"That sound," she says, "It's in my spirit. I still jump now. I hear that bomb in my sleep."
The room was reduced to pieces. Left behind were a seven-by-seven foot hole in the wall and a crater more than five feet wide and two feet deep, as described in Diane McWhorters's seminal book, "Carry Me Home." Remnants of the eastern wall of the basement blew to the western wall.
The window exploded. Glass flew into Sarah's eyes, face and chest. She was blinded and screamed, "Addie! Addie!" There was no response.
People have said that Sarah was found under the rubble, and that she had been in a separate room with the stalls and that's what saved her. But her memory is different. She says she never left that sink in the lounge and remained standing.
"God didn't let me fall on the floor," she says.
She was scooped up under her arms by a churchgoer and taken outside.
Later, with her 15-year-old sister Janie beside her, "I asked where Addie was. She said Addie hurt her back and was going to come visit me tomorrow," Sarah remembers. "She didn't want me to be upset." She learned the truth when she overheard Janie telling a nurse that Addie had been killed. For more than two months she remained in the hospital and cried for Addie.
She lost sight in her right eye, and would later have to have it replaced with a prosthetic. Her left eye still has a piece of glass in it, but she says it doesn't hurt. She developed glaucoma as a teenager, but thanks to the right doctor and glasses she says she sees out of it just fine.
When she got home, she says her mother was too torn up about Addie to focus on her. Instead, Janie stepped in.
Sarah's face had been peppered with glass. Another piece had lodged in her chest. Doctors removed what they could, but there was more.
"She'd pick glass from my face when it rose to the surface," Sarah says.
Strangers didn't reach out to comfort or hug her, she says. She wonders if her scarred appearance frightened them. She missed months of school, fell behind and when she came back she said one of her teachers had little patience for her.
"I was feeling like I was dead on the inside because of how I was treated," she says.
The feeling of being overlooked -- by strangers, teachers, those who might have been in a position to help her -- stuck with Sarah.
No one at home talked about the bombing.
Her family struggled. Her father, who died in 1967, bused tables in a Chinese restaurant while her mother worked as a housekeeper. Up until Addie was gone, Sarah shared a bed with three sisters -- "two at the head, and two at the feet," she says.
Sarah didn't grow up surrounded by the sorts of role models the McNair, Robertson and Wesley sisters had. Even so, she says she dreamed of becoming a nurse. Addie, who loved drawing, would have been an artist, she says.
Their mother was a committed churchgoer. They went to 16th Street Baptist Church and sang in the choir. But when it reopened about nine months later, Sarah couldn't stand being inside. While the other victims' families found comfort there, within two or three weeks Sarah's family stopped going.
She never did get counseling and thinks it's too late for that. She would later turn to alcohol and marijuana to dull the pain. Neither made her hurt less.
"I had to get saved," says Sarah, 62, who finished high school, spent years casting metal in a foundry and now is a housekeeper. "The only thing that helped me was getting closer to God," which she did in 1986.
She had two failed marriages and wasn't able to have children.
"Mama said I was never going to have kids," she says, "because I still have glass in my stomach."
On her birthday in 2000, she married George Rudolph, a man she had gone to high school with years before. He still cries when he hears her testimony.
The coffee table in their living room is littered with memorabilia. Articles from over the years, some yellowed, sit in a pile. Books about the civil rights era are in balanced stacks. She opens one to show an old black-and-white photograph of herself in a hospital bed, the bandages still covering her eyes. Amid these historical footnotes are certificates of appreciation, a key to a city, a silver cup from a university -- all meant to honor who she is.
These things, though, are mere tokens. No matter the happiness she's found with George and the salvation she found in the Lord, at times Sarah still simmers.
She's moved through life feeling forgotten. She testified at all three murder trials, but objects to the fact that there was never a trial for the attempted murder of her.
Doug Jones, who prosecuted the last two trials, praised the significance of Sarah's testimony. But he said the statute of limitations for attempted murder had long passed by the time the state reopened the investigation in 1971.
Sarah also resents that strangers benefit from her sister's death -- scholarships are given in the four girls' names -- while she says she's gotten nothing.
"You'd think they'd do something for the living, but the dead get more, I'll tell you that," she says.
They've done nothing formally -- "Yet," she says -- but Sarah and her husband hold out hopes for restitution for the suffering she's endured and for the loss of her sister. Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and 9/11 got their due, says George -- why not her? Shoot, he adds, a bus monitor who was bullied by students came into hundreds of thousands in cash.
This is why earlier this year, she -- and Fate Morris, Cynthia Wesley's biological brother -- shunned an invitation to Washington, to be by President Barack Obama's side as he signed a bill to grant the four girls, posthumously, the Congressional Gold Medal. They wanted money, not medals, they said at the time. Months later, however, they did attend the September 10 ceremony to receive the actual medals.
There's an irony to Sarah's outlook. She feels ignored, but she doesn't like to put herself out there. When Spike Lee approached her to be in his highly acclaimed documentary about the bombing, she refused, she says, because he wouldn't pay her anything.
"That's why no one knows about me," she admits, before saying she has no regrets.
When Bern Nadette Stanis, an actress best known for her role in the TV show "Good Times," visited, saying she wanted to play the part of Sarah in a proposed stage performance about her life, Sarah took a look at the contract and refused to sign. She says it "didn't look right."
Last November, a Birmingham News article focused just on her. It is framed and featured prominently in her home.
Near it hangs something that means as much, if not more, to her. It is a large pencil drawing of the four girls, given to her at an event where she was honored, yet one more piece of art depicting what was lost. But in this one there is a fifth girl in the picture -- Sarah.
She is not in the background but instead sits front and center. And with her arm around Sarah sits Addie -- one of four girls whose deaths would spark change, touch strangers and shape the future of siblings. Though their paths may have diverged and their memories may vary, they will forever share a piece of history.