The voice of Amanda

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So my sister had a secret.

It seems that some people draw the shit stick in life. My little sister must be one of them.

She was a toddler when our parents divorced, leaving her to see the broken alcoholic shell of the man who used to be Dad.

She sat by her high school boyfriend while his face was stapled up after retrieving a bullet from his head, then watched as he went on trial and eventually to jail for murder.

She suffered migraines for years, plus she had a difficult time eating without feeling ill. She underwent surgery last year to untwist her intestines and continued to live in pain.

She endured an abusive husband who physically and emotionally abused her, though they are thankfully separated right now.

…so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I guess the signs were there- the mishandling of money, stopping work, losing touch with her old friends, lying to family. When I stepped back and thought about it, her behavior was familiar. Much like my ex who overdosed.

I got the call that my sister ended up in the hospital after getting beaten up and robbed by a male acquaintance. He took the last belonging of value she had- her phone- which is the second time in a month that she has had her phone stolen. Probably because she owes money to the guy dealing her heroin.

Yeah. My baby sister somehow ended up on heroin. I feel like I’m writing the words to a book about someone else’s family, someone else’s life.

Being a few states away from her is brutal. I want to take her out of the hell-hole town full of either Christian wanna-be, ex-football hero homeboys or dirty, lying, skinny snakes peddling meth (and heroin I guess). I want to get her in a program as fast as possible…but how do we afford that?! I want to beat the shit out of her stupid husband who no doubt got her started. I want to protect her from ending up a week dead in a dirty, lonely apartment like my ex.

Do you know what the hospital did when she came in? They gave her pamphlets. Pamphlets about getting off heroin. I want to take a survey and see how many people were saved by pamphlets. Pamphlets! Fuck.

I keep flashing back to the adorable gap-toothed kid who scowled as we stole her Monopoly money, the kid who loved to draw, the animal lover, the “shrink dance” she’d do when her big sisters got new clothes she wanted.

I’m afraid I don’t know her. I’m afraid of what to say. I’m afraid I’ll lose her completely.