Copyright (C) 2013 Savannah Hensley
“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
― A.A. Milne
The last time I saw you, you were angry. I was fighting for my independence, and you didn't understand - you though I was trying to break away from you. No, Emily, it was exactly the opposite. I would never have left you if it were up to me. That day, I was hoping you'd see it my way as Mom and I argued. But I guess I didn't get the message across, so you hate me now.
I try not to remember that as our last day. It was too full of anger, bitterness, and misunderstanding. Instead I remember our last good memory we have of each other: the day we went to the park. That was the last day we spent as sisters, just you and me against the world like it had always been, and should be still.
You were wearing your rainbow tie-dye hoody, and I was wearing my silly striped fingerless gloves. Call me sentimental for remembering such acute detail, but we stood out. We were colorful in a drab and gray world.
We did something we always did when we came to the park: we "sang and swang," which, to the outside world, means we'd swing on the swingsets and sing, in perfect harmony like we always did. Those moments were ours...they were our last moments as sisters.
We sat on rocks in the dried-up creek and recorded a video we planned to post on Youtube - something silly and random about the differences between girls and boys. The whole time I was throwing stones, trying to bounce them off a concrete slab that had fallen from the ramshackle bridge. Regrettably, I don't have that video anymore. Neither do you.
We rode the merry-go-round and watched a teenaged couple, most likely in junior high, and made our own speculations on their personalities by the way they acted. The girl was a follower, one of those "jockettes" who wear their hair in messy buns and cotton headbands. She was typical, ignoring her little sister, who she was supposed to be babysitting. The girl you and I agreed on.
We disagreed on the boy, however. By his cocky personality I assumed that he was nothing more than your average jock: not very intelligent, relying merely on his athletic prowess to impress his girlfriend. But you begged to differ. "He's like Peter Pan at heart," you said. "He doesn't want to grow up. But he has to because if he didn't he wouldn't get accepted. He has to pretend."
And then you said, "You shouldn't judge people so quickly just by the way they act. Take some time to watch them and find out who they really are, because when they don't know you're looking, they're not trying to hide anything from you."
I took that lesson to heart, and I'll never forget it; it's come in handy quite a bit as I meet and talk to people out here in the real world. In fact, I wouldn't be married right now if I hadn't. But you? I don't think you even took your own words to heart.
I did my best to teach you something that day, too. You didn't know it, but I knew that this would probably be the last time we'd have together, before I left and everything changed. See, I knew you then, and I still know you now. I knew that when I left, you'd never be able to forgive me. We would never be the same.
While we walked back through the woods, we took pictures of each other in the late summer scenery, and we talked. I guess we talked about all kinds of things, but mainly, we talked about Daddy. How he used to be such a great person, but now he was somebody else because he'd grown bitter. "I think his main problem is that he took too much time looking out for everyone else, sacrificing for them, worrying about them. He never did anything for himself - but it's not bad to be a little selfish now and then. He gave away so much of himself that he didn't have anything left, so now there's just this shell of a person that used to be."
And I warned you, too, that you were far too much like Daddy and could become a female copy of him if you weren't careful. In fact, you were already becoming that. You made your life everyone else's so that you didn't even have a separate personality. You made yourself a hero on a pedestal you didn't even belong on.
I knew I would be the straw to break the camel's back when I left. I wish it didn't have to be that way, Emily, I really do. I knew you'd put it on yourself and you'd make yourself believe that I left because you weren't "good enough." And then, as messed up as it is, you would blame yourself and hate me for it.
"Just remember," I said, "When I do grow up and leave, I'll still always be here for you - I will always be your sister. That will never change."
But you didn't remember. You forgot. That entire conversation went down the drain the next day when I did leave. The last time I saw you, you gave me that hateful glare and spoke bitterly. I don't remember what you said - not that it matters. I don't even remember what I said. Because that day, for me, didn't end our sisterhood. It only ended our friendship.
Wherever you are, Emily, I want you to know that I will always be your sister. You've cut me off, you've betrayed me, you've said hateful things to and about me. You don't even believe that I care, or that I ever cared. I do more than care. I still love you. And I will be waiting for you to need me again, no matter how long it takes for you to remember my promise.
Dedicated to Bethany