So Long, Goodbye

PicturePart III: Agnes
Photography by Kevin Tosh.
(See here for Part I, and here
for Part II)
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Here are a few things that were not strengths of Agnes’s: cooking, sewing, riding a bicycle, saying goodbye. As a child she had clung to physical objects every time she had to be taken away from a place that was familiar, she would wrap her feet and arms tightly around chairs, hold on to doors so that nothing could happen until she had been pulled off one finger at a time.

The first day of school. The day when when she and Teresia had moved to Stone City years earlier. She was too old to throw a tantrum like that, so she threw it through stony silence for days before their departure.

And if saying goodbye was difficult, saying hello made her cold and hot with fear all at the same time. There was nothing she hated more than the first few days or weeks in a new place, when you didn’t know anyone and had to navigate the awkwardness of establishing new relationships. And having with a sister who was a social butterfly did not make this easier, at all. She could already hear the people whispering about her strangeness: Look, her sister is so open, so friendly, so easy to like, not broody and unfriendly and cold like her. Her stomach was doing somersaults just at the thought.

In fact, anything that involved change was her not one of her strengths, including the inevitability of time moving forward. Or this train. Or her life.