If You’d Been Finished, Grace

I think I would have let you wear my favorite sweater — the soft one with sea green blossoms on the front — though sometimes I wonder whether we would have even had separate wardrobes, growing up. We might have fought over shoes and jewelry when I moved away. You know he and I never fought about the money, but they say it’s different with girls.

He and I shared everything but clothes (except for the hand-me-down pajamas he wore until he got too big — the pink ones with little red flowers. He didn’t have the hang-ups most little boys have so Mama had them for him). Barbies and Hot Wheels lived in harmony on the Big Room floor. Who would he have played with if our two curly heads had leaned together close in a way that three heads couldn’t? Round eyes, shining brown, watching from behind the bars of a painted crib, tiny fingers curling, alone

But that’s me getting mixed up— it’s us who would have been alone.

Because if Mama had finished you, right about now you’d be wearing my favorite sweater — the soft one with the sea green blossoms on the front — and I’d be wondering what I might have done for a little brother.

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