I don’t believe in heaven, or a higher power. I don’t even know what a soul is. I’m not one of those people who sometimes prays, despite lack of faith.
But I do believe in my dead sister.
I speak to her frequently—as I walk the busy streets of New York City, or as I lie awake in the middle of the night, unable to shake some silly worry. And I’m not afraid to ask her for help.
It’s my sister I implore for strength when I’m in trouble, or just sad. It’s my sister I channel, desperate for respite from Life’s more unsettling aspects. It’s my sister I reach for when shit gets dark.
When I just can’t bear the pain of the world, it’s her I speak to inside my heart. When I’m sinking in the depths of defeat because I’ve had a bad day or a terrible fight with my significant other, it’s her name I whisper. When I’m craving guidance, it’s her I seek for advice.
More than any god, I trust the particles of my sister’s being floating throughout the universe. I imagine her distributed throughout time and space in a manner that defies human comprehension. I think of her as intangible, impossible—more than anything, incredible.
I don’t need to understand how she exists, or why.
My sister is with me at all times, but her presence is somehow more pronounced when I need her the most. She is there when the world as I know it fails to make sense—when I envy her, almost, for being dead.
She also pops up when I least expect it.
She is there, in the candle that somehow reignites seconds after I’ve extinguished it with a hearty breath. She is there, in the cashier who makes my day by offering me lunch on the house. She is there, in the complimentary meal I accidentally spill all over my desk, laughing with me at Life’s ridiculousness. She is there, in the tiny dead bird I pass on the sidewalk on my way to work.
“Hi Céline!” I say, to no one in particular. Then continue on my way, smirking just a little.