Sarah had never picked someone up from the airport before. It was maybe a strange thing to fixate on, but it really did feel like a milestone, another sign that she was finally getting her shit together. A steady paycheck, PTA meetings, and now, picking her sister up from the airport. Sarah Manning, responsible adult. She didn’t hate the sound of it.
She barely recognized the woman who walked through the doors, with her deep tan and oversized lei and flowing cotton dress, until she ran headfirst into Sarah, swallowing her into a tight hug. She smelled overwhelmingly like sunblock.
“Hello, sestra,” she said. “Good to see you.”
Sarah laughed, lost somewhere in her sister’s hair.
The car ride home was a loud one, Helena excitedly recounting the way the ocean looked and how the food tasted and a full five minutes spent gushing about a turtle she saw.
“Sounds like an adventure,” Sarah laughed. “Sorry I missed it.”
And she was. Helena had been begging for months for a fun vacation, just the two of them, but Sarah was never able to find the time. Being a responsible adult was a double-edged sword. Eventually, the guilt became too much and she had to suggest Helena go it alone.
“Next time,” Helena said, hopeful. “Twin adventure.”
“Yeah,” Sarah said, nodding. “Next time.”
She turned to her sister, the both of them smiling warmly at each other. It was then Sarah noticed the thick bags under her eyes.
“Shit, Helena. You look exhausted.”
“I’m fine,” she said.
Five minutes later, she was asleep.
Sarah had to gently shake her awake once they reached the house.
“Come on, Meathead,” Sarah said. “Let’s get you to bed.”
Sarah pulled a grumbling Helena to her feet, the smell of coconut invading her nostrils.
“God,” Sarah chuckled as Helena struggled to move under her own weight. “Did you get any sleep at all?”
Helena shook her head, nearly toppling over with the effort.
“I can’t sleep when you are not close to me.”
Sarah wasn’t sure what to say to that, so she just kept dragging her sister forward in silence. Eventually, they reached the bed. Helena collapsed onto it with a heavy groan.
“Good night, Sarah. Thank you.”
Sarah turned to leave, then paused at the door.
“Everything’s alright now,” she said. “You know that, right?”
“Mm,” Helena murmured, rolling onto her side.
Sarah slipped outside, gently sliding the door closed behind her.