It was Saturday. Claire had been gone for a week. Seven whole days and nights of quiet. Quiet but for Mom crying and the phone ringing, and people bringing food to the door. Food that we would not eat. More than we could ever eat, now that Claire is gone. Dead, not gone. And we three have become two.
Mom held on to my arm tight through the whole thing, like she could not stay upright if I was not there. Or she was afraid I would run.
I wanted to run.
I wanted to tell her, “you are hurting me, you have to let me go. I need to go.” But I didn’t, because I knew it would make her sad. And now that Claire was gone – dead, not gone, I was all Mom had left. So I sat beside her and walked beside her and stood beside her while she clutched at my arm. I counted the minutes, in my head, until she would let me go and I could walk away so no one else would look at me. No one else would see that now I am just Brighton, and Claire is gone. Dead, not gone.
When they poured the dirt on my sister I looked at Mom. In her eyes – where I could see her sadness most. I do not like to do this. She knows I do not like to do this, she knows the sadness makes me uncomfortable. I said, “Mom, I would like to go now. Please, can I go now?”
Mom cried, and let me go. She dropped my arm, and she did not fall down. “Bright! Please, come home soon. Before dark. Please.”
Mom is scared that I will get lost too.
I did not answer her. Or anyone. Many people said my name, but now that Mom has let me go, go I must.
I walked toward home, away from the graves. Away from the hole my sisters box is in. Away from my twin. I walked without looking. I did not stumble.