Friday, June 20, 2014

My Pseudo-Sister

A day after coming home from church
I'm on the right.
They say you don't get to choose your family but that's not completely true. You see, I have an older sister, but she's not really my sister because she chooses not to be.

I know of her, but I don't know her. We used to live together but now I don't where she lives. I don't know her phone number, I don't know her husband and neither do I know any of her children, or even how many children she has.

What I Do Know
From what I've been told, my father was married to her mother and they had a child. They got divorce. My father re-married to my mother and had my brother and I.
At the airport in Barbados
My brother is on her hip and I'm on the right.

The Day I Met Her
It's funny how you can remember certain events regardless of how many years have gone by. We were living in The Bronx at the time and the movie Superman was premiering on television. Just a few minutes before the movie started, my Dad came through the door with this beautiful, dark-skinned, skinny girl. Her eyes were pinched in the corners like an Asian and her skin was silky smooth. She wore a scarf on her head and a band-aid under her eye. That first night, we all sat in the living room watching Superman on our floor stand wooden television.

She Lived With Us
I never knew the entire story about my sister's mother and why she came to live with us. From what I understand, she was having problems with her mother and my father decided to take her out of the situation. No police, no social worker nor family services were involved. She lived with us for 2 - 3 years. My mom accepted her as her own child. Even though my mother gets under my skin from time to time, as mothers tend to do, no one can ever say that my mother didn't treat her as if she was her own child. We wore similar dresses, similar shoes, you name it. If I had something, my mother made sure she had one also. I also wanted to know her other brothers and sisters. She once took me to their apartment and they taught me a hand song/game. Patting our hands together we created a rhythm and sang...
Shame, shame, shame
I don't want to go to Mexico no more, more, more
There's a big fat policeman at the door, door, door
If he grabs my collar
Boy, I'm gonna holla
I don't want to go to Mexico no more, more, more
That was the only time I met her other siblings but I never forgot that song.

Then She Was Gone
Once day I came come from school to find all of her clothes missing from the closet we shared. There was a note on the kitchen table written on a paper towel, saying something about her having to live with her own family. Once she left, she didn't call or remain in contact with us. She didn't stop by to see us. She just left. No more big sister.

Brief Encounters Over The Years
There were a few times that I saw her since then. Once while shopping on Fordham Road with my aunt, I was a teenager then. Years later, I believe she was having problem with her mom again and wanted to come back but my mother said No. My mother was too hurt by the way she left the first time and refused to go through that again. She stayed with my grandmother in the same house but a different apartment for a while. During that time, she took me to see Eddie Murphy's Raw in the movie theater. I didn't understand many of the jokes but I was happy to be with her so I had a nice time. Another time I ran into her at my father's garage (he's a mechanic) and we went to City Island for dinner, I was about 20 years old. I got her phone number then and tried to call her a few times, but a generic message played on the answering machine and no one returned my calls.

Where We Stand Today
Last month my grandmother passed away and I saw her again for about 45 seconds. Whenever we see each other, it's always a pleasant exchange. I gave her a hug, introduced her to my husband, and pointed her to my baby brother, who is now 34 years old. We lined up to walk into the funeral parlor, I sat down, look behind me and didn't see her. She was gone again.

You Can't Make Anyone Love You
From time to time, I wonder about her. On June 11, I wonder what she's doing for her birthday. But more than anything else, I wonder, "Why doesn't she want to know us? Did someone do something to her that we don't know about?" I could go on speculating but one thing is for sure, you can't have a relationship with someone who's not interested in having a relationship with you.

When it comes to siblings, this is all I know.
I loved having a big sister. I remember when I was in elementary school and a boy was pushing me around on the playground. I was trying to get away from him but he was following me until suddenly a voice said, "Get your hands off my sister and don't you ever bother her again!" She was my defender. Someone I looked up to, I mimicked her, I used to love her.

Where Is The Love
Unfortunately, I don't know her anymore. It's not that I don't love her, I just don't know who she is and how can I love someone that I don't know. I'm completely open to reconnecting, after all she seems like a nice person, but the person I am today is not willing to chase after anything or anyone that is not interested in having me around. Maybe I'll see her again when our Father passes but secretly, I hope it's before then.

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