i love you more than more.

by sophie

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my sister works in restoration. she works with time. when i was young, she was a writer, a photographer, and after my life in theater, when i had no idea what i was going to do next, i decided to go to the college she’d gone to in boston. for years we only talked about our bodies, our desires. i might say what she did was drift – from atlanta to little rock to new york city. drifted in and out of marriage. she trained in interior design, and for awhile lived in that world, but never fully, perhaps never lived fully in any world. then, a few years ago, she moved back to pittsburgh, and after a bit of floating there, went to school for social work, to focus on working with the LGBT youth population. social work? we all thought. it was a surprise to my family, though even then, we had a glimmer of why her choice might make sense. might allow her to be her true self. i might say that my sister used to hold herself away, just a little away from the world. today, what she does is work in a clinic that serves people with AIDS. it is an open clinic – people can come or go or stay as long as they want. the responsibility of the clinic is simply to provide medication, not to pull people out of their lives — if they want to remain hustlers, remain without psych meds, remain in addictions, there is little that my sister or her fellow workers can do. they offer help, solutions, the pills that might keep people well, but they cannot not offer intervention. today, i have a new sister. we still speak about our bodies, our desires, but what i hear in her voice, what is new in her body is an enormous empathy. she can talk for hours about her clients, about her desire to work in ‘the big picture’, how best to help the disadvantaged, the sick, the poor. it takes my breath away sometimes, this shift, this openness, brightness, an expansion of spirit. my sister always loved me well, loved me ferociously, enormously, and what she does today is offer that kind of love to people who need deeply to be loved, embraced, heard. to be encouraged towards wellness. i hear a new life in my sister — of course, she has a new life, a new home, new patterns and habits. she still takes photographs. she walks everywhere, everywhere in the city, and what she photographs now are the spaces she loves — skylines, the warm rust of the most run-down pieces of the city. the other day, she photographed a little girl dancing in the rain. this is who my sister is now, someone who opens herself, who is more of the world than she ever was, someone who inspires me to see differently, to work with compassion and patience and hope, to treat my spirit delicately and kindly, to get enough sleep, to drink water, to get up the next day and work tirelessly for the people who need it most. not everyone can do what she does, which sometimes, means watch people dying, when she has done all that she can for them. when i was young, and we were both more wild, more reckless, I used to say in protest sometimes to accusations of my bad behavior, I’m not Anna! These days, in gratitude and awe, I work to be more like her.

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