Tuesday, November 22, 2011



There were years of laughter and tears
In-between times that could have been fantasy or memory.
Following the tender times, were the final destructions.
With the lies and disappointments, here ended the relationship of child and sister.

Those are words written by my fifteen year old self. I hardly recognize them, and I certainly don’t remember writing them.
My earliest childhood memory is of my Granny and my sister. I was holding my Granny’s hand, looking at my sister on her bed, as she rolled the cord around her hair dryer. I remember clearly, looking all the way up my Granny’s arm to her face, but I don’t remember what she looked like. I only remember she was wearing a scarf on her head. I remember feeling sad. When I ask my sister about that memory, she tells me that it was the day she was moving out of our house, and out on her own.
I have a favorite photo of my sister. She is in her twenties. Her hair is a golden brown, airy mass of curls in a short style, parted ever so slightly in the middle. She is holding two of her Pekinese dogs, one in each arm, sitting on the floor with her legs tucked underneath her. She is looking down at them with a slight smile on her face. True to the current style, she is wearing cut off jean shorts, showing off her tanned, slender legs, and a grey, faded Mickey Mouse t shirt with black bands on the arms. I think it is the most beautiful picture I have ever seen of my sister. She is natural, picturesque, and happy.
There are many photos of my sister that evoke a much different feeling in me. Mostly they are of disillusionment, sorrow and loss. You see, when I think of all the things I remember of my sister, I can think of the instant I lost her. Not physically, of course, but I lost the sister I had always known, and continued to see her diminish more and more.
I was fifteen, hiding in the bathroom, reading a letter that my brother in law had written to my sister. A few months earlier, he broke the news to her that he found out he had a child with an older woman he had “experimented” with when he was just 18. It also happened to be right before he met my sister. Well, as you can imagine it was a shock to my sister that he had a kid out there, as they had their own child that was only 2 years younger than his illegitimate child.
As I read this letter, I felt guilt for having snagged it off my sister’s dresser, heartbreak for my brother in law as he professed his love for her, and despair as I realized my family was breaking up. My brother in law was more than just by sister’s husband; he was my father figure, as my own dad was not in my life. He never let me take a bus at night, would drive me and pick me up wherever I wanted to go, never let my brother’s bully me, and he treated me like I was a princess!
With this break up, my world would not be the same, and neither would theirs or the kids. Circumstances changed the course of life. My memories faded away, of the sister who would have me for sleep over’s, bake me a vanilla chocolate chip cake, give me her worn clothes, pick me up mini cakes every pay day from my favorite bakery. Slowly fading away were the memories of the sister who cleaned her house every Saturday morning, lunched on tuna sandwiches and pickles while reading the paper on the floor, laughed with her kids, gave selflessly.
With her divorce, and the years to follow, came a sister who was consumed by her need to have a man in her life, was altered by the number of over the counter drugs that ravaged her body and mostly her mind. Gone forever was the sister I trusted, loved, looked up to, and craved to be around. Those memories are hidden deep in a place I cannot summon up at any given time, but they are there nonetheless. I carry these memories, of a person I love, that I will hold close to my heart. I miss having a sister emotionally, but here is the good thing about memories...as the people are gone or changed forever, our memories stay just the way they were.

As always, thanks for reading!


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