You’ll be happy, at first, that she met him. Her last boyfriend, the guy she stayed with for six years, was a drug addict. Your parents hated her with him. They begged her to leave him. She did this, eventually, only on her own time, only after he threatened to burn down her apartment, something she laughed about later. Your parents could never understand why she stayed so long. Only you recognize that this is your sister’s nature, that she’s a fixer.
In time, she’ll mention things, like the salty taste of his skin, the cough that he suffers through each morning, the crimson-black of the blood she’ll find in the sink.
You’ll learn of his illness in some off-handed way, some side dish manner that characterizes your sister’s way of speaking. It’ll be the first time you learn of cystic fibrosis. You won’t fully understand it, won’t grasp the gravity of what it means to have a terminal illness, what it means to be in love with a man who has a terminal illness. You won’t research the statistics of how long someone with this condition might live. You’ll be too selfish then to notice or consider your sister’s future already set in motion, even if your opinion would have curbed her decisions, which you know it wouldn’t have. You’ll see only your sister rubbing his back, talking with him in low voices in rooms filled with people.