Three months after my sister Cathy turned sixteen and emo, the snow settled in and stayed, and the school shut down, and the roads shut down, and the jobs shut down, and all of the usual ways we found to avoid each other wore themselves out, and there we were in the house together. I tried to get her to play cards, or board games, or hangman, or would-you-rather, but the, you know, angst was deeper than the snow those days. It freaked my parents out, but I didn’t believe her histrionics for a minute.
Mom and Dad were bitching at each other about who would figure out what to do with the compost—since it was hard to even guess where the compost pile was under all of the snow—and Cathy and I were fighting about the way she’d thrown her crap all over our bedroom. This was a recurring conflict, right up there with my breathing, my chewing, and my having to pee in the night. I told her she really needed to pick up her stuff that day, because it was getting outrageous. She’d even started leaving things on my bed. I wanted Mom to see it, but while I was getting her, Cathy locked herself in.
Mom demanded that she come out, and then Dad demanded that she come out. Cathy kept answering, but not about the specific things they were saying. It was all irrelevant, unnecessary garbage: “You people never listen to me,” “You don’t care about me,” “You look right past me,” things like that.
Dad went off to look for a tiny screwdriver or something, after yelling at me for losing all of the little keys that open our inside doors when I played that game with my cousin when I was like seven. Mom and I walked away too, because we needed a break from it, and we thought she might come out on her own if we stopped giving her so much attention.
Finally Dad found something that he thought might work, and we all came back, and eventually the door swung open. We were all there to see her hanging from the ceiling fan. She was also—here’s the kicker—sitting on her bed, fuming at us and feeling sorry for herself as usual. A translucent version of her, just like in the fucking movies. She, it, was sitting on her bed, saying things like, “You look right through me.” It could almost be funny, except that I am so very, completely, profoundly pissed off at my sister for killing herself. And for sticking around. I can’t even have the room to myself, even now. She still leaves her shit on my bed.
Originally from West Virginia, Christina Craigo was educated in Pennsylvania and New York. She holds an MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. She currently lives in Colorado, where she works as a contract grant writer for nonprofits and devotes an increasing portion of her time to fiction.