Hannah, Here You Are (…for Chris, who is not a fictional seven year old girl dying of cancer.)

f.20.09

Li Wei

There is an explanation for all of this.

I know that you said there was a no-pets policy, and yeah, I should have assumed that meant a no-howler-monkey policy too. I know that it was not okay to construct a ten foot waterfall in the basement; I have a little common sense, thank you very much.

But she has been sick for months now, and even when I draw maps of the planet on her head when she’s asleep, I cannot make her laugh. The smile sticks in her throat and her eyes water and bulge, the whites yellowed and spangled with new veins. I had to take drastic measures.

There was a lake in Cozumel that she loved when she was five, and I still remember the asterix of her body when she jumped off the falls, the water a flat, green sheet of paper she just had to interrupt. There were pictures to aid in the reproduction, too, but mostly I am an amazing big-sister queen with the panoramic memory to end all panoramic memories. You do not know how damn hard it was to ship in all that sand, much less convince my Mexican janitors to lend me their kids for the day, but I did it. It was enough to turn on that jungle sounds loop and push her into the water, say Hannah, here you are.

Art by Li Wei, who uses no photo manipulation and who I am basically wholly obsessed with.

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