We spent mornings and afternoons in the family room, a blanket over one of our heads, roaming over carpet, knees rubbed raw, in search of the other. We found each other by the sounds of our laughter. Your laughter always gave you away, Alana. Like Mom’s, it was uncontrollable, uncontainable. You tried to muffle it, to bottle it up, but the pressure was always mounting inside of you; you were like a two-liter of 7-Up careening down a hill, bouncing off rocks and moss and trees. All it took was for me, blinded by the blanket, to crawl straight into the arm of the couch or into the wall or to knock my head on a chair, and your laughter would explode out from you. We called the game “Ghost” because of the way we looked when we played, a white blanket over our heads, crawling on knees, arms like antennae, like blind feelers.
When was the last time we played that game? When I was nine and you were six? Were we older? Was it some winter morning when the sun was low in the sky and snow piled up outside and smothered the windows? Surely, we didn’t know it was the last time we’d ever play Ghost. Sometimes I wish we could play again now. I don’t mean as adults, I don’t mean at this age, at twenty-nine and twenty-six. I mean, I wish we could go back to one of those mornings when we were children and play again.
I’d tell you that this game will predict our futures. I’d say that just as we scour this place, each of us will one day scour the globe, not together, but separately. We will be blinded and lost, the furniture suddenly absent from the room, the wide, guiding expanses of walls felled and dragged away, our hands swinging and flailing and reaching and empty. There will be moments of suffocation—moments when the blanket becomes tangled around necks, when the cloth is shoved into our mouths and we begin to gag. But no matter the fear and the terror and the uncertainty, each of us must continue to search for what we’ve been chasing, not necessarily a place or a person, but a feeling: the warmth of a blanket, the light of laughter.