People come and people go. Can family go, too?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

People constantly come then leave again, be it after a page or chapter of your life. Some become friends, then turn into strangers. Sometimes, these stranger-turned friends walk back into your life story, a little further down the line.

What about family? Sibling relationships are the most complex thing I may have to deal with in my lifetime.

We did not choose each other.

She came into my life when I was too young to remember; she has never known life without me. Yet, we were not always active characters in each other's stories. There are chapters in my life from which she is missing. Perhaps it is I who is missing from her's. Or rather, erased, whether unconsciously or deliberately. Slowly we are diverging onto two separate story paths, hardly ever intertwining.

We are strangers than strangers, almost embarrassed when passing each other on the streets by chance.

A thought that crosses my mind from time to time, a time like today: am I the weirder one?

My earliest memories of us together:
  • in my bedroom, on my bed, big sister piggybacking and taking baby sister 'flying', as daddy used to do for her
  • in my bedroom, on the floor, both being punished for whatever we had done to each other
  • in my bedroom, doors locked, playing with a big cardboard box, also the incident where baby sister made big sister claustrophobic for ever after
The only memories of me playing in her room is to play with the rows of soft toys, absent from my own. By myself. We have shared a room only once as children, for one short stint of a few months, when I was eight. My only memory of us sharing a bed is one night when I was not yet a teenager - though I cannot remember why.

I had always been pretty independent as a child, almost a loner but not lonely, content in my own little world with small groups of friends, imaginary and real. If I had been an only child, I am not sure if I would have been very lonesome. As sibling rivalries go, it was standard stuff. I was the older sister, so I was to look out for her, help her out. This was told to me, and expected of me, and I carried out my responsibilities well. Albeit sometimes grudgingly.

So I lead, and she followed. 

I think I may have been a good older sister but not a very attentive one. There was never any secret languages of our own, no private jokes, no special sister bonding sessions, no hugs nor kisses. Any expressions or feelings of love and passion or of any kind, were reserved for my dances, my music, my books, and my journals. Had she cried for attention and I ignored it? It must have been hard for her to have a shell of an older sister absorbed in her own little world? Perhaps I am as egocentric as she says?

She was my silent shadow.

When I finally saw the warning signs, I was almost 15. It was too late. I do not remember much of that year. It's a big brain blank blackness. More conscious efforts went into developing our relationship until it became forced and too artificial. Like minded people form relationships but we could not find common grounds at the same time.

We stopped living together. We fell further apart.

We tried living together again. We fell even further apart.

We decided to travel together. That may have been the first and last time. We try and try, but each trial ends in bouts of frustrated silences.

She still contacts me from time to time, like an old friend saying hello, at unexpected times and out of the blue. A whiff of nostalgia, sad and wistful. She gives no details on her current life, only hints, here and there. I do not know where she lives, how she lives. I wrote her several postcards, but I have no address to post them to.

She is my silent ghost.

Forever lingering but out of touch. I dreamt of her again this week. I often do. Will our paths cross again, some day? I hope so, I do.

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