When my sister was little, our parents took her to the doctor because they were afraid that something was wrong. This was before I was born, so I don’t remember it, but the doctor gave my sister a full physical.
“She looks fine,” the doctor said.
“Please,” said our mom. “She looks fine, but when she walks, there’s a problem.”
The doctor took my sister into the long hallway at the back of his office. There were doors leading in all different directions to all different offices. The adults stood back and watched my sister walk towards the end of the hall.
“Parents have a tendency to worry,” said the doctor. “She’s perfectly healthy.”
“Ok,” said my dad. “Then go get her.”
The doctor started walking to the end of the hall and nearly stepped on my sister. It looked like she had walked far away, but instead she had shrunk.
“My lord,” said the doctor.
“We told you,” said my dad. “The only way to get her back to normal size is if she walks backwards.”
“And if she walks sideways?”
My dad sighed and plugged his ears. My mom nodded at my sister to walk to the side.
This time my sister actually did move, and she stayed normal size while she did it. The only problem now was that as soon as my sister took a step, country music started playing like at a square dance. Some invisible caller shouted out, “Step to the side, step to the side, dosey-doe.”
“Ok,” shouted my dad. He grew up on a farm and there was nothing he hated more than square dancing.
There was nothing the doctor or any specialist could do.
It was ok for my sister when we were growing up though. Sometimes she would walk backwards until she was a giant and let me ride around town on her shoulders, and she’d always get into the movies for free. She’d shrink down really small and sneak in in my pocket. The ushers always knew, but they let us get away with it.
Our dad would wear earplugs whenever my sister was around, and when we left town, she would shrink down and ride in a pouch around his neck. Our mom had sewn the pouch especially for her.
“The town is fine,” our dad would always say, “but we don’t need the whole earth knowing our business.”
It all worked out pretty well until my sister was fifteen. By then, she had a deaf boyfriend who didn’t care about the music blasting every time she walked, and she was starting to wonder which other fifteen-year-olds had to ride around in a little pouch every time they left town. Besides, the pouch
was getting worn out, and our mom wasn’t around to make a new one. She had been killed in a shark attack when I was ten and my sister was thirteen. Only her pinky toe had washed up onto shore.