Just to clear up some malicious rumors, I want to first say this: I never thought my father killed my sister. I’m not like my mom, thinking she could walk in any moment, right as rain. I didn’t think she had just wandered off into the backwoods and miraculously survived by scavenging for berries and roots. She couldn’t build a fire, let alone a lean-to. We opted out of all the camping badges in scouts, and never made it to Brownie. She was only 13. She either died in those woods or someone took her, and after everything about my dad came out, I wasn’t sure which was worse.
My father killed a lot of girls. But my sister wasn’t one of them.
I know a girl like me needs to focus on reality. You don’t grow up one of the only biracial kids in a Midwest suburb thinking you’re gonna hit it big. Never mind Prom Queen--I couldn’t even get a date to junior prom. You just work hard to get decent grades, apply to every scholarship you find, and hope you can maybe get from lower middle class to upper middle class someday. Though I’d settle for middle-middle class too.
I didn’t grow up thinking my father was capable of murder. When we screamed he’d kill spiders for us, but he mostly let them loose outside.
When my sister disappeared, we hoped against hope. Mom filed reports, and dad would go out at all hours looking for her. I think he was looking for her. A lot of your life gets rewritten when the facts come out--business trips, missed birthdays, every moment alone becomes a moment in question. We couldn’t have known.
After the first 48 hours, hope lessens. There’s still some hidden part that thinks she’ll walk in and say “I couldn’t see without my glasses!” or “I missed you guys!” After a week or two or five though, I couldn’t let false hope grow.
My sister must be dead, but my father couldn’t have killed her.
So this is how I lived my life after she was gone: I went to school and got good grades. I didn’t get a date to junior prom. I made dinner when my mom couldn’t get out of bed, and ate with my dad until he had to go out again. He went out a lot back then, even more than before. My mother lied in bed for hours, face down. I left food in her room. And I studied. And I slept. And I got good grades.
My sister wasn’t coming back. She must have died. My father didn’t kill her. They took him in, almost a year later, after they started finding all the girls. When we were little, my parents wouldn’t let us go out when the sun started to set because of all those missing girls. When you live with the monster sending taunting letters to the police, though, I think you might be the safest. My dad was a good dad and a terrible man. She must have died but he didn’t kill her.
My sister died, so who was this girl staring at me from across the table going by her name?