“You really don’t know?” my step-sister asked.
“How am I supposed to know anything? You were just gone,” I said. We sat in her room. The door was shut but we could hear her mother’s voice from my dad’s room. It wasn’t their bedroom. My step-mother slept in the bed next to the pool table on the other side of the house.
“God, you can be stupid,” she said. “Where do you think we went?”
I shrugged. We were 14. Our parents had married five years earlier, and every few months my step-mother and my step-sister disappeared. I’d come home from school and they’d be gone. A few months later they’d come back. I usually didn’t know where they went. I didn’t ask–asking questions was asking to be lied to.
Maybe the less we said her name, the less my dad would think about her.
“I don’t know where you went,” I said to my step-sister and wished I could surprise her with insider knowledge. She always knew more than me even though I got better grades.
She rolled her eyes. “She runs off with men,” she said, flinging her hair behind her shoulder. “Men she meets at the truck stop. We come back when the money runs out.”
I don’t know why this had never occurred to me.
I write a story or make a picture and am certain I am missing something. The work is not complete, but I can’t see what it needs. If read the right book or took the right class, I’d know. I’d have that insider knowledge.
What training or special knowledge do you think a writer or artists needs? Are you born with the sense of story or do you have to learn it?