I’ve seen her naked, legs splayed in the air akimbo as she screamed and pooped at the same time. I remember watching her then, a beautiful annoying baby, but somewhere inside I knew that she was a catalyst that would effect and change the lives of our family in ways that I could not predict.
There was excitement at her arrival. After she was born our father rushed home. It was late in the evening our grandmother was there watching us. My father burst into the house and declared, “It a girl, Margie had a girl.” Then he opened the door and left. In my memory it was just that fast and he was gone. He had driven thirty miles to tell us that in person, then drove back to the hospital. It remains the one time in my life that I remember our father being genuinely happy.
Once she was home, she grew up fast and with as much pretension as her three brothers, but being a girl and the fourth child, there was some leniency in that department. She wasn’t a tomboy, but she was hardened and battle worn against the psychological mind games and general fucking-with that came in a family such as ours. When she stepped out into the world, she would be ready.
There were times that she annoyed and frustrated us to no end, but she was able to express love and joy in ways that no one in our home ever could. It didn’t last of course. She was brilliant ray of sunlight in the midst of our general darkness and we would extinguish it if given half a chance. We had some success with that. Well, we were stronger and we outnumbered her. Over the years I watched her light dim, then shine again, then dim and shine again until one day she found a stage. It was a space where there was nothing to do but shine. The first of these happened to be in front of the stereo in our living room but no matter, it was a stage and so she did indeed shine.
And so it was and it was so. In that place with that little light of hers she let it shine. And it was so very very bright that the first time I saw her on a real stage, it brought tears to my eyes, and does so to this day.
There have been characters that called her to be commanding and frightening and it was at times such as these that I saw the results of our training. Her years as the youngest, in the trenches, arguing, manipulating and fighting for survival as we trampled her spirit as only siblings can. When a character calls for that motivation I am justly frightened, and terrified by the sheer demeaning malevolence that arrives with a rage and fury that remains locked in the confines of this… woman.
I call her sister. Malinda. I never imagined her as a mother though it is something that she has taken too and excelled at and I daresay something that we also prepared her for. Her observation of us boys was a great preparation for raising such a brood. It also shows how much her light has remained and how much she still sines off stage. Her light is reflected in her first. In his smile and the shimmering joy and curiosity that is often shown in his eyes.
It may not have been the easiest of journeys thus far, but a life it has been, continues and is just beginning. I am sad to have not been more present in the past, and now she has stepped up to do it again. This time is… The charm? The end game? The last? Perhaps, but no one can be certain of what the future holds. Lucky for her, all the worlds a stage, and she has but to let her light, shine.