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To My Darling Little Sister

A Continuation of "A Dysfunctional Family, A Dysfunctional World..."

By Just DanielPublished 2 years ago Updated 3 months ago 11 min read
4
To My Darling Little Sister
Photo by Matthew Osborn on Unsplash

To my darling little sister,

How are you? I hope you are well. I hope you are happy, laughing, and able to experience the most blissful future that we never had when we were children. You are me and I am you, but you know this already. You have known this for a long time now. However, you are also not me, you will never be me and thank the gods that it will be so. I remember, I remember so much... Too much even, and yet at some points of my life, of our lives that have been intertwined, I don't remember much at all, yet. Memory is a fickle thing, it comes and goes, but well, since I remember most things as of this moment, shall we start at the beginning?

By Tengyart on Unsplash

And away we go!

By Kevin Gent on Unsplash

First, let me give some background on myself. I am nine years older than my little sister. Yeah, quite the age gap, I know. So you can basically say that I experienced a whole world, a whole lifetime, a whole generation before you. But most importantly, I got to experience everything before you for you and yet, that everything felt like nothing without you.

Dear little sister:

You see, from a young age, I felt what most people struggle with later in life, but it is a persistent, constant thing that nags at the edge of your mind. It is something that I think less children would like to acknowledge or fail to recognize until some time significant time later in their lives.

That something is: Loneliness.

Yes, I felt this very much and I had the briefest, lightest touches of the experience starting from the age of four. Of course, I didn't know much at that time, but I remember, oh I remember. There is a saying that is pretty well known and every language has its own version of it:

"The axe forgets, but the tree remembers."

The beginning of the scarring.

I was a shy child. SO shy, SUPER shy. Perhaps the shyest out of anyone who had ever walked this planet. I was so shy that even when aunties and uncles and other relatives approached me at birthday parties or other family gatherings, I would panic and hide behind my mom or grandma's dress or pant leg and only after a few more encounters would I slowly open up to familiar faces. Looking back now, I laugh and am in awe of how far I have come, puzzled at how I ever survived as a shy child, and how I wouldn't have come anywhere close to this state if it wasn't for you.

I knew I grew up... different. Well differently from the small world of people in our neighborhood and intermediate people around me. I saw kids my age with both parents, going to this event, going to that event, buying the next coolest toy or being very excited about some TV show that they were going to watch on cable. These things didn't really bother me, but at the same time I was always noticing and wondering why were these things different from the things in my life. I started comparing and my curiosity just grew and grew. I also didn't quite understand why things were so drastically different from our family compared to others, but I learned that on my own too, as with most things in life...

Mom and dad weren't quite the absent type, well yes and no. They would do things with me and take me places but they would always want me to do things in their vision, their version of things, dad particularly so.

But you know this already. For better or for worse, what I experienced, you experienced too.

They worked a lot, had long commutes and so I was by myself most of the time. I was alone at home with grandma and I talked with grandma in her language, which was not English. In fact, I can tell you for a fact that I did not know how to speak English until elementary/grade school. As far as speaking English properly, HAH, well that came much later as well. My disposition of being a shy child and cowering in the face of opposition and authority made me not want to speak at all sometimes. I take that back; many a times. I had this.. problem with adults, but once I got introduced to my friends in school and to you, I blossomed. I did so much with you guys that for once, I completely forgot my loneliness, the dark shadow that always loomed over me and everything I did.

I remember one day, mom asked me if I wanted a little sibling, a little brother or a little sister. I wasn't quite sure what was being asked of me but when mom explained and said I would have someone to play with, my eyes immediately brightened and even with my shy disposition, I was practically jumping up and down on the inside and on the outside, I nodded vigorously a few times before going away to tell grandma that I was going to have a little sibling!

It was the longest few months of my life! I remember I kept asking mom when my little sibling was going to be born, I was impatient! I was shy but dang was I also impatient! And then you came, you finally came in the spring. The call from the hospital came and grandpa and grandma on dad's side picked me and grandma on mom's side up in grandpa's car so that we could go together and visit you. My were you a sight to behold. I was all sorts of excited before but right as I entered the hospital room and I was situated from the back, for some unknown reason, I felt all sorts of nervousness as I approached you. I was so curious, everything about you was fascinating. You had nice rosy cheeks, maybe a bit too rosy haha. I thought you might've looked a bit too warm or uncomfortable because you were squirming a bit and well, I was worried about you for you. After all the adults took their turns to hold you and bounce you around in their arms a little, it was finally my turn.

I felt all ten of your little sausage fingers and all ten of you little sausage toes and I breathed a sigh of relief that all of them were intact. I have no idea why now but I was fixated on that little detail at the time that you should have ten intact fingers and ten intact toes. I didn't focus on anything else but those were the two things that I did focus on. Mom and the others also were a bit panicked as I didn't cradle your head properly and quickly adjusted my arms to protect your head from lopping over. I also marveled at how small you were. You looked so small and fragile that I knew right away that I knew I had to protect you. I had to protect you at all costs. The darkness that was inside me and inside everybody else, I wouldn't let that touch you at all costs. Idealistic and naïve of me really.

You. You were so fussy oh my gosh. You were this little silent bundle at the hospital but when you came home, you cried a lot, so much, every hour and I would not know what to do with you, but I learned. That is because I tried everything in the book and outside of the book to comfort you.

As you grew up, there were many foods you did not like and did not eat. You had ailments where you would throw up everything that you had just eaten or have nosebleeds that would last the entire night. Mom and I would pray to have your nosebleed stop soon because we tried everything else to have your nosebleed stop, but it just wouldn't. We didn't know how to keep the nutrients out of your small body for it seemed like your body rejected more things than we were keeping in it. However, thankfully you eventually grew out of it as we found foods that agreed with you more and your small, fragile constitution. However, even that changed as you bonded with me more as we wrestled and fought with each other. You became strong, much stronger than anyone would've expected from a young girl.

Ah but as you were in elementary, this was when I was already learning to become an adult. Also when you were little and did things wrong, I remember the first time that you got punished by dad. He got off work late and he was gruff and tired and you did something that irked him. It was something minor but it really got on his nerves. He made you suffer the same punishment that I had suffered many a times by telling you to go into the garage with no lights and if you wouldn't go yourself, he would firmly push you into the garage. He would also check up on you so that if you tried to turn on the lights with the light switch, he would come in and quickly switch it off for you. Sometimes he would even lock the door to the house so you couldn't come back in. The first time this happened, my eyes widened and I would beg him not to lock you in but to no avail. So? I went in with you and kept you company and warm. That is because the garage is quite a bit colder than the inside of the house and you also feel cold from being in the complete dark. This would be the first of many "field trips" to the garage.

Of course, this was still better than other punishments, luckily you for almost all of them, was spared from. You never had the amount of intense spankings I got from dad whenever I did something wrong or broke something. Sometimes it was the hand, sometimes it was a slipper, sometimes it was the edge of a metal clothes hanger. Those hangers really hurt. I hated them. I also grew to fear dad, but that still didn't compare to my love for you. I still had a goal to protect and shelter you from the cruel, dark world. Do you still remember the times when you rode on me like a horse and go on piggyback rides? Do you remember when you rode on my shoulders so you could be taller and I would run short distances? I always wondered what the view would be like from up there. However, unbeknownst to me, with me protecting and sheltering you, you grew close to me in that you would follow in my footsteps, in academics and extracurricular activities.

We did not do sports. It was an extra fee we could not afford. I felt troubled whenever our parents argued over our finances and then at family dinners our relatives would also argue over money and about splitting the bill a certain way when they clearly knew we weren't in the most stable financial state. However, maybe we were. Maybe we were and we weren't. I'm not quite sure at what time we became stable or if we were stable enough from the beginning but I remember eating expired food with mom that had been expired for many years from the pantry. Dad did not like our lifestyle but it seemed like we couldn't afford to live a different lifestyle so I never asked for anything from them.

And then the pressures of school and education ahahaha. The force, pressure, and mindset that our parents instilled into us is truly laughable. For our father who gave up his education and found a stable job "for his family" who set up the most unrealistic expectations and requirements for his children to fulfill when he came nowhere close to fulfilling those expectations himself; and our mother, who is one of the hardworking individuals on the planet who has boundless energy taking care of her family and expecting her son and daughter to follow in her footsteps of being able to study nonstop and achieve high results with hard work; I did my best to meet those expectations and even go beyond, but it was not enough. It was never enough.

My senior year of high school when I had many external circumstances happening outside of my control, I still had to focus on my studies and I worked hard, very hard, probably the hardest juggling everything in my life. And then I took a breath. That breath was taken one moment too soon because that breath was fatal and immediately led to my demise. The parents stormed into my room and looked through my belongings and everything. Everything that I had written on my computer, anything that I left open was to be untouched. To this day, I do not know what was read, what was left unread, what was touched and what was left untouched. I do not care and I do not want to know. I have an excellent memory but some little things are meant to be buried in the dark deep forever. Again, I was told that "I was not there yet and I would never be there" wherever and whatever there might be. Again, the feeling inadequacy of no matter what I do, it is never enough.

I left the room shocked. I felt the cold grip me that winter evening. The one time in a long while where I thought things were going in the right direction was stripped away from me. I was lost and sinking faster and faster into a black hole spiral. I needed to escape somewhere. Fast.

The window on the second story. It directly overlooked the back patio. I could end it all, right then and there. I could finally be free. Before that, I moved from room to room, lifeless, uncomprehending of what led up to my demise and what to do from that point forward. It took a few hours, but I was finally ready to jump when I heard mom's voice from outside the door and asked if I was in the room. There was tapping on the door and the rattling of the door handle. I wiped the stale tear streaks from my face and answered in as loud of a voice as I could muster but it came out as a whisper that I was coming. I opened the door, dad asked what I was doing inside the room. I didn't answer. And so? Well, I lived. Or rather I lived a living death for the next few years, trying to fill the void in my heart, stapling it together, only to have it bleeding and oozing profusely through the cracks. I shut myself away, unconsciously and not opening myself up to anyone. I even shut my grandparents away and even you. Especially you. I didn't want you to fall down the same trap that I fell in and have that disgusting feeling of betrayal.

You tried to search for this kind, sincere, honest brother that you once knew. But he was there no more. In his place was an empty husk that could mimic human movement and speech. Could answer yes and no and give all sorts of elaborate excuses, but was constantly vigilant, on the lookout for hurt. He was too far gone and whenever something unseemingly unrelated to a past event or past concept came across his path, he ran. Both figuratively and physically. He threw himself into the chaos of the world, waiting, waiting for something or someone to claim him. In the absence of your brother though, you learned to grow up on your own. You grew up differently, well differently from different, and you grew up beautifully. So beautifully that you radiated and this was the light that saved your brother. This is what brought him back from being lost, scared, and confused. You brought me back and that is a feat you and I will always be proud of.

siblings
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About the Creator

Just Daniel

I write short fiction when I have time. There are also elements of my life interwoven with fantasy that I incorporated into my writing. I also like the unknown, so enter into the dark, true, and mysterious if you dare...

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  • Alina Lukeabout a year ago

    Emotional and powerful. I felt you pain, sorrow, anger, and disgust. Well written!

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