“This is my space,” using the stick to draw the line in the dirt, “and this is your space,” she pointed to the other side. “Don’t even think about coming on my side, or you will be vaporized.” She crossed her arms ready to be challenged. Since Anita was twice my size, I stayed on my own side.
Twenty years later, I still feel the line drawn in the dirt separating Anita and me. I know my sister loves me, but I feel there are spaces in our hearts that have remained unshared.
Anita is a very private person. Asking her to reveal her feelings is taken as an invasion of privacy. So life goes on as if everything in her world is beautiful. I feel like I really don’t know her. I wonder what pain she keeps locked up deep inside.
The phone rang. Startled, I grabbed for the phone before I was fully awake.
“Katie, it’s Bob.” My brother-in-law sounded upset. “Anita’s been in an accident. She’s here at the hospital in a coma.” Bob began to weep.
“I’ll be right there,” hanging up the phone and grabbing my clothes.
Upon entering her room, the one who seemed to have everything in control was on the bed powerless. I don’t recall ever seeing such a peaceful look on her face. The wires attached to monitor her vital signs reminded me of a puppet show. The puppeteer had all the control. The continuing intermittent beeps of the heart monitor communicated our human frailty.
I had to hold her hand and talk to her. Never have I experienced this crossing of Anita’s space. “Anita, it’s Katie. You’re going to be fine. I’m going to stay here with you. You won’t be alone. I love you.” My eyes burned with the tears that began to spill. I so desired a deeper relationship with Anita. Lord, please let us have more time.
Bob came in with some coffee. He looked ragged. I hugged him tightly and told him I would stay if he wanted to get some rest.
Looking unsure what to do, Bob said, “I should check on the baby and take a shower. I’ll be right back. Thank you, Katie.”
How strange it felt to be alone with Anita this way. Holding her hand and speaking words of love and encouragement was something we never did before. I felt so close to her here, yet she was distant in a coma.
Her hand tightened. I looked up to see her eyes trying to open.
“Kate,” she mumbled.
“Yes, I’m here. You’re going to be all right, Anita. You’re safe.”
“Bob?” Her eyes were looking around.
“He went to check on Chelsea. He’ll be right back. Don’t worry about anything.” I pressed the nurse call button. Upon entering, the nurse smiled at Anita and said to her, “Good morning. It’s good to see you awake.” She checked her vital signs, and said she would be right back with the doctor.
I sat back down on the side of her bed and took her hand. Anita smiled and softly said, “I love you, too, Katie.” I crossed over the line into her space, and now we have a space we share together.
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