Curiosity and the Little Black Dress
A story about sisterly love
Katie watched wide-eyed as her older sister Natalie got ready for a date with an older man, Paul, whom she had been dating for a while. Being only 12 years old, anything her 24 year old sister did was mesmerizing...even the simple act of putting on mascara in the washroom while wearing nothing but her black lace bra and silky black half slip.
Katie wished she were older so that she could go out with Natalie and Paul. She wanted to know more about this man her sister had met while working as a waitress. After months of dating, was Nat going to marry him, she wondered?
Adoration of her sister was due, in part, to a profound need for a mother figure. Natalie was twelve years older and from a different father but with the same alcoholic mother, who sometimes wasn't around. Fortunately, Natalie was a caring, loving sister who filled the void in Katie's young life.
Katie naively asked her "Why do you only wear black underwear, Nat?"
"Because it's sexy! When you're older, you'll know what I'm talking about Kookie". Kookie (pronounced like cookie) was her nickname for Katie....a term of endearment.
There was a wave of silence as the two sisters continued to share the special moments of sisterly love. Their fondness for each other had grown ever since Natalie had moved back home after being away for 5 years. It had suddenly become a priority for her to complete the high school education she had discarded long before she left home for destinations unknown. Where better to do that than in the same home she had escaped from years earlier, hoping to find a better life than the one she had been living?
Makeup was done and Katie followed Natalie to the upstairs bedroom they shared. Perusing her closet of options, Natalie decided on a black lace dress she had recently purchased with her waitressing tips. She knew it was Katie's favourite. It was ruffled in all the right places and long to the ankles. As the dress glided over Natalie's curvaceous body, and to the floor, Katie exclaimed "I can see your stomach!"
A mischievous smile swept across the older sibling's face. That was the effect she was going for, "Yes, I know!" she answered back.
By now, Katie had ensconced herself on one of the twin beds, lying on her stomach with her legs bent upwards at the knees, hands propping her head up as she watched her sister lovingly.
It was then that she felt something hard under her ribcage, beneath the chenille bedspread. She reached under the cover to retrieve a black notebook. Opening the cover, she saw the word "Moleskine" and began to pronounce it out loud "Mole-skine".
At that moment, Natalie was donning her jewelry as she glanced over at her little sister. Most people pronounce it "Mole-skin". She reached out her hand, ready to take it back from the curious little sleuth. 'That is private and you are not to ever read it....got it?"
"OK." Katie replied, knowing full well that she would be looking through that little black notebook as soon as her sister left for her date.
Beep, beep. The older man was here to pick up his lovely date.
"You go downstairs and tell Paul that I'll be right down." Sensing hesitation on Katie's part, Natalie repeated herself, "Go on. Downstairs. Tell Paul I will be right down".
Reluctantly, Katie got up from the bed and headed towards the door of their bedroom, dragging her feet all the way. Natalie was going to be hiding that little black book and she just had to know where. With her sister watching, Katie left the room and stomped down the the first few stairs. Then, she carefully and silently retraced her steps, peeking through the crack in the doorway to see that the notebook was being hidden under a pile of sweaters in the closet. Satisfied that the hiding place was revealed, she continued down the stairs.
As Natalie exited the house, Both Paul and Katie were leaning against his red Mustang as they watched in utter amazement at how beautiful Natalie was, wearing her black lace dress and black high heeled pumps. Her shoulder length auburn hair glistened in what was left of the setting sun. Paul opened the passenger door, helping his lovely date into the seat.
No sooner had they driven away, than Katie was flying up the stairs back to their bedroom. She headed straight for the closet, reaching under the pile of sweaters that she had observed Natalie placing the book. It wasn't there!
Katie knew she'd been duped by someone who was smarter than she had thought. Now, she had to be the duper.
As Katie stood in the centre of the room, she closed her big blue eyes and uttered the words aloud "Where are you, little black book?" Within ten seconds, her eyes popped open and her gaze landed upon an old trunk that she already knew contained a bunch of old costumes. She lifted the lid but saw nothing she hadn't already seen a million times.
Then, a voice in her head told her to dig a little deeper....as she reached to the bottom of the of the trunk and under the costumes, she found it: the mysterious black notebook.
She couldn't open it fast enough. She turned to the first and only page of writing. It was Natalie's hand writing in the form of a letter and this it what it read:
"My dear Kookie,
Ha! I knew you would find this notebook. You are so clever and creative. You have been the best sister I could ever wish for and I love you with all my heart.
I want you to know that nothing and no one will ever change how I feel about you. Our lives haven't always been easy, having a mother who drinks and leaves us for days on end, but you will always have me.
Please forgive me leaving to fend for yourself five years ago. I was too young to really know what I was doing; I only knew that I had to get out of here to try and find happiness. I promise I will never do that to you again and you will always have a home with me, no matter what.
I am going to have a baby with Paul. We will be moving to Montreal at the end of the month and I wanted you to be the first to know. Well, Mom knows too because she figured it out.
I am going to send for you to visit us once the baby arrives. OK?
I don't want you to worry about anything. And if you look in the middle of this notebook, you will find a deposit slip for $20,000 in your very own bank account, in your name. Paul and I thought you should have this account for when you start your own life. I will add money to it when I can and by the time you go to university, you will have a nice little nest egg.
But the most important thing is that you know how much I love you. Not time or distance will ever change that. I want you to write in this book any time you feel like it, about anything and everything. It will be your diary, so you should keep it hidden so no one else can read it. Remember to take it with you when you start University...in about six years.
Oh, and the black lace dress of mine that you love so much.....that is yours too. I am going to wash it and put it away in your closet until you grow into it. I want you to wear it on your first day of University. Promise me?
Through the tears that rolled down her cheeks, Katie felt the sting of loss once again. Natalie would be moving away and she would miss her terribly. How would she survive? For now, anyway, the $20,000 in her own bank account didn't matter, even though she appreciated it. She knew that her life would never be the same with Natalie living so far away.
She turned to the page after Natalie's letter and began to write:
"Dear Diary, Today I learned that curiosity really isn't all it's cracked up to be......."