My sister who is four years younger than me is beginning college in the fall. In the next week or so, she’s also completely moving out of my parents’ house…before me. Part of me thought, she’s way too young, moving way too quickly, and I have to talk some sense into her. But now I know she’s been pushed a bit ahead since as far back as I can remember, and I won’t suddenly try to stop her now.
I’m remembering the little things. When I was in middle school, I read controversial books about rape and drug use, like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks. While in elementary, my sister read them after I went on and on about how much they stuck with me. When I picked up bass guitar my sophomore year of high school, she picked up the guitar in middle school and played alongside me in battle of the bands the following three years. When I went away to college, she kept playing until she graduated high school. This summer, she still sat on our bedroom floor and serenaded me with tunes like “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan and “Kiss and Say Goodbye” by The Manhattans, even though I had to wake up for work in a few hours. While I lived in Illinois, my friends back in Minnesota still invited her to hang out because she was just that fun and mature to be around.
My sister stayed away from alcohol and drug abuse, ended high school at the top of her class, and worked three jobs this past summer. Besides her visible invincibility, I also know about her chewed up relationship with our estranged father, what our older brother’s murder did to her at eight-years-old, and her silent battles against herself. I’m expecting there to always be things I can’t know about her. But I can confirm with every single nerve in my body, my sister can handle whatever it may be, even if she doesn’t think so…and I’m going to miss her, even if she’ll only be an hour away.
Published in the St. Jams Plaindealer on August 15th, 2019.