Fiction | December 11, 2020

Murphy, Murphy

One of my names is Cece. It has many iterations. When scolded, Cecelia. At my worst, Cecelia Rose. In bed, I am named to the rhythm of my pumping fingers, Ce-Ce-Ce-Ce-Ce, I become pulse, I become breath. When I dissociate, I watch my teeth in the mirror make Cece like a snarl, I name myself until the word becomes a vacuum, until I slip in and out of it like a fist through a bangle.

In the years after my sister was abducted, I was only ever Cece Sister-to-Murphy Gowan. Murphy’s Sister Gowan. The Girl Whose Sister Disappeared. If you knew our story well, I was The One Who Slept. Sleeping Cece.

Only to Murphy, I was Sissy—for sister, for Cece. My two selves made one. “Sissy come here, Sissy I hate you, Sissy be quiet.”I hear her still.

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