No antecedent necessary.

Tonight: absolution through quiet sadness. Tonight is one of those nights that I damn the human mind's capacity to remember, especially of things that should have been let go many years ago.

A few nights ago I had a dream about Rustina. Rustina Wear, gone these fifteen years, gone one year less than she lived—the girl who was my sister's childhood best friend. I would make expected and pithy statements about how her untimely death in a freak car accident was one that affected us deeply.

Except that I can't say any such things. I only know of her death through her absence. Does that make sense? I don't remember much about her except to remember the hole that was in her place after she was gone.What I dreamed about was the poem written on the back of her headstone. When my sister and her classmates cleaned out Rustina's locker at school, they found bits and pieces of poetry scribbled on pieces of paper jammed into her locker. Some consolation, then, that they found something emotionally fitting that was short enough to be inscribed on her headstone.

I have a picture of the stone in my memory book. It was the last picture on a roll of film, and thus the colors were damaged. I haven't read the inscription in years; I don't have to. I can't recite the entire piece from memory, but I do remember a two-line couplet that has stayed with me since the moment I finally, truly, awfully comprehended it:

"There is always the time
For washing the dishes
But never enough time
For wishing your wishes."

- then, in my dream, I walk away.

Sometimes I wish my sister had talked about her. I always had the sense that I missed something; Rustina's name was rarely mentioned. She was "she," a pronoun with no antecedent. No antecedent necessary. But every time my sister would mention her friends—we teased her about how she would say the ungrammatical phrase "Me an' Sherry an' Adriel" so fast it sounded like one word—yet we could always hear the fourth name that wasn't added in anymore.

When I awoke from the dream, I was most stunned by a realization of age. At the time of her death, I was nine. Since that time, my perception of age difference has not changed, even though my actual age has. Even now, I picture her as being nine years older than my current age. The part that kept me awake was realizing that I am almost nine years older than she will ever be.

I found this strangely hard to accept.