Since the writing conference I’ve been driving and ferrying around Washington and the beginning of my book is coming in. So this is a very very rough draft of, what may be, how it starts. Here goes…
“My sister is missing.”
Choke-whispered words sputtered across the chasm of that empty middle seat like a one winged bird seeking a solid branch. Her seat–the seat she was supposed to have crash landed in, just in the nick of time before takeoff, spilling over with stories of a wild night.
The seat she never took.
The cabin door slammed shut with three aggressive thumps ripping one layer of denial from my under skin, sweeping its remnants in to the long dark vacant tunnel of the jetway.
Nothing makes sense in these kinds of desperate moments. It seemed logical, imperative even, that I offer an explanation to the window seated stranger. Maybe I’d hoped to fill that unbearable void with something…anything. Nature abhors a vacumn they say. So does panic.
“My sister is missing.” as the flight attendants prepared for takeoff like this was some kind of ordinary day.
The cabin air smelled like ice. It held a violent vacancy like compressed white noise. Everything was moving too fast and too slow at the same time.
Innocence dissolved in saltwater burst through frozen consternation searing my tremoring, blanched and hollow cheeks.
It was 7:26am and Cindy had officially been declared a “missing person” for six hours. I had been up all night. Her half-grinned driver’s license photo was being plastered all over the morning news.
It was Christmas Eve 1988.
For the first time in our twenty nine years of mooring, we’d become untethered.
My sister Cindy was missing.