I stood in the doorway of the chapel hugging my sister who normally shuns physical displays of affection. She had her arms wrapped around my body, inside my coat, and I was letting her hug me while my mother stood looking at us like we were strange.

“I’m sick,” I mumbled in to her shoulder which smelled like a combination of vanilla and fabric softener.

“I have to have knee surgery,” she said in to the hood of my coat.

“We’ll take care of each other.”

“You’re my sister,” she said with a laugh. “Of course I’ll take care of you. But you have to take care of me while I’m recovering from my surgery, and watch tv with me, and make me cookies. I’ll take care of you, and drive you to your doctor’s appointments and make sure you take your medicine, and make you dinner…”

I sighed in to her shoulder. I breathed in the comforting scent of vanilla and fabric softener, and wondered when she’d decided that washing her clothes regularly was important. My sister is so smart, she’s way too wise to just be 18 and here she was volunteering to take care of her sick sister while she could be out partying with her friends. It was overwhelming to me that she would do such a thing and I responded the only way I knew how.

“Your shirt smells good.”

Everyone needs a distraction.


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