the sandlucas (a joint effort by sara and lisi)

the wolcott children have a tradition of missing each other’s birthdays. we always seem to be on opposite sides of the globe on the day in question. so, in lieu of actually being there for each other, we’ve come up with creative ways of saying hey- i’m thinking of you. like for example, hiking to the top of a mountain and shouting happy birthday sara in the appropriate direction, trusting that the winds would carry the message on.

on this particular day, in order to mark the 26th birthday of our beloved brother, sara and i went to the beach. from the moment we opened our eyes that morning, we were inundated with special reminders – shall we say omens – of luke’s special day. the radio played the happy birthday song in kinyarwanda during breakfast, and when we stopped at the internet cafe, the 50 cent song “in da club” blared from a nearby computer (“yo shorty, its ya birthday, we gonna party like it’s ya birthday”).

so we hardly could’ve forgotten. we spent all morning brainstorming, scheming up different ways to celebrate as would do the man justice. we imagined climbing the tallest tree in gisenyi (which unfortunately was a palm tree and neither of us are that agile). we discussed having all the students of apagie sing michael jackson’s “don’t stop till you get enough” (but as we were no longer in musha this was logistically impossible). finally we settled on building an effigy of his face out of sand.

with waves crashing, and magic-hour approaching, we located a perfect patch of beach to give the four foot by two-and-a-half foot lucas the best view of the lake and the volcano in the distance. then we set to work. a strong jaw-line was sculpted, a distinguished forehead carved, and eye-sockets shaped. lisi delegated herself the task of chiseling the perfect chin while sara added bushy eyebrows and spiky hair. a face emerged from the sand, rose from our fingertips, summoned by our memories. now came the challenging task of calling forth… the nose. sara, for obvious reasons, was chosen to produce the likeness. a bordewieck bridge mounted between eyes glittering with volcanic residue. the defining wolcott feature rose, a promythean rock admidst the smooth dunes of his cheekbones. nostrils were dug and earlobes added.

then, out of nowhere, an unfortunate wave attacked from the south and returned his once prominent, now crumbling, chin from whence it came. lisi made furious attempts at reconstruction but to no avail. poseidon would have his way on this occasion. as lisi’s shoulders slumped in resignation, sara, giving her a pat on the back, said “you did the best you could.”

the two wolcott sisters stepped back into the crowd of 40 adolescent onlookers who had gathered, and admired the masterpiece that is our brother. we gave him a kiss on the cheek and warmest birthday wishes and then walked off into the sunset.

“it’s a shame about his chin,” lisi said.

sara replied, “like he hasn’t heard that before.”

hiking through the sugar cane luke in sunscreen i carried a pineapple (really, i carried both of them, luke just posed for the picture)

happy birthday luke.

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~ by aliciawolcott on May 2, 2008.

2 Responses to “the sandlucas (a joint effort by sara and lisi)”

  1. No, my little sister is the only one that insults my chin. And just last night someone flung a large flat tiger mask off a stage and it spun at my face and bounced off my “bordewieck bridge”, which now has an open wound. If it weren’t for the broad platform and bony buttresses on that promethean rock, someone could’ve lost an eye.

  2. bony buttresses, nice. really, i think that the bordewiecks have just adapted faster than the rest of the human race, because clearly an abnormally large nose is a bit like a helmet. i don’t need protective gear, i’ve got a nose.

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