Journal » Trout 16 » Shot And Staying Shot [Anna Jackson]
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Shot and staying shot

Anna Jackson

My eyes are shut but I'm listening
through the door to my sister
in the kitchen telling my mother
about some test she has done
well in, and then she starts
to expound on a theory
she has worked out about
how there are light people
and heavy people, light
people who buoy everyone up,
and heavy people who weigh
everyone down. I hear
my mother pretending
to take it all seriously,
asking if Dad is a light person
or a heavy person as if
she really wants to know.
Oh, light, of course, my
sister laughs. And Grandma?
She was a light person,
but she had too many heavy
people around her at the end
that is why she died. "And
what am I?" I call out
from the other room, but
I already know the answer,
and it's not because I'm nine
months pregnant. Now,
in the surgery waiting room,
I am reading a magazine
featuring my sister as
its cover story. Her theory
is outlined over several
pages with pictures of her
as a child looking light and radiant,
pictures of me looking dark
and heavy beside her,
captioned with a quotation
from the article about how
she was damaged growing up
with a heavy sister. No one
is going to listen, I tell my
sister, no one is going to believe
this stuff about light people
and heavy people. Yes
they are, she says, they
already do. I ask if she
believes it, if she really thinks
I damaged her childhood,
and I am honestly listening
now, for the first time
in our lives, and I am sorry,
I'm really sorry, and I try
to apologise, I really
try to find the words, but
she has whipped out
a machine gun and she
is waving it around,
telling me I have to die.
People run towards her
across the park, three people
grapple with her, trying
to get the gun, but she
is already shooting. I am
lying down, my face
to the ground, and when
I look up she is on the other
side of the road, covered
in blood. I scramble
to her side. "She's alive!"
someone is shouting,
and I am begging her please
not to die, it is true, I was
a terrible sister, and she
is sobbing no, no, she was
a terrible sister to me, and I
sob back, no, no she was
a perfect sister, and she
says she loves me, and I
say I love her too, and
the ambulance is coming
so we roll her from the road and
there is no blood, no wound.
There's no blood, everyone
is saying, how did she do that?
She laughs and reaches down
into the folds of her dress.
I seize her wrist and grab hold
of the gun, but the bullet
has already lodged in my ribs
before I wake up.


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