Your words are cyclical. You keep tripping over your tongue and yourself. I can hear the slurs and the grunting. Your teeth are chattering and you keep telling me how cold you are.
“You shouldn’t be outside, bud. It’s freezing out there.”
I want to be relieved you picked up the phone. I tell myself I should be, that any sister would be. I keep distracting you with words, meaningless babble you won’t remember past the booze.
“I…I don’t even kn-know what to say t-to you. I haven’t kn-known what to say to you for a l-long time.”
More words. I don’t remember what they are the moment they leave my lips. I’m hurling them through the receiver, using hints and clues to tell the cops where you are. Downtown, somewhere. You’re not wearing gloves. You could get frostbite in this weather.
“I n-need to hang up and c-call my f-friends.”
What friends, I want to ask. The ones that feed your addiction? The ones that got you the weed you smoked? All those chemicals volleying around in your brain are about to pitch you over a bridge, boy. Or maybe they’ve just loosened your long-bitten tongue to honesty.
“Y-you’ve always been the responsible one. Y-you were right. I sh-should just d-drown.”
And that’s it, isn’t it? I can’t say I’m surprised, really. You’re standing on the precipice and now you’re cutting the belay line. You want to make me bleed before you go. Drive the dagger in, up, and out. Eviscerate me and leave me cut wide with my guts on the ground.
After all these years of pushing me away, you’ve come to blame me for the distance. All the lying to get what you want, all the scheming and charming your way out of consequences.
There’s no one to scheme now. No more people to lie to.
Standing in that place, you want to leave me with the guilt so you can go free. You’ll let me be your scapegoat. Your ghost will grin as your family is ripped apart with finger-pointing.
“I-I’ve gotta go n-now.”
I will not bear your cross for you.
I will not.
“Stay on the line, bud. Don’t hang up. I love you.”
Fuck you for that.