Excerpt from
Lily in the Desert

from "Faith," the opening story
page 13

Of course, it's the dead girl who gets the attention. In this case, my sister.


On the fireplace mantle is a blown up photograph of Sharon, actually the cover of Boulder Magazine, which did a feature story on her masterminding the recycling program at our school. Her black curls fall all over the place, a Jewish afro, Dr. Dad calls it -- he has one too
-- and she she's smiling like she's high. Seven freckles arc across her nose. She hated them, but I used to wish I had them. I got my (our) mother's straight hair and dark complexion. Sharon wished she had my genes, and naturally I wanted hers. We had a very old and dumb joke of handing each other actual pairs of jeans whenever one of us said that line. Our rooms adjoined each other, separated by French doors, which she loved and I hated. I liked to burst in on her when she had a boy over -- the doors don't lock -- just to see if I could catch her doing something. I did. But if our parents were away, she'd block the doors with a dresser and turn up her stereo so I couldn't hear any activity.

Her favorite song was "Darkness, Darkness" by Jesse Collin Young and the Youngbloods, one of the doctors' sixties albums.

Tonight, Wednesday, the doctors eat Moo Shu Vegetarian at Shanghai Sam's, then attend their weekly Parents of Murdered Children meeting in Denver. They always ask me to come, but I can't. I do miss Sharon. We were close. I'm 17, the age she was at her funeral. She's 19, or would have turned 19 this year. (I have this tense problem when I talk about

Her killer's in prison. We got "justice," but not the death penalty, which the doctors wanted. I'm personally against it: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth was the motto around here during the trial, which ended six months ago. "If we all believed that, we'd be blind and toothless," I thought, which isn't an original slogan with me, but I kept my snappy comeback to myself. I distinctly remember the doctors, who are both ex-hippies, being virulently anti-death penalty, but that was before.