“Why didn’t you tell me?” I regret the words as soon as I speak them. “Never mind, forget I said that. It came out all wrong.”

My mind searches for words that would be right, but I fail. The silence is awkward, but far preferable to unintentional wounds. I sit up and take her hands; she slides onto the bed beside me. Even though it’s been years—even though I don’t feel entitled to her love, I know it’s there. Now I know what to say, what she needs to hear. I also know that once I do, she’ll forgive me.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. It was selfish and shallow, and I don’t deserve your forgiveness. Nothing I can say would ever come close to justifying staying away from you for as long as I did. But I’m here now, and I love you. If you want to talk about it, I’ll listen and if you don’t, I won’t push.”

Her eyes are wet as she pulls me into her arms. It isn’t long before mine are, too. Time passes, but I’m not sure how much. It doesn’t matter; I could stay here forever in the quiet contentment of knowing I have my sister back. When Alice breaks the silence, it’s as if we’ve never been apart.

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