Precipice

I wrote this in 2006, around the time my siblings and I were watching Veronica Mars for the first time. The first season of that show details Veronica’s search for her best friend’s killer. And for some ridiculous reason, I thought about it would be like to lose someone that close to me, like my own sister. So I took the sisters on General Hospital that most resemble us (I’m a little bit Georgie, my sister is a bit Maxie without the insanity) and wrote this. It actually pains me that a year later, they actually killed Georgie. I have never forgiven the show for that storyline.

So this story is a little more dark and dismal than my others, and I think it’s because it really does reflect how I feel about my own sister. I still think it’s one of the better pieces I’ve written.


She remembered thinking that the day should have started differently, started with some sort of bang or explosion instead of her alarm clock bursting into song at 7:30 A.M. and she should have been doing something major, something significant when she was told instead of standing behind the counter at Kelly’s, refilling salt canisters and glaring at the back of her soon-to-be ex-husband’s head.

The bell chimed above the door, the double doors swung open and her father stood there. And she knew something awful had happened. Something that put that look onto his face.

And then he spoke and the world stopped.

Life went on afterwards. People went on. They went back to their lives, they kept living, loving, laughing, crying and after a week, after two, it had stopped being the front page news story and it wasn’t mentioned on the evening news.

But she was stuck in that moment, watching over and over again as her strong, wonderful and loving father walked into the diner and told her that her sister had been murdered. That her sister, her other half, her best friend, the bane of her existence and the one person that drove her more insane than anyone else wasn’t living anymore. She was dead, she was gone, she’d been stolen and she was never coming back.

The world kept turning, kept revolving. The sun kept rising and setting and the moon still hung the same way in the sky. But the landscape had changed and it was all wrong and there was something missing.

It wasn’t fair, she kept telling herself. And for a while, she also told herself it wasn’t true. It could never happen, not after losing Jesse. It wasn’t supposed to happen twice in a year, twice in a lifetime.

Her mother stopped. She slept more than she woke, she didn’t eat unless someone put something in front of her. Her father kept working, because that was what he did best. He worked. He worked and he worked and then he worked some more and finally when he passed out, it was on the couch in his office rather than their home. But then he’d wake up and work some more.

She couldn’t understand why people were smiling and how someone could laugh. Couldn’t they feel it? Couldn’t they understand that it was all wrong now? That a piece was missing and now the puzzle would never fit back together?

It was her sister that had been murdered, killed by some stranger on the campus one night before she could return to her dorm. Just stabbed over a twenty dollar bill in her pocket that she’d refused to give up. Twenty dollars and now her sister was gone.

She’d sat through the viewing, watched these people cry, these people who didn’t know her sister, could never know, never understand her, never really value her the way she deserved to be.

No one had ever understood Maxie but she had. Georgie had always understood her sister and always found a way to fix her messes, to keep her safe, to keep her sane and to keep her breathing. She’d understood that her sister didn’t know how to be unselfish and never fully realized that there were other people in the world and that their wants and needs mattered just as much as hers.

Maxie had been selfish, Maxie had been beautiful. Maxie had been a bitch, but she’d been loyal. Maxie was her best friend and Maxie was her worst enemy.

She’d been her sister and that was all Georgie could ever say when people, when her friends, those well meaning people kept asking how she was and if she needed anything and if there was anything they could do.

She couldn’t understand why they kept asking questions they knew the answer to. No, she was not fine. And she needed her sister so unless they could fix that and bring her back, then no, there was nothing they could do. So could they please just shut the hell up and leave her alone?

She imagined her mother would be worried about her if her mother were coherent, if she were able to see past her own grief, her own pain and her father was still searching for Maxie’s killer, so he didn’t even see her anymore.

And then someone had wondered (not to her, but she’d overheard it) how Georgie could miss Maxie, when she’d been nothing but a home wrecking slut with a viperous tongue and had been well on her way to killing herself with alcohol? How could she miss and mourn and grieve for a sister who’d been killing herself anyway?

Because Maxie was hers, the one person in all the world that was hers and no one else’s just like Georgie had been Maxie’s. Because they were family and you never turned your back on family, you never said oh, well, too much drama, I think I’ll find another friend. You were never on your own as long as you had your family. And Georgie had never been alone, never on her own.

But Maxie was gone now and she wasn’t sure if this was going to be the way her life would be forever. If it would always be this sinking sea of black darkness with no light, no break in the waves, no sunlight hitting the surface–just an endless abyss and her, always standing on the precipice, always thinking about going under but never going through with it because knew if she did, she’d see her sister on the other side.

And boy, would Maxie be mad at her for throwing it away.

So she pretended and she lived, and she breathed and she woke in the morning and went back to sleep at night and mostly, she remembered to eat and she went to class and sometimes she even pictured Maxie standing at her side, telling her to live them for both and telling her to laugh, and smile and love but Georgie always ignored that and put it out of her head. Because there was no reason to do any of those things now.

She had no reason to live, but no reason to die and she figured there should always be something in between but she wasn’t sure what that was yet. She wanted to find it one day but then again, what if she found it was nothing at all? So maybe she wouldn’t worry about it.

She’d keep breathing because Maxie would want that. She’d keep living and pretending. And maybe one day, the clouds would clear and there be some sort of epiphany and she’d understand that there was indeed a reason for everything.

But she was beginning to think there wasn’t and that the real mystery of the human soul was why everyone kept breathing when there wasn’t any point.

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