Just Come Back

The heavy door slammed shut, and I knew I was too late.

I didn't care. Even though I knew she was already gone, I couldn't stop myself from rushing out into the cold rain. "Katie!" I shouted. Luckily, I had made it in time.

She turned to face me, her green eyes flaring while her hair whipped violently in the harsh wind. "You don't have to do this," I pleaded.

"It's already been done." Her voice was as hard as steel and as cold as the freezing rain piercing my skin.

My hair blew around my head, not able to remain stationary for a second.

"Just come back."

"Who's going to make me?" She grimaced unpleasantly. "You or our two parents inside? Mom, who threw that glass on the ground, shattering it into a million pieces when Dad backed into a telephone pole last month, or Dad, who is all ready to pack his things and bolt out through that door?" She jut an angry finger behind the spot where I stood. "You're a fool for thinking you'd be better off here when your own parents can't stop bickering in there!"

I was too frozen to speak. My fingers were numbing from the chilly air and my hair was damp from the rain. "What're you going to do about it?" I made myself question.

"I'm leaving." She held up a bag I hadn't noticed before. It was torn and beaten, its seams coming undone. "I'm running away, running away from here."

She turned on her heel and headed away from me, her sneakered feet slapping the wet ground as she moved toward the street. Her bag was snagged on a branch, tearing the seams apart, the contents spilling out onto the wet pavement.

Flustered but still defiant, my sister reached down to grab her things from the puddles on the ground, but not before I caught a glance at what lay beneath her fingers.

I easily recognized our parents' stationery – it was the kind Mom would use to send us letters when we were away at camp. Seeing this weakness in her, I took my chance.

"They're going to miss you, you know," my quiet voice told the damp air. She looked up at me, surprised at my words. "And I don't think it'll be easy for you without them, either."

"How would you know whose those are?" she questioned, shoving the dripping envelopes back into her ripped bag.

"Those are their letters, aren't they?" I pressed, ignoring her. "You know you'll miss them if you leave."

"Shut up!" Her voice split through the icy air as the rain continued to pour. "You don't know what I'm feeling."

Even if we were twins, everyone knows we couldn't read each other's minds. But, altogether, I could at least relate to what she was feeling. She just didn't like the bickering, and she thought extracting herself from the equation would help.

"Just come back."

My sister looked down, thinking. She shook her head, frustrated. "I… I don't know. I don't know anymore." But her voice wasn't as hard as steel anymore. It was more like the last words of a man being strangled. They were choked, desperate. When she looked up at me again, I couldn't mistake the tears running marathons down her cheeks for rain.

"It's okay," I assured her gently. "It's okay. You belong here. You belong in our family."

My sister never really had a great abundance of friends. I was the closest friend she'd ever known.

She took a cautious step toward me, the way someone would approach something large and out of control. She hugged her bag to her chest, trying to hold it together.

Then, my real sister broke free. She ran up to me, shoving her head into my shoulder and letting the tears overflow. I could tell she wanted to say something, but if she didn't think she could, I wouldn't press her too hard anymore. I wrapped my arms around her skinny frame, letting her know that if she was sorry, she was now forgiven. "Shh, shh," I tried to calm her, but it had no effect. It didn't matter, as long as our family could be all together as one, untied by nothing but raw love.