Sometimes I’ll make you a sandwich, and you’ll shy away from it like a scared rabbit.
It doesn’t matter really, in the grand scheme of things, but then it does. Of course it does. You’ve eaten already, you made some tomato soup for yourself a couple hours ago and I nod along because I know you’re lying but I also know that there’s nothing I can say that won’t result in you pulling back, put distance between us to keep yourself safe, even if you don’t realise it.
You don’t know why you’re lying, and I know all too well, but you’re just relieved that I didn’t press you, and I feel an icy jab in my heart for letting you get away with it.
It happens only a couple of times, when you feel at your lowest. Not at your weakest, god, no, you could never be weak. You’re so many things, Coco Tanberry; wild and sweet and kind and daring; loud and funny and strong. Never weak.
But sometimes. Well, maybe someone made a rude comment at school, or maybe you feel like you haven’t done enough to help out and you feel guilty. Or maybe you’ve looked at me and simply wondered
And I want to scream at the thought, but I also know that it’s a very real possibility no matter how much I hate it, know that I was your perfect big sister, your shining example and I let you down and maybe you want to know why, how I could have let this happen; what it was like to fall so spectacularly. You’ve always been curious, after all.
Maybe it’s a combination of everything going on in that head of yours, and it just gets too overwhelming now and again. Always thinking, always moving, never slowing down. You’re always operating at top speed- it must take a toll.
I watch you carefully, anxious; it would probably be creepy if either of us were anyone else, but it’s not and we’re not because I’m Summer and you’re Coco, my funny little sister who I want to hug and hold tight against me for the rest of time.
I watch as you fall apart, just a little. Only enough for me to notice- because I can see it, see you struggle clear as day. I couldn’t when it was happening to me, but now that I know it’s so, so obvious. Maybe not to Skye or Cherry or Mum or Paddy, and definitely not Honey, halfway across the world, but- they’re there, definitely, and I wonder if you can see it too.
Because every once in a while, I catch you- trapped under the same paralysing fear that used to take over me, still does, every time I look at a cupcake or a full plate of food or any of Paddy’s cute little boxes of chocolate.
Because every once in a while I see the fear in your eyes, a mirror image of mine, and I know that it’s not all in my head. That I’m not making it up, projecting my own experience onto you or whatever. It’s real, and it’s there, and it’s terrifying.
And I think, “Please, please, please- not you too.”
But then the moment passes and your eyes clear, and you take a bite of whatever it was that had you so scared. And, god, you’re so brave and strong and I hope you never fall, not fully, not as completely as I did, into these ice cold waters that I’m still trying so desperately to claw my way out of.