any barriers keeping me from speaking my mind. Lehvie can prove to be an extension if I can get her to speak to me often enough so that conversation between anyone including my self will seem natural. That is to say, without the need to ‘act.’
* * *
Alice proceeded to having me removed from the cradle and had me sit on her lap, changing my shirt in the mean time and using a damp towel to clean my face, hands and feet, in that order. She bathed me earlier, but it’s already evening, not even half an hour ago I met for the first time with Lehvie.
The next thing Alice does is have me placed on the floor and lets me walk. Balancing myself carefully, I used the cradle to the left of me as support. Steadily hanging on to the wood frame, I walk to Lehvie, trying not to fall miserably with my weak knees. Alice followed closely behind by the looks of her shadow that I look to the ground as I walk. A moment later however, I fall on my behind making a soft thud sound as I hit the floor. It doesn’t hurt as much as it would if I were much taller, closer to my real height than this.
I eventually made my way to Lehvie and sat opposite to her. Alice then placed a candle in the middle of the table as it started growing dark outside. Lehvie looked at the tip of the candle, a fire’s warmth that was too small to be felt just a few feet away. There was no air the room to have shook the fire in a dance as it did left and right repeatedly.
“..Eh?” I kept looking at it. Then I noticed Lehvie in the fire’s background and she was happily swaying her head in the same dance.
“Lee!” she yelled in that small voice of hers, startling me in the process.
I looked at her and saw that she had her arms up, holding that bear again with the deep red colored ears. I took the bear placed it around my arms and on my lap. She smiled. Then i noticed the candle’s fire calm down and not move an inch. I must be imagining things..
* * *
The week followed that same routine with my sister Lehvie visiting everyday and playing with her plus toys off in the corner of the room. She has got to be getting bored of doing the same thing again and again. And I can’t help but wonder what she does before and after she’s doing playing in my room.
Another week followed but this had stopped coming for a few days in succession. Lehvie usually came and went, either early in the mornings or late in the afternoons. She finally returned after her absence and I walked to Lehvie, again with some difficulty, who continued serving her plus toys a bit of tea with the number of tea cups in creasing as did her plus toys.
“Lehvie,” I called to her, she returned the glance up to me by the time I got close enough to grab her shoulder for support.
“Yes?” She answered in a soft and gentle tone, and stops moving the tea cups around the table, having already served two of our plushed guests.
Lehvie is really like a stranger’s child to me, though it feels like that, it doesn’t mean I dislike her for it. When Alice tells her to do something, Lehvie obeys. Quickly, and without hesitation. However, Lehvie can be really forceful if she doesn’t get her way. Like the other day, Lehvie came to my room, more stuffed toys in her arms and Alice warned not to bring too many inside the room. Lehvie wanted me to play with the new ones she brought, and I can tell she takes very much care for them. Not a tear or cut, not even a scent of dirt or dark stains cover any of her stuffed toys. It seemed fine for me to play with them, but Alice thought differently. Alice explained that having all these toys and plushies in this room wasn’t something Levi should do.
Regardless, Lehvie kept bringing them in mass everyday until Alice gave up and made a compromise with someone barely a fifth her age. Despite that, Lehvie is well behaved and I made sure to be careful playing with the toys so that Alice would not worry.
“…” I silently looked to my ‘older’ sister.
Today was different. Lehvie said very little and only responded with a short word or two. Still, using her shoulders for support.
It’s my fault.
Lehvie isn’t my real sibling, but that’s just my own selfishness thinking so, I know that. The other day, as my body commanded, I fell asleep on her stuffed toys. This body isn’t meant to stay awake for long. It was really just a nap, for the length of it.. I dreamed of the usual. For the real sister I’ve been disconnected from, I saw her face and when I got out of that dream suddenly, Lehvie was staring at me. I had pushed her away by accident when I had opened my eyes and awoke from that dream. My real sister has brown hair, nothing like the strange red purple color Lehvie and I have. I don’t recall such an exotic color being distinct from any one nation or country. At some point I thought my short hair was colored intentionally while I slept or wasn’t aware of it. However, there has never been that strange smell that came along with the chemicals used in changing one’s hair color. Glinn has it, too, naturally, and I call it ‘dark red.’ Without certainty, it is most likely a mix of a dark purple, and only seemingly red under the right light. From far enough, it would very much be a black coloring to our eyes.
What color is a dead rose, weeks old and dry? I had pushed Lehvie aside that day and couldn’t help but stare at her hair. I’m sure she was sad that I did push her away, and I didn’t get a chance to apologize. Not that I didn’t want to, but because I’ve yet to hear the words to use as my own. I’m still a one year old, after all. Lehvie left that day and didn’t return until a few days later… until today.
During that time I had gotten lost in thought, in that dream.. Thinking about the past, a dream about how my real sister used to take care of roses that were planted by the side of the foster-care house we used to live in. Then one day a neighbor’s kid cut the roses meant to be gifted to his mother for some reason or other. My sister responded by punching him on his jaw and took the flower back forcibly from his hands. After the small scuffle, she tried planting the damaged roses back in their spot, watering them with what was probably a mix of the sweet nectar of liquids that plants desire and salty tears that were shed from my sister’s eyes.
Naturally, the plants didn’t last. She cried for what was probably hours. It was painful to watch, and it only got worse when I left her there in her room and I went off to apologize to the kid’s mom. I didn’t want to cause trouble for the people taking care of us, and there was no excuse for hitting another’s child. Even if the kid deserved it. Thinking about, however, it probably didn’t even hurt in the first place. On my way to the neighbor’s house, I couldn’t help but think about how differently the situation would have turned out had our parents lived long enough to experience the incident with us. Would they have taken the blame for us? Well it doesn’t matter, it can’t be helped and there is no reason for thinking deeply about something that already occurred.
As I apologized to the kid’s mom, she seemed understanding of the situation and I thanked her afterwards for listening. My sister’s face had dry streaks of tears running down her cheeks. She cried again when she saw me apologizing in her place. Having followed me when I thought she was still mourning her flowers. I should have noticed her trailing behind, but there’s nothing I can do about that anymore. We were later moved again to a different foster-care home. It was about two days after the incident, and we were expected to stay much longer. I was only around eight at the time, but I did hear that the kid’s mom, our neighbor, had dropped by the the foster home the same day of the incident.
* * *
By then I woke up and might have pushed Lehvie away intentionally, knowing that my weak developing body would never be enough to hurt her… physically, all because I didn’t want to believe she had taken the place of someone I used to know.
I sat down by her table and took one of the cups for myself. Lehvie sat next to me from the first day having returned of her absence. I didn’t really see her for who she was at first. I haven’t seen my real sister in over a year and I don’t expect that to become a reality soon, not even in the next decade.
Is someone taking care of her?
There was a long pause.
Lehvie serves me her tea,carefully not to spill any and staying quiet in the meantime. Salty liquids fall from my eyes and into my cup. I cleaned the ones about to fall with the sleeve of my shirt and looked to Lehvie. She might not be my real sister, but to her–I definitely am her younger brother. A strange way of saying things, but still. The one thing I can do to apologize for what happened those few weeks ago is hug her, and so I do.
As of 06/03/2015, this chapter has gone through some revision, as well as added content, added dialogue, and other things.