I'm putting together a group of stories about my youngest sister.
Not sure how to end this. I just did it, and would like help getting to the bones of it, finding the ending, making it better in any way!
Is it too much 'telling' and not enough 'showing'?
Anyone feel like joining me and Sue next week for a shoppping trip? You won't be bored!
I race down Nantasket Ave, heart pumping, legs burning. Cars whiz past just a foot from the curb. My eyes dart and search.
There! Just ahead! A woman holds her front door open, panic and confusion clear on her face.
I hate this part. Of all the stuff I ever have to do, this is my least favorite thing. But every minute that passes is another minute that disater can strike. I plunge ahead.
"Sorry!" I mutter, loud enough to be heard, soft enough to show my embarrassment. This is one of the worst. There is a small community of old-world Italian families in town; the kind that send to Italy for their brides. This woman, who has lived in town at least 20 years, speaks almost no English.
Without a word of welcome, I run through her front door, through her living room. A man stands in the kitchen, holding a glass of beer, a surprised look plastered on his face. Since he's staring at me,
I know to run the other way, down the hallway, peeking in each bedroom as I go.
In the last bedroom, a woman's shoes lay scattered about the floor. Platforms, spikes, sneakers, sandals, pumps, all in a heap.
That's all I need to see. I continue at break-neck speed, back through the kitchen.
"Sorry!" I yell to the still dumbstruck man. No one ever tries to stop me. No one ever calls the police.
Out the back door, down the stairs. The yard is fenced in. I start for the front gate when I spot a small opening in a corner of the chain-link. Ah-ha!
I can't fit through the space, so I climb over. I'm screaming now. One word, over and over, as I search for another open door, another confused face.
My brothers and sisters have split up. One ran the two blocks to the beach, another the 3 blocks to the bay. Although she swims like a fish, it's srping, the water is about 40 degrees. The other siblings are all searching the neighborhood, banging on doors, checking the other streets. I wish I could alert them to the fact that she's in this direction, but this is in the day before cell phones, I can only run.
Sue isn't trying to make us crazy. She just doesn't think
. She's compulsive. A thought siezes her and she runs with it. Literally.
I met Sue when I was 16 and she was 5. My parents were foster parents for the state, though they usually took teens. Sue was, according to the two
social workers it had taken to bring her to us, (our first missed clue) "possibly a little hyperactive."
In fact, Sue has Cerebral Palsy, severe
hyperactivity with ADD, and has an IQ of under 40, putting her in the severely developmentally disabled range.
But don't try telling her any of that!
As a kid, she took weekly swimming lessons at the 'Y', went to a special gymnastics class, ran in the Special Olympics. Even as an adult she continues to try new things, things she 'can't' do, like take private ballet lessons.
She has a boyfriend. Sometimes they meet at a dance, some evenings they talk on the phone, or have dinner together. Not alone! Sue is never, ever without an able adult to keep her safe and watch over her. She still believes that traffic will stop for her if she steps off the curb. And so far, it always has, but...She also loves to take a walk, and if the staff aren't interested, she'll be happy to go alone.
I never got a haircut or a new sweater that she didn't notice. When my eldest was little, Sue would lay on the floor and let her try and crawl over her. If the baby accidently hurt her, she would call one of us to help her, but wouldn't even roll over, or try to move.
When I was a teen, still chasing her as she fulfilled her shoe fetish, she'd sit on my lap and call me "G-babe". Profoundly deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other, if you turn the radio on, she 'sings' along. The tune and the words don't matter, so long as you sing loud.
If she's lucky enough to be doing that singing in the car, and if the day is pleasant, she rolls her window down and sings to the pedestrians. Ah, and let a man she considers 'cute' walk by!
"Hey, you! Cutie! Here! Look here!" Smooching noises and lots of waving ensue as she tries to catch their eye. "Man! Yoo-hoo! Come 'ere! See sister? Jean! You cute!
Wanna ride? Aww, come on!" It's amazing how long some red lights last.
"He nice, huh? Woo-hoo! Cute, right, Jean? Get coffee? Happy meal?" At least her attention span in short and she's easily distracted.
I saw the insides of all of our neighbors houses. Sometimes they weren't even home! Sue kept us all in shape, active, alert. One time she managed to go over 4 miles, across big streets, through an amusement park, around teh town dump, before a lady found her and called the cops.
And always, when we'd find her, she'd say "Hi! I went out! See shoes?"