By Renko Doremi Rodenburg
I have a sister. My mother cannot see my sister, or at least pretends she cannot. It hurts her.
Sometimes at night, I am somewhere else. I try to tell her, but she pretends not to listen. Later she brings it up in public. They laugh. The child is sick. It’s funny.
At night, I am like a painting. I am watched from afar, a blot of colours on a canvas creating a sensation that is ‘me’.
Mother does not understand the sensations. “This day is green,” I tell her about Wednesday. “This tastes like going to the swimming pool.”
She tells me to stop pretending to have ‘synesthesia’. I don’t understand the word. She tells me it’s a poor attempt at being interesting. That I should stop trying to make her look bad.
At night I become a painting. A blot of sensations in a fluid world. Things change. Things aren’t consistent. But they are. Some things never change.
At night I am somewhere else. There’s a woman there, who tells me to play nice with my sister.
“Be nice to her,” she says. She sits in a chair and has no shape. Later she’ll have a shape- She’ll be reminiscent of a cartoon witch in my memories- but right now she has no shape.
“Do you want to go to the town?” My sister asks. I agree.
“We’ll be back before dark, Marion,” my sister says. I wonder who Marion is.
The house is next to a river, and sometimes it has a waterwheel. If I squint, I can see it turn in the slow stream of the brook.
“Let’s go eat cake,” my sister says.
“What kind?” I ask.
My favorite. My favorite flavor is strawberry, mother tells me. My favorite ice cream is pistacho, mother tells me. My favorite colour is blue.
My favorite colour is purple.
The town is an ever-changing impressionist cityscape called Luson. A giant tower reaches to the moon from it’s centre. The lights shade and flicker, reminiscent of LSD.
I’ve never had LSD. I’m a child. But the child is ill.
There’s a river with swans in it. It reminds me of home. The cafe next to it has a terrasse that’s slightly below street level, near the river. The green of the water shimmers like sapphire and emerald in the sun, and the white blobs reminiscent of waterbirds give the impression of life and youth.
“Two schwarzwälder kirchetorte,” Melinda orders. Melinda is my sister.
I have another sister, I realize. Mother loves my other sister. But she hates this sister.
“That’s my favorite?” I ask.
“It will be. After you die.”
Sister usually says things like that. The sister mother hates. Melinda. Not Mary. Mother loves Mary.
We eat. It’s a strange cake. It has no sugar, but it has some dark and bitter chocolate. It has cherries in it too, sparsely. Not too sweet. I can’t imagine liking this. It’s my favorite.
“Do you want to play by the river, with the rocks?”
“Sure,” I say. Mother wouldn’t like it. Mother isn’t here.
We toss tiny blots of green and grey into the river. Some waterfowl become doves and fly into the ever-changing sky.
We walk home. It’s almost night, which means it’s almost morning. Tomorrow I have to go to school, without my sister. My other sister will be there, and mother will love her. I’ll play a video game and I will not pay attention to the world around me. I’m slowly fading away, but that’s okay.
I hope my sister will be able to share cake with the me who is me after I die. I hope I’ll reminisce, have an anamnesic memory of Marion, and fill in the blanks with new impressions.