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I don't think I will forget my sister's face as long as I live. I know it from every angle, maybe even better than I know my own, but there is one way I remember it best. It was springtime and she took me out on a picnic in Deer Run Park. That day lives bright in my memory, brighter even then the sun in my eyes as we drove there. I had forgotten my sunglasses, which Elise chastised me for.
"It's terrible for your eyes, you'll be blind by the time you're my age!"
I smiled, happy only that she cared enough to scold me.
The trees seemed taller that day. The light breeze shifted my hair about, tickling my shoulders. I remember Elise brushing a lock out of my face and smiling with a smile wider than the ocean. She never smiled unless she meant it.
I helped her lay out the picnic blanket safe in the shade of a broad oak tree. The light filtered through the leaves and made a dappled pattern on the blanket, and the shadows danced when the breeze ruffled its way through the branches. We set out the plastic plates and silverware like it was Sunday Brunch, and she doled out a sandwich each, along some egg salad and vinegar chips. She had made the lemonade herself from scratch.
I like to live through the whole memory, but the part that I like best is when she finished pouring the lemonade into the clear plastic cups, leaned forward so her face was close to mine, and said, "Cassie, let's watch the clouds."
The sun lit up her round face and glinted off the yellow in her hair. Her eyes were squinted, whether with mischief or in defense against the sun I've never been sure, and laugh lines spread from their corners.
We did watch the clouds, pointing out the shapes we saw and creating their stories, but mostly I just remember how she looked at me like I might have hope of someday being as perfect and brilliant as her.
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