The last time I visited my sister, I think, was in 2009.
When I close my eyes, I can remember her chestnut brown hair gliding with the springtime breeze — and I’m back to when I was around 9-years-old. She was 12. Even so, I was taller than her, by about 3 or 4 inches. She had taken a favorite toy of mine, a racecar that McDonalds gave out with Happy Meals, and placed it in her dollhouse, which, much to my chagrin, was her designated vehicle of choice.
“Give it back,” I remember saying. The anger, from my 9-year-old perspective, was much warranted. I broke a toy of hers in retaliation, and she didn’t talk to me for the entire day. Sixteen years later, I find myself sometimes shaking my head, wondering how I could’ve been so entitled and I wonder if there is any possibility to return back to that time. If I could, I would apologize.
She was a runner and she was never late to school. I remember her rushing me through the house, trying to get me out and on to the school bus. My parents still have a stack of certificates commemorating her perfect attendance. Her favorite food was spaghetti. I’d always get the sauce on my shirt, so we’d rarely have it, but when we did, she was always so excited.
She used to sing this song about spaghetti. It went something like:
Spaghetti, spaghetti, red and yummy, I can taste it going down my tummy!
When I was 16, and my sister, 19, an ambulance came and took her to the hospital. My mother found her in bed, with a note and a bottle of white-colored pills next to her. “I’m sorry,” the note read. “I’m really, really sorry.” She never woke up from that.
There was one time when my sister made a sandwich for me. I remember her walking into the living room with this beaming smile, and sat down next to me. Our little legs hung off the couch. I took one look at the sandwich, picked it up and threw it on the floor. I thought I’d find joy in tormenting her, but when her smile crumbled to retreat to this shell, I felt nothing but guilt.
“I made that for you,” she said. “It was for you.”
That was almost 14 years ago.
I’ve knelt by her grave, crying, asking her for forgiveness, asking her for an answer I will never, ever get.
It wasn’t her that should’ve said sorry. It should’ve been me.