My name is Adele. I used to be the oldest of five siblings.

That’s what I always say when people try to meet me. My name is Adele. I used to be the oldest of five siblings.

My new mom says that I should say something else. My name is Adele and I like to paint watercolors. My name is Adele and I’m in eleventh grade. My name is Adele and I have a pet rat named Baxter. My name is Adele and I’m still new around these parts. Or just My name is Adele.

All of those things are true. I know it puts people off when I talk about my dead sister and brothers. I even practice it in my head sometimes, My name is Adele. My name is Adele. Stop there, stop there.

But somehow whenever I meet someone who knows nothing about me, that’s the only thing that’s in my head. That’s the only thing I think they need to know about me. My name is Adele and I used to have four younger siblings.

Some people are confused when I say this. But Adele, they say, don’t you have four younger siblings now?

Yes, but they’re different ones. And they’re wonderful, of course. All younger sisters are brothers are wonderful, even when they come in your room without permission and ruin your things and feed your pet until he’s a fat little ball of fur. Even when they cry because they’re hungry and you don’t have anything to give them and it’s cold and dark and the tree branches are tapping at the window like long bony fingers on the glass. Even when they aren’t with you anymore and never will be again.

I love my new siblings, I do. But I’ll never forget my lost ones.

So when people say that, say, But you have two little sisters and two little brothers now, I say Yes. And I try to smile. Sometimes it works better than others.

Nathan. Esther. Johnny. Kenneth. They want me to forget them. They want me to stop saying their names over and over every night before I sleep. They hope that if I write it all down here, set it out in open air, let it go down the flow of the internet like a bark in stream, I’ll finally be done with them. I don’t know if it will work. I doubt it. But I said I would try.

I don’t know what else to say here. I told you what you need to know about me already. My name is Adele. I used to be the oldest of five siblings. What else is there to say?

Maybe I’ll think of something else tomorrow. Probably not, though. This is all I want to say.

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