Dietland by Sarai Walker – Book Review and Personal Comments

Dietland by Sarai Walker – Book Review and Personal Comments

Nobody likes an overweight, fat, obese person and if you’re an overweight, fat, obese woman not only does society hate you but as far as they’re concerned you might as well kill yourself because you  deserve all the rude remarks, insulting comments, stares, and laughter that are tossed your way.

Alicia Kettle, everyone calls her Plum, weighs in at a little over 300 pounds. She lives her life trying not to be noticed. She dresses in dark colors, her dresses are long, and her arms are always covered even during the hot New York  summers. She looks down when she’s outside, minds her own business, and yet each and everyday some stranger feels they’re obligated to say something rude and nasty to her about her weight.

Plum dreams of becoming Alicia, her real self. Alicia is slim and beautiful. All men want her and all women want to be her. But in order for Plum to transform into Alicia she needs to have stomach bypass surgery which is expensive. Oh, her insurance will pay for the surgery but how will Plum afford to pay for all the follow up skin removal surgeries, the boob job she’ll have to get, and the stomach uplifting she’ll need? One thing at a time. First things first. Plum has schedule the bypass surgery and once that’s over with and she gets a little closer to being Alicia she’ll worry about everything else.

Plum works at home. She’s employed by a glamour type teen girl’s magazine. She answers questions from the teens. Of course the girls don’t know that Plum is answering the questions. Their emails are for the beautiful Kitty who runs the magazine. Kitty is far too busy gazing into the mirror to answer the thousands of emails she gets every week so Plum was hired to answer them. The questions are on many topics from dieting, to boyfriends, to slashing themselves, to parental problems, school, girlfriends, fashion, really anything that worries female teens, which is everything.

Plum likes working from home. She goes to her best friend Carmen’s cafe everyday and sits for hours drinking coffee and answering the emails. Kitty told her that human resources thought it would be nice for Plum to work at home but in reality Kitty didn’t want Plum in the office building which is filled with beautiful, slim, women. Plum just doesn’t fit that bill.

So day in and day out Plum doesn’t stray from a five block radius of her apartment, answering emails, drinking coffee, and ignoring all the cheap rude remarks that are flung at her about her weight.

But things are going to turn around for Plum very soon. Now don’t assume that Plum is going to transform herself into a size 2. She is going to be transformed into something far better than Alicia and all with the help of a terrorists group called Jennifer.

Jennifer is a group who kidnaps and then kills men who abuse women in any and every way. They even have a hit list. Jennifer also kidnaps and murders women who stay with these men accepting and defending the violence that’s handed to them. Jennifer is like a feminist terrorist group who is trying to regain their dignity from men who have claimed it. They refuse to be the “little girls” that look up to men as if the men were Gods, all knowing what’s best for all females. The group killed 12 men by throwing them out of an airplane at 10,000 feet because they raped a 12 year old girl for hours. Jennifer murdered a porn star/model because she allowed herself to be raped on the big screen even though she was harmed many times and needed surgery. Even so, she continued with her career, that is until Jennifer ended it all for good.

Is Plum part of Jennifer? Not at all but her fight to take back her dignity from people who believe that she doesn’t deserve it because of her weight is what Jennifer is doing with men. With the help of other fractured women at Calliope House Plum leans how to stick up for herself, defend herself, and not just sit back and let others say things to her without firing back. Plum learns how to be Plum and perhaps even not think about transforming herself to the thin, beautiful Alicia.

Dietland” by Sarai Walker is an amazing book. I found it so amazing that I’m going to buy it and I always do my best not to buy books.

But “Dietland” is not so amazing to all women.

I’ve read reviews about the book on Goodreads and Amazon and many of the women only like the beginning of the book where Plum is agonizing over her weight and how she should lose it. But when the story about Jennifer became more prominent in the second half of the story many women didn’t understand the correlation between Jennifer’s fight and Plum’s fight. These women didn’t understand Plum’s fight because they are not Plum. They were never Plum, and they never will be Plum.

I am Plum.

I understand Plum’s anger and fight because I’ve fought the same battles my entire life. When I was young I had classmates, teachers, strangers, relatives saying some mean things to me because of my weight and because I was fat I had to sit back and listen to all these remarks and do my best to hold my tears until I got home and locked myself in my room. Society says that you are wrong to be fat, that’s it your fault that you’re fat and you have to do whatever it takes to become thin and beautiful like Plum’s Alicia. You are not allowed to be content with what you look like. You have to be thin and trim even if you starve yourself. It’s sickening. I’ve always known this and I rarely ever spoke up to defend myself because, being fat, I wasn’t allowed to.

A few weeks ago I was telling a friend of how when I was maybe 16 or so I was waiting at the corner for the light to turn green when a NYC garbage truck drove by. The men on the truck screamed a few crass things to me about my weight and then threw a huge bag of garbage on me! Did I really deserve that? Many of you will say yes because I was too fat and the men were just trying to teach me how wrong I was to be so heavy.

My friend said, “That never happens in my state. It must be a New York thing.” No, it is not a big, bad New York thing, it’s an every state, city, town, county thing. My friend believed it was a New York thing because nothing like that has ever happened to her. She was never now or ever overweight, fat, or obese. Oh, she’ll say she has to lose 20 pounds but having to lose 20 pounds is not being 100 pounds overweight. Being 20 pounds over the ideal weight is fine as far as society is concerned. Most women will say that they’d rather lose a limb than be fat. When people abuse fat people it’s because they’re afraid that if they eat that one donut they will become fat and have society abuse them the way they abuse fat people.

In ten days I’ll be turning 66 and “Dietland” has actually said out loud to what I’ve always believed but was afraid to say myself. It’s okay to be fat if that’s what I want. It’s okay to wear yellow and red and green if I want and it’s okay for me to go into a cafe and order a sandwich if I want. What’s not okay is for total strangers, friends, and family to preach to you and make rude remarks to you about your weight and then attack you and say you don’t have a sense of humor when you tell them you don’t appreciate their “unsolicited advice.”

I just want to touch on the “Dietland” that is being shown on the television station, AMC. It’s not the same as the book. The television show had a male lead character. Why? Who is he? He is not in the book. But everytime something bad happens to Plum it’s this male character who is coming to her rescue while in the book it’s women who help her out. I’m disappointed that the television series falls back on the “man helping out the weak woman” story line which is the exact opposite of what the book is saying.

In the book Kitty is nothing more than a background character while in the television show she’s on screen almost as much as Plum. This bothers me too. And the worse thing is that the television version is not really showing the fight that Jennifer is waging and comparing it to the fight that Plum is going through.

But the show has not ended yet so maybe things will change in episodes to come.

Every woman should read Dietland” by Sarai Walker even if you’re a size 2. You might have a problem, not necessarily weight related, and Ms. Walker’s book and words will help light a fire under you.



I Hated Teachers, I Hated School

I Hated Teachers, I Hated School

I hated school, specifically junior high and high school. I hated it. I hated the teachers. I hated they way they always looked down at me because I was not book smart, and very overweight, and wore eyeglasses. Yes, some had told me that like Mrs. Lowenstein my 5th grade teacher.

I was never good at taking tests, I still can’t. I freeze up when I have to do something within a time limit. I hated the tests that never proved how smart a student was or wasn’t. I hated the way my teachers attacked me because my mother was president of the PTA, Mrs. Kalina especially.

I remember all the reasons why I hated my teachers like my 8th grade algebra teacher who, during the first week of class told us that if we didn’t understand something to let him know. Like an idiot I believed him and raised my hand telling him that I didn’t understand. He asked what didn’t I understand, and I told him I didn’t understand any of it. He got angry at me and asked, “Where the hell have you been this week? You’re a real wise guy.” That was it for me. Even though he eventually learned that I was very weak in math and not a “wise guy” like he initially thought I was, I never asked him another question. At the end of every class he’d say, “Sharon, do you understand?” and I always said yes even though I didn’t. He offered to help me after school but I refused because he lost my trust that very first week.

I have a list of teachers who I hated and who disappointed me. I even remember the reasons for my hatred. It’s a long list. And I was one of those “good kid.” I sat with my hands crossed, never saying a word while a teacher was speaking, never talking with other kids. I was quiet and shy and the teachers hated me for this. And I was a fool. I wish I was different. I wish I had the nerve to yell at them at tell them exactly how I felt. But I was a fool. I still am I guess but I speak my mind a lot more now. When people attack me these days at least it’s for a reason I understand. I might not agree with the attack but I understand it.

I hated school, I despised the teachers but when I got into college I started to change my mind a little. In college I was taught how to think and not just memorize a bunch of crap because I had to pass some stupid test. I learned to like education in college and got along well with my professors. Heck, I pulled a B in the first and only math class I took in “higher education.”

Maybe if I was allowed to “think” and not be in a state of fear because of my teachers I would have done better in junior high and high school. I really don’t want to hear excuses from teachers about too many students in a classroom, and how some students are rowdy and hard to control, or anything else like that. You became a teacher with open eyes, you knew what was in store for you. For teachers to take out their anger, disappointment or whatever they feel about their job on the student is just wrong and possibly criminal.

I hated school, I hated the teachers but I loved learning how to think for myself. I like to learn now, at my own pace without some power hungry woman glaring down at me because I wasn’t good at “book learning” or some other stupid reason they had to dislike me. Too bad I wasn’t taught how to think at the age of five.

I’ve been out of school for decades and maybe things have changed but I doubt it but I could be wrong. Here I am at the age of 65 still mulling over the crap I went through in school. I should have forgotten this stuff 20 or 30 years ago but I haven’t. Too bad that the people who my parents entrusted to educate me did nothing more than to instill a hatred so strong that I feel it to this very day.

The Promise

December 4, 2017. I knew this day was coming, I knew it for a while but even with the knowledge I’m heartsick.

My friend, my “sista” Janette passed early this morning. She was suffering with cancer but putting on a very brave positive front for her family and for her friends. Late at night she would call me and tell me how frightened she was and then we’d cry. I wouldn’t let her know that tears were streaming down my face because she needed to let her emotions come out and not try to make me feel better. That’s what Janette was like, always helping others and making them feel better.

A few months ago Janette and I were on the phone one late evening and she told me I needed to make a promise to her. I asked what she wanted me to do. She told me to keep her alive after her death. She told me to write about her, to tell all the stories, laughs, and tears we shared. I’ve written about Janette before and she loved seeing her name in my blog. She’d laugh and hoot with her little southern accent which always made me laugh.

So I promised Janette I’d continue to talk about her in my blog. She said she wanted me to do it for me as well as for her. She made me promise not to forget her. I won’t.

There were a few other promises too. She told me I had to stay friends with her wonderful caring friend, Libby. She made me swear to continue to lean on, support, and love our friend, Cathy. She told me to write of her love for Daryl Hall and how he looked at her and smiled when she went to a Hall & Oates concert a few years back.

“I promise you, I promise you, Janette, I will write it all down.”

I want to thank her friend, Libby, for all the phone calls, the Facebook messages, and the texts she’s sent me and Cathy to make sure we were aware of everything that was going on as Janette became weaker and weaker.

Maybe five or six weeks ago Libby visited Janette in the hospice and Libby called me so I could speak with Janette for the last time. Janette knew who I was and told me how much she loved me and asked me to tell Cathy that she loved her too. She was weak and couldn’t speak for more than a minute or two but I will remember those last two minutes I spent on the phone with her.

Even though I’ve written about her before this is a new beginning. I am going to be writing about my “sista” Janette. It doesn’t matter if anyone else reads these entries or not because I am doing it for myself. I will keep Janette alive for me.

My Thanksgiving Memory From 2011

My Thanksgiving Memory From 2011

I posted this six years ago on Facebook. I still feel the same way about the holidays.

I was going through the worst time of my life when I wrote this and was trying to dig myself out of a deep hole. I had help – my Uncle Mickey, my cousin Alynn, and a new friend, Lawrence. I will never forget what any of these three people did to help me back then. What they and others did to help is what Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and every other holiday is really about. I’m not sure if the majority of people realize it.


Too many people, and the media, look at Thanksgiving as the start of the shopping season and getting what you want for less money than you normally would. Thesepeople should be thankful that shopping and getting up at 3:00 AM on Black Friday is the worst problem they have. There’s so much more to Thanksgiving and you only hear about these reasons in cursory measures.

Two of my close frinds have benn fighting major problems this past week or two. I’m sure the last thing they’re thinking about is buying a television set or getting concert tickets.

I’m very happy for everyone who has everything they need, have a way to get everything they want, and are healthy enough to get around everyday without even thinking twice about it.

But I’m thankful for my friends, my uncle, and my cousin who were doing what they could to help me during the past two years. I’m thankful that I know that life can be much harder than a lot of people suspect and there aren’t always happy endings. I’m thankful that I can see both sides of Thanksgiving and smart enough to know that not everyone eats turkey and all the trimmings on this day. And I’m thankful that everyday I wake up and know that life isn’t a bowl of cherries and appreciate the little things, like being able to walk three blocks to a store and celebrate it every time I’m able to do it.

Appreciating what you have and what you can do to help others is not just reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What are you thankful for every single day of your life?

Ghostly Visitors

Ghostly Visitors

Well, anyone who has read my blog has seen my stories about ghosts and other things that go bump in the night. My apartment is haunted. In fact I think my whole apartment building is haunted. I’ll go so far as to say that every apartment in New York City and all over the world is haunted. I do believe in ghosts. I have had experiences with them, nothing terrible or anything, just experiences. I’m not really afraid, I accept it all because I have no other choice.

I don’t know what happens when you die. I don’t know if you’re given a choice to go into the “bright light” or to kind of stay where you are to watch over things. Maybe you can go back and forth using some kind of heavenly transportation system. I don’t know. Maybe when you die you just aren’t around anymore like when you have surgery and put under and when you wake up there’s no memory of anything. I don’t know. But what I do know is that things happen in my apartment and around me.

I hear noises, footsteps, smell perfume, know when someone is in a room with me even though I live alone. I’m pretty sure it’s my sister who died eight years ago. My sister, even though she was three years younger than me, always acted as if she was the older one. She had to because everything terrified me and Ade was the person who had to solve all the problems. She basically took care of me and taught me things. She might have passed eight years ago but she’s still around watching and caring for me.

My mom drops by every so often too. I can smell her perfume, “Tabu.” I haven’t smelled Tabu since she passed over 30 years ago except for when she visits. Dad pops in every so often too. I can hear him clear his throat like he used to and Grandma Grace drops by once in a blue moon. I can tell it’s her because I can smell her apartment. I do wonder why Grandma Grace comes by since I’m pretty sure that I didn’t mean all that much to her but that’s another story. Maybe grandma got lost on the heavenly transportation system and is looking for one of my cousins.

I’m sure others come by too like Ray (Rachel) one of my parent’s friends who used to live in the building. Ray was a wonderful lady who really did care about me. A day or so after her death she came to me in a dream, kissed my right cheek and said, “I love you Shari.” Ray was the only person who called me Shari.

Lots of people who used to live in my building drop by to say hello once in awhile and that’s fine with me. I don’t mind and I know they’re just checking up on things. Their visits do not frighten me. When I sense their presence I always say hello, smile, and tell them that I miss them. I do miss them.

Two years ago I was in the hospital. The doctors thought I had a heart attack, I thought I was suffering from severe panic attacks. It was atrial fibrillation but the point is that Coney Island Hospital (lovingly known in Brooklyn, or at least by me, as “The Hell Hole”) admitted me into their Coronary Care Unit.

My room was right by the nurse’s station and because it was the heart unit I was alone in it. Well, kind of alone. Many times, many, many times, I saw old men sitting in wheelchairs in the room with me. Only men no women and they looked like they were at least 80 years old. Maybe some were younger but they all had that tired look that people get when they’ve been very sick for a long time.

I didn’t recognize any of them. At first I thought my dad might be one of those men or maybe one of my uncles, a grandfather? But no, I didn’t know any of them.

One day I was taken for a test, an angiogram. When I got back to the room and was finally able to move around all the men were sitting in their wheelchairs looking around and surrounding the upper portion of the bed. I looked at them and asked, “Who are you people?” I had to whisper it because I didn’t want “Nurse Ratched” hearing me. “Nurse Ratched” is for another story at another time.

“Who are you?” I asked the assemblage of eight or so wheelchaired older men sitting near the bed. They didn’t answer. I wasn’t surprised at not getting an answer. I wasn’t really expecting one. It was a rhetorical question.

I suspect they the men were the ghosts, souls, specters, of men who were in this heart care room at the end of their lives. I think they died there and still kind of haunted the room. I do wonder why there weren’t any women specters around though. No, I wasn’t afraid of them. I was afraid of Nurse Ratched, well, more like annoyed with her. She was a real pain in the ass. The male ghosts were docile enough and seemed content to sit in their wheelchairs watching other patients come into the room and maybe join them eventually. I have no idea.

I was in that hospital room with those elderly men for five days. The day I was discharged I wanted to be alone in the room for a moment just to say goodbye to the ghosts but Nurse Ratched was constantly in the room with me giving me directions on how to swallow the numerous pills I was given.

Did the men follow me home? Of course not. They’re probably still in that CCU room watching other patients and within the past two years maybe more men have joined their group.

But I do believe that my sister did visit me when I was in the hospital. I’m pretty sure she was the one who lead me to think that the men had passed away in that hospital room and were just sitting there waiting for something or someone.

I tell you this story to let you understand that ghosts, souls, whatever, are around. I think. I’m pretty sure of it. I know my sister is always with me. My mom and dad pass through and I get lots of visits from my cousin Donna who passed, I don’t know, nine years ago?

In my dreams I’ve been allowed into a room or something, where I think people who have passed on stay when they want to talk to people who are still alive. I’ve been in that place many times. I used to see my uncle come in and out of that room as I walked along the long hallway to get there. I wondered why my uncle was there since he was alive. Years later I learned he had heart problems, which I did not know about. Maybe there was a question about if he’d survive his heart surgery, which I also didn’t learn about until years later. Maybe I was being told through those dreams that he was very ill and might not be around much longer. My uncle lived about 15 years or so longer. Pretty good.

Just keep your mind open that maybe, just maybe, there’s more to this life and death than can be explained. No need to be afraid if something odd happens. As I tell my cousin, who questions everything and wants to know “WHY??” and HOW” and needs an answer to every little thing that occurs. It drives me nuts sometimes. I tell him, “things happen that can’t be explained. Either forget about it or live with it. If you want to research something, research it, if you want to question something, question it, but sometimes there are no answers and if no answer can be found then just accept it and go on with your life.”

And that’s what I do. I accept the strange things that happen to me. What’s the use of wondering if it will drive you crazy? I can’t explain what goes on or why I seem to be so susceptible to these occurrences. I do know my sister was able to “feel” these things too but I think my talent in that department is stronger than hers.

I have lots of stories that I need to write about, things that have happened with me and my friend Anita that did kind of frighten me but that’s because Anita had the same “talent” that I have and together Anita and I did and saw some strange things. I definitely have to write about that.


Message To My “Sista” – It’s Okay Not To Fight

Message To My “Sista” – It’s Okay Not To Fight

I wish I can tell you this. I wish we can talk but you’re in the hospital again and I can’t get through to you so I will write it here hoping that through some kind of osmosis you will hear my words.

When we spoke a week or so ago I told you that I support you in whatever you want to do. If you want to fight this cancer I am right there with you but if you want to let the disease run its course I’m with you then too. It’s your decision to make, not mine, your family’s, your good friends, or anyone else’s. You are living with it, you feel the pain, you have your thoughts, and you deserve to make the final decision. 

Your bad news started years ago when they found your first cancer and you fought it and won quite a few battles but with cancer it’s tough to win the war, not impossible, just very hard. Now it’s seven or eight years later and winning the skirmishes are getting harder and harder. Recently you were told that you might only have a few months left. Maybe a little longer if the chemo works, which is a 50% possibility if you can even tolerate the “cure.”

You called me the day you received the news. You were hysterical saying, “I’m afraid, Sharon, I’m afraid.” What can you say when your “sista” has been given such bad news, is so fearful, and you’re silently crying so she won’t know how your heart just dropped to your stomach? I said nothing and listened to her fears, how she told me that when she passes she will somehow send me pennies so I’d know that she loves me and is with me. She also asked if I thought she will see Christmas this year and mostly she lamented that no one will listen to her fears about her death except for me.

When she tries to talk to others they almost get angry at her, thinking that speaking of death will make it happen. They would climb Mt. Everest and shout into the wind that she will survive, beat the cancer, see this coming Christmas, and live to be 900 years old. They could shout it from the mountains, shout it from their roof tops until their voices are hoarse but they will not change the inevitable.

I’m writing this for myself because I’m angry, angry at me, no one else. I posted something on Facebook this past Friday about my friend. The post was about her disease, the prognosis, and what she asked me about her seeing Christmas.

First of all, let me say, that I write about this friend all the time. She asks me to do it. She even made me promise to write stories about all the laughs we’ve shared, and I will. She is happy whenever I write about her and her battle with cancer. I wrote about her on this blog about a year ago and I had over 500 unique hits with the article. When I told her she cried with joy because finally other people listened to her story and identified with her. She discovered she was not alone.

Her family was furious with me. The nerve of me to write their mother, sister, aunt, was dying. No big deal to me. Let them be angry, I unfriended the lot of them.

Friday’s post received a similar reaction from someone who is very close to my friend. I was told that if my friend saw the post it would make her feel bad. I know that would not be true! This person also commented on the post saying that if asked, my sick friend would say that she would see Christmas, and she would fight the cancer, and on and on. I doubt if my sick friend would say those things. It’s the friend who posted who needs to believe that our sick friend would say that.

I took my post off my Facebook wall which made me angry at myself. Not at this woman but at me. We all react to death and dying differently. This woman is having a hard time coping with the fact that our friend might not be around too much longer and I appreciate her feelings but I’m much more pragmatic than she is. There’s nothing wrong with facing the truth when it’s slapping you in the face. Screaming that things aren’t so bad will not change the situation but, as I said, people deal with this topic their own way.

My friend needs to be able to talk with her family and close friends. Just because she feels depressed doesn’t mean she will give up her fight, she needs to talk about it.

I will post this on my blog and it will automatically come up on my Facebook page. I will not take it down. I’ve stepped back from Facebook because of what happened last Friday and only discussed it with one person early Saturday morning. She knows who she is and I thank her so much for her sage advice.

I’ve allowed myself to be bullied my whole life and after 65 years you would think I could ignore it. From now on I will not allow anyone to bully me into not expressing my ideas or thoughts. If you don’t like what I have to say then keep on moving. I have every right to talk about whatever or whomever I like and since my friend wants me, no, needs me to talk about her, I will.

I hope my friend does see Christmas this year, and Valentine’s Day next year, and her next birthday but I also know that there is a chance that she might not. No matter what, I will support her and I want her to know that it’s okay not to fight, it’s okay to live the rest of the life you have in peace and pain free, it’s okay to close your eyes and enjoy the day.

I love you Janette.

The Ghostly Flutist

The Ghostly Flutist

I talk and write about my sister, Adrienne, a lot. She was very important to me. When she died from colon cancer in 2009 I thought my life was going to end too. It was horrible. But I somehow got through it even though I still get very depressed and think a lot about her when her birthday rolls around on March 21. March is also Colon Cancer Awareness month.

Not many people know this about Ade but she was a gifted flutist, or flautist if you prefer. She started playing the flute when she was in 7th grade and by the time she was in college her talent was incredible. She majored in music as an undergraduate and when she went on for her graduate degree. I was so proud.

Everyday she’d practice for hours filling our apartment building courtyard with classical music. Mr. Brovender, who lived on the second floor opposite our apartment, would sit and listen to Ade’s practice sessions. Once his wife asked him a question and he turned to her and said, “Hush, Adrienne is playing her flute.” Mrs. Brovender, who wasn’t angry at her husband, told my mother that story.

Ade could have had a great career but in her 20’s arthritis got to her fingers and shortly thereafter the disease went to her hips and by the time she was in her 30’s she could barely walk. But she always kept playing her flute. Her fingers hurt all the time as she played but she couldn’t give up her love of that instrument.

Then the cancer manifested itself a few years later. Her health problems were too much for her and she had to stop playing but she listened to her classical music all the time.

Eventually Adrienne passed. The last three years of life had no music in it. She couldn’t play and she didn’t want to listen to music any longer.

Adrienne told me where she kept her two flutes and her piccolo and after her death every so often I would put the cheaper flute together and blow a note. She taught me how to get a note out of her instruments. Playing a flute and piccolo is a little tricky. You don’t just put your lips on it a get a note to come out. You have to kind of put it below your bottom lip, twist the instrument up, bring your lips down, breathe a little air into it, and with any luck you get a note. You do that all while holding both arms up at mouth height pressing on a ton of buttons. Well, it was tricky for me.

About two years ago I was laying in bed reading. The light was on, it was the middle of the day, and I was wide awake when suddenly I heard two notes from a flute. I looked up and around the room, my heart thumping. The room was quiet. I thought maybe I heard a pipe making noise or someone doing something or other in another apartment. Noise travels strangely in apartment buildings.

After a few minutes of listening I decided that I didn’t hear anything and went back to my book. Things were quiet and I was happily reading for another seven minutes or so when I heard the two flute notes again. I was afraid now. The notes came from Adrienne’s bed where she spent so much time lying through her cancer ordeal. I looked at the bed, stopped reading, and listened some more. All was quiet the rest of the day and that night.

The next day I was reading in the bedroom during the afternoon and I heard the flute again. I put the book down and laid there listening, not doing anything else. Ten minutes later the flute notes chimed out for the fourth time in two days. This was too much for me. I sat up in bed and said out loud, “Ady, I know you’re playing your flute to let me know that you’re still with me and love me. I know you don’t want me to feel alone and to understand that you’ll always be with me and I do need to know that. But you playing your flute frightens me. I don’t know why but it scares me. I know you would never hurt me but please don’t play your flute to me. It really frightens me to hear it.”

That was the last time I heard her playing. I feel bad asking her not to play because I knew she was doing it for me. I know that Ade is still walking around this apartment. I feel her, I sense her. Sometimes her presence is so strong that I say hello to her and tell her I love her and am happy that she’s still with me.

You can believe this or not, I’m not writing this to convince anyone that my sister is somehow still around.

Is there life after death? I don’t know but I tend to believe there is or I hope that there is because  I need to talk with my sister again.

As for Adrienne’s flutes and piccolo, I’ll keep them and when I pass they will be sent to my good friend and “sista” in New Jersey who loves flute music as much as Adrienne and myself.

This is an old Polaroid of Adrienne in 2004. She couldn’t walk because of her arthritis. Her walker is just out of camera view.

To see more of my childhood memories go to  S.A.K. Remembers on my blog.