He says hello exactly like she did. The same breathy way, the same intonation. It’s uncanny. It used to disturb me, made the missing tear at my gut, I didn’t want Darren to say hello, I wanted Libby’s hello and a hug. But soon I found the similarity comforting. Phrases and sentences, Libby and Darren took on each other’s accents. I suppose it makes finishing each other’s sentences easier.
When I began spending time with Darren it was out of obligation, because if he wasn’t my family the day before Libby died, he sure was after. So I’d go around to his place, take a grudging walk down the little footpath, so sad that Libby wouldn’t be answering the door. I’d check on him, listen to him weep, hold him, and try to be the strong one. I’m not strong and I often cried and Darren held me.
Darren wears Impulse women’s deodorant because Libby did. He smells like her. He wears aftershave, so he smells like him, too. It’s a sweet and spicy mix and it’s unmistakably the two of them.
Coming to know Libby through Darren has rounded her out for me. She’s become a more complete person, a grown woman, not simply my sister. they met in hospital, and they got busted getting it on in the laundry by the hospital staff. Libby would never have told me that. But Darren did. I love the idea that my little sister was so mad for Darren that they went rogue in the laundry.
Tomorrow I’m going shopping for him. I’m not a do-gooder, not really, but this is something concrete I can do for the guy. I can’t give him Libby back and I can’t make his tears stop. I can drive him places, do his shopping, go to appointments with him. Doing good for him is as good for me as it is for Darren, let’s not romanticise. I’m an okay, generally ethically-sound person, but I’m no saint and I’m doing this for me, too. He thanks me, well, I thank him.
Sense of humour.
Modes of speech.
Interests in common.
When Darren and I go for coffee we have to stop to check out the guinea pigs at the pet shop because Libby always stopped to see them. She’d come home and tell Darren all about it. There’s an innocence in that type of conversation that is Libby through and through. Now he has those conversations with me and if try it is almost like I’m standing beside her.
I think he feels the same when he’s with me.
I say certain things the same way she did. Libby was my sister. I walk the same as my sister, Erin, I probably walk like Libby. We grew up in the same house, our ideas, ethics, things we hate, things we love, were informed by each other.
When he has me he has her.
When I have him, I have her.
It’s only taken me almost two years to really understand that the people we lose haven’t left us completely. Libby is with Darren, she lived with him and loved him for twelve years, she’s in his skin.
And she was mine for forty-two years.
She’s in my skin.
That’s why it’s so hard and so good.
he loves Libby and I love him. thank you Darren.