“tell me a story.”
was tired, yet strangely wide awake. her ability to sleep through the
night -it seemed she’d never had it, so she agreed and began to speak
softly, so softly that they would not be yelled at:
“do you know the song about the beans?” she asked her.
yes!” she practically squealed, and giggled, and then covered her mouth
guiltily, trying to keep the sound that had already escaped quiet.
she interrupted her overly excited sister -eager to please her; eager
to keep her quiet; eager to keep her smiling. “well, it’s not just a
song.” her voice was low and quite serious, which made her sister open
her eyes wide. she was incredulous and anxious to hear more -anxious in
a good way. she climbed out of her bed and leaned in close to the bed
of her tiny sister -always so thin; always so seemingly weak -and
whispered with authority, “well you know... it’s all true.”
her sister let out a little gasp and clapped her hand over her mouth again. her eyes couldn’t possible widen any more.
she licked her lips, really getting into the rhythm of it now:
“well, when you eat the beans, you know they go inside you. but, they go to a special place. a really magical place.”
she paused, her sister’s breath heavy in her ear. suddenly, but very
gently, she poked her sister in the tummy. “the beans go to the bean
factory inside you.”
no factory inside me!” her sister protested, trying to swat her hand
away, but not really, because her touch was soft and gentle and tickled
-in a good way.
“ooh, yes, there is,” she insisted.
“ooh,” her sister sighed, her eyes wide and full of belief. she trusted her so much.
on your back,” she ordered her, and then they both laid back on the
bed, side by side. “now, imagine you’ve just eaten some beans, and
they’re sliding down... down... down... into your tummy.”
“uh-huh,” her sister whispered, her hands on her belly.
instead of your tummy, the beans go to the bean factory. everything
else in your body is dark, but around the bean factory there’s a halo of
light ...from all the gas-”
her sister squealed. she tried so hard not to laugh. “that’s stupid-”
“do you want to hear about the bean factory, or not?”
her sister said, feeling very contrite. with great docility, she
placed her hands back on her belly. she really wanted to hear the rest
of this story. a bean factory. in her body. really?!
“okay... so the bean factory is bright and always busy. so, the beans go in, but do you know what comes out...?”
thinking she wasn’t supposed to say anything, a silence hung in the air above the bed between them.
“well, do you know what comes out?” she asked her sister again.
“oh!” her sister turned her head to her. “gas!’
she shook her head seriously. she sat up in the bed beside her sister,
pulling the covers up above her head as she did and creating a tent of
covers over both of them. “what comes out, if you’re very, very lucky...”
sister’s eyes were huge; she didn’t think her narrow eyes could open
any wider. her mouth had fallen open and she could see the word “what?”
on her lips, but it didn’t fall out.
“...if you’re very, very lucky...”
she repeated, her voice mildly ominous with suspense, “...out will
come...” she looked around, even though they were alone under the
covers, “...out will come...”
and then she farted.
her sister screamed in a whisper, “you’re gross!”
but she had collapsed back on the bed, the covers thrown aside and they were both laughing -a little too loudly.
suddenly, there was a pounding on the ceiling. “ooh, shit...” she whispered.
her sister hugged her. “it’s okay. I really liked the story.”
as they both waited for the sound of footsteps on the stairs, her sister hugged her again and said, “I love you.”