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The sun sank lower. The wheel spokes spun noisily. The bike crashed from under my legs as I reached the front door. I ran as fast as I could to my room and closed the door behind me, carefully and quietly. The sun still blazed through the two west facing windows of my bedroom and I sank to the pale beige carpet interrupted with various stains and clumps of dirt, hair and the odd penny or paperclip.
Sitting on the floor, my legs curled at angles beneath me I felt powerless. Powerless to move, to talk, powerless even to shift my face from out of the blinding glare of the bright yellow sun piercing my eyes.
I remembered a time when I was very young, four or five at the most, when I had broken a lamp. Prancing about, my thoughts in my head while my limbs spun free, I whipped a pale pink lamp from its table. The lightbulb shattered on the floor. The shade bent inward on itself. I stared at the mess for what felt like forever before running across the hall to my room, sliding under the bed and hiding there in wait for the sound of a parents’ footsteps up the stairs and the appearance of shoes striding across the visible plane from under the bed. I waited to hear them. Waited for them to investigate the sound of the crash, or the absence of their first born daughter. But no parent ever came up. After what I thought was an hour passed I slid out from under the bed on my belly, eyes directed at the floor to avoid hitting my head on the frame. I was already too big to easily hide under the small child sized bed. When I finally descended to the kitchen to face their anger I found things completely unchanged. Mom and Dad were making dinner. Lena played in the other room. No one had even heard the crash.
I rose from my place by the door. My feet, like boneless chicken tenders beneath my hips from having sat on them so long struggled to support me. I turned opened the creaking door and walked into the kitchen.
Mom stood, her back turned to the soup on the stove bubbling violently as she talked with Dad. I looked up at them, exactly as I did that night I broke the lamp. I was silent, but tears began to stream down my cheeks, pooling under my chin fast. Dad’s eyes saw. And when his eyes saw, Mom’s turned towards me too.
Their faces registered the fear before I said a word.
“She’s gone.” I said.
Back in my room everything was quiet. The sun sank further, shining in on the shelf across the room. The light sparkled across the glass covered photographs. I sat on the edge of my bed, staring at them all. The pictures stood staring back, except for one. From where I sat the sun glinted on the picture. My sister and I in the middle of the street outside on a cold Christmas day clutching brand new bicycles between our legs stand smiling and giddy. Her eyes wink at me from the sunny photograph.