I am playing the girl. The older sister is played by a bad actress. I watch it in the theatre of my inner eye, kicking back, plucking Junior Mints from a long box, holding them in my mouth until they die on my tongue.
It isn't what she says, but how she says it. Her lips move off screen when she says she wishes she weren't born. One by one, her threats begin to bunch like beads on thread -- along with her boyfriends who never stay.
The title I like is "The Escape". I don't know how to say this in French.
Foreign Accent Syndrome
At the dog park, I saw her walking her mother's Yorkie. I hadn't seen her in over a year. I had always admired her eyebrows, simple even roads on her face. Her lips turned down, even when we were kids, waiting for lemons.
She told me about her foreign accent, and not sleeping for three years. These things add up, leave their mark, she said, in an accent that sounded like fake British.
Everyone knew the head injury from the car accident nearly killed her. She'd been thrown -- they found her nearby. There was a name for what she had. She said the neurologist explained it so well, Foreign Accent Syndrome. Most people thought she was a bitch as soon as she said hello.
Would you like to come over later and hang out? I asked. I had nothing planned.
She seemed pleased, wrote down my phone number and address.
I'm not very modern, I'm afraid, she said.
Her fancy sounding accent whizzed overhead like a dragonfly -- harmless, colorful. When she smiled, her lips changed direction, charged up her cheeks.
Later, she arrived on her brother's old moped wearing wasabi green clogs and a backpack carrying all she couldn't hold: Slippers, backgammon board, tea bags, a dainty spoon for stir.
I never lose, I told her after the first game. She cried. I made tea with honey, she put on her slippers. I put on mine.