Just a Minute of Your Time, Please

I was fourteen years old when they found Billy Holliday laying on his grandfather’s front lawn with a glazed look in his eyes and what doctors would later determine to be ketamine in his bloodstream. After his grandparents kicked him out, he spent most of his after school afternoons sitting on the curb in front of their house, and I spent most of my afternoons watching him through too-translucent curtains. We caught eyes a few times. He would half smile and wave while I would scowl to hide the blush scrambling up my face. He was only nice to me because he loved my sister, or at least that’s what she told me.

Courtney loved him too, by the way. She would want me to tell you that.

One afternoon he didn’t show up and she didn’t come home and no one bothered to find out where they went.

She would call on Christmases and birthdays but talk about him even when she was talking about herself. How he had the cutest, most enormous ears and listened to punk music she didn’t pretend to like. How she was terrified of his favorite horror movies but stuck them out because he would hold her hand from previews to credits. How he told her that he loved her for the first time in an alleyway in Austin shortly before they made love in a Motel 6.

They were happy, really happy, before she miscarried. But then she stopped eating and Billy was the one who called for my birthday that year, making a big fuss about how she would if she could, but she couldn’t.

He sounded sad.

It was sad.

You know, that’s the only time I’ve ever spoken to him.

They never called again, but Billy would write. He would write about quitting his job to support her full time and how they wanted to travel. The letters started showing up with different return addresses before they stopped showing up at all.

I guess that’s more information than you asked for, Officer. I haven’t heard from my sister in six years. I really don’t know what’s going on with her.