A Brief Outline of Your Sister’s Disappearance
- It was a new moon and you could see exactly eight stars through the skylight of your bedroom ceiling, though one moved early into your not-sleeping and you realized you’d made a wish upon a helicopter, plane, or UFO.
- Do wishes made on aircraft perhaps come partially true?
- Three hours into your not-sleeping, you heard the distinct sound of a window unlatching in the next room, followed by a smattering of hushed but exuberant giggles, and then the window snapped shut.
- It is a known fact that a particularly strong tree is rooted outside your sister’s bedroom window, which makes this the preferable bedroom on two counts: 1.) enhanced ease of nighttime escape and 2.) truly remarkable foliage in the fall.
- Your sister had been sneaking out for months now. You had not yet shared this with anyone before the night in question. You were still keeping secrets for your sister, even when she wasn’t there to ask.
- Your sister fell madly in love with anyone bearing a passing resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio, whose posters she affixed to her bedroom walls with wads of chewed-up bubble gum. It’s said this was her weakness.
- There were nights you thought someone was in the room with her, until you heard the name your sister whispered.
- Leo, always Leo—until it wasn’t.
- Of the two of you, your sister had the easiest time falling in love. She did this with regularity, and great joy.
- For months your sister had been telling you there was a new guy, there was a special someone. You relayed this information to the police only after her disappearance, and still it felt like a breach of trust.
- You did not find out until after that first interview that this boy was, in fact, a man—was, in fact, the father of the boy she babysat.
- You remember distinctly thinking goddammit, Sylvia, wasting your time on a cliché like that, such a messy cliché, and what about Leonardo DiCaprio?
- So you looked at all the posters in her bedroom after she was gone, squinted trying to see the resemblance: this boy and that man, what was it that connected the two?
- Possibilities: color of the hair (blonde); color of the eyes (blue); a certain twisting of the lips that hinted mischief, flirtation, or something else.
- The why of your sister’s disappearance hinges on whether she chose to go, or somebody else chose for her.
- Two explanations: 1.) Your sister ran away, overcome with feelings for a man who would never leave his wife, or 2.) He did something.
- You already know the answer to this one, don’t you?
- In fact you still pace the perimeter of a certain graveyard despite knowing it’s the one place she isn’t buried.
- In the end, Leonardo DiCaprio was the only witness to your sister’s last moments in her bedroom on that final night.
- Still the room stands untouched: a shrine, a sanctuary. Leonardo DiCaprio stares impassively from the wall of the uninhabited bedroom, unfazed by the detectives’ search, your mother’s tears, the slow-fading scent of your sister’s vanilla bean perfume.
- You stare into his glossy poster-blue eyes and will him to tell you what he saw—
- but Leo, Leonardo—he never says a word.
Abigail Oswald holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and currently resides in Connecticut. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fugue, Gone Lawn, Hobart, Necessary Fiction, Split Lip, and elsewhere. You can find her online at abigailwashere.com.