“No one puts Baby in a corner.”

Just about every memory I have before the age of seventeen is attached to my twin sister, a reality I’ve always hated, especially now that she is not an active part of my life. But, when something is that much a part of you, you tend to forget. And now that my days are no longer peppered with phone calls from her, which would have been peppered with so many spoken reminiscences, I barely even think about it. That is, until something happens to remind me. It isn’t as gentle as that, though. When the reminder comes, it’s more like a slap in the face.

My husband and I have season tickets to Broadway Across America, which is exactly what it sounds like: touring Broadway musicals that travel from city to city and include our hometown of Houston. Once a month from September through July, we schedule a babysitter and drive to Hobby Center, a beautiful performing arts hall accented with red carpet and pearly marble. Sometime in November, the show was none other than Dirty Dancing.

We parked the car in the garage, then walked the red carpet around the gift shop and down a tunnel until we approached double glass doors. It was sometime between the elevator and the stairs that I realized it. Dirty Dancing. I was nine when it came out, but I don’t remember hearing about it until I was eleven. Our best friend–everything was “our”–told us about it by way of song. Clara would sing songs from the soundtrack on the way to the cafeteria for lunch, or in the car when my mom picked her up with us for a sleepover date, or in class under her breath. Sometimes she wrote the lyrics out on lined notebook paper and slipped them to me or to Addie, and we’d share them with the other as soon as we reunited between classes. My mother would never have let us watch that movie. Did we sneak it on cable at my dad’s? That was back before parental approval codes and before my father stopped paying for premium channels. Did Clara have it on VHS? Her parents weren’t as strict with movies as ours were. Either way, my sister and I were determined to watch it and we found a way.

More than once. Once we’d seen the dancing and Patrick Swayzee and his black collared shirt and tight black pants and Jennifer Gray dancing in her underwear and Penny’s tiny waistline, we couldn’t get enough. It was the first movie we got obsessed with as early teenagers, the first soundtrack we had memorized (with the exception of Disney movies like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast). My father made a copy of the soundtrack on a tape for us, and we played it on the tape deck we shared, which sat on the desk we shared, which stood in the room we shared. We sang along, we recorded ourselves singing, we took turns, we played roles from the movie, we talked about it long after we were supposed to be asleep.

If Addie were in my life, I’d be seeing it with her. We’d be whispering lyrics in each other’s ears. We’d be giggling at the makeshift car scenes. We’d be texting about it into the night, we’d be talking about it the next day. I felt oddly alone as I watched it, my husband’s hand in mine, and as I couldn’t help myself from mouthing the words to every song. It is times like these, when I am catapulted back into my childhood, that I miss my sister most.

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