I'm slowly realizing just how human my sister has become. She's grown up, or I've grown up enough to see her as more than just a little kid. She's a lot like me, but younger and more alone, I fear. I've learned to deal and cope, but a big part of that was sheltering her all her life. She says all she remembers is that something was very, very wrong but she doesn't remember specifics, and even so she knows more about me than anybody in the world. She knows my friends and she knows my life history and she knows what it's like to grow up the way we did. She knows the fear behind forgetting, she shares half my genes and my attachment to the past, she is my sister. She's not a little kid anymore, either, and I can hear in her voice the confusion and pain of adolescence, combined with the lack of dealing that our family has done. She was my doll and my pet, but I'm only now realizing just how real she is. I wish I could get her out of there. I wish I could take care of her like I'm supposed to. Or at least, like I always have. I hear her, and I hear myself in her voice, myself at twelve, confused and sad and positive that I wasn't ever going to do anything right or ever be happy or loved or capable of a normal life. I wish I could make her see that it does get easier, that once the hormone flux calms down and your skin clears up and you find a look and a walk and a way of speaking that you're reasonably comfortable with, it does make the rest of the world easier to deal with. I wish I could make her believe that no matter how different she feels now, no matter how hard it is to believe that anybody has ever felt this way before, part of it really does fade with time. I wish I could get her out of there, but that wouldn't help her. She needs to find her own way, and her own way out. So all I said was that I would take her camping this summer, that I was always here to talk, that I would have her come crash on the couch in my first apartment for a while. That whenever she finds her way, I'll be there any time she needs me to help her get there. She's going to be a marvelous woman someday, I just know it.
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