My father worshiped my sister. She was the golden girl, who could do no wrong. If he was angry, and she walked in the room, his anger dissipated. The way he looked at my sister was something I envied beyond reason. There had to be something really wrong with me, something lacking in me, because obviously he had love to give... just not to me.
When my sister left for college, there was a huge hole in our house. My mother’s depression deepened, my father began to spend more time away from home, and I was put in charge of my seven-year-old brother.
I was nine, the same age as sister had been when I was born.
I was given a key to the house, and told to get my brother to his second grade classroom, and after school I was to find him again and then come straight home. We were to close and lock the front door behind us. We were not to go out, let anyone in, or answer the door, and we were assigned chores to keep us busy.
I began to resent my sister.
If she had not left, I wouldn't have to take care of my brother. If she had not left, I wouldn't have been so alone all the time. If she had not left, my mother wouldn't be so incredibly sad, and my father…
…well, that’s very complicated.
It was easier when my father wasn't around much. His unpredictability turned my world upside-down on a regular basis. Even so, I was angry that he wasn't around. It was further proof that I had no value.
But most of all, if she had not left, I would still feel loved.
Watching her walk out the door had been like watching my mother leave, and all the anger of an abandoned child was mine.
Then, as Christmas approached, my mother began to cheer up.
She said, “she’s coming home soon.”
“She’s coming home tomorrow.”
“She’ll be here in a few minutes.”
She stood at the picture window in the front room and watched for her. My father paced the house.
Then, my sister walked in the door and my parents gushed over her.
While she was gone, I'd been given the responsibilities of a young adult. When she came home, I was suddenly treated like a child much younger than my years.
I hated it.
In time, my mother would start saying, “She’ll be leaving in a few days.”
And then, “She’s going tomorrow.”
And finally, “She’s packing her things.”
And then my sister would walk out the door again
And my mother's depression would walk in.
My resentment grew exponentially each time my sister left, came home and left again.
The two sides to the sister saga left me in complete confusion. She was the one I loved most, the one I needed most, and the biggest thorn in my side all rolled up in tight bundles. I hid it all behind a closed door, unwilling or unable to open it and look at the swirling emotions.
Three weeks ago, I opened that door... and I am finally beginning to understand and come to terms with all of this, but that is a topic for another entry.