I have four sisters. Jessica, 22, Melissa, 18 and Gina, 15. My mom birthed all of us but the youngest two have a different father who helped raise us for about 13 years before they were divorced. We never considered Melissa and Gina our “half sisters”…Just sisters. Four girls in one house was absolutely crazy, but we made it.
Today…Today I ran into my brother. My dad remarried as well, to a woman with two children. I got along with her and her children really well but lost touch after they were divorced 7 years later. Every once in a while I’d see them and we’d exchange “how have you beens” and “what’s new” and be on our way. When I became an adult I finally reached out to my ex stepmom and we kept in touch on and off over the years, but I could never stop thinking about her two kids. I always wondered what they were up to, how they were doing, if they were doing well in college, etc. I finally added the three on Facebook and have been able to peek into their lives day to day.
This time it was different. I walked into the dreaded Wal-Mart before work today because I needed tweezers for my uni-brow, as to not scare off any of my employees or guests. I usually walk pretty fast and with a major case of tunnel vision at Wal-Mart, no time for mingling or seeing what I can’t ever un-see.
I hear a surprised, “Irene?!”.
I looked him up and down and I couldn’t contain my surprise, but there was something else I was feeling. Something I couldn’t pinpoint right then and there. Who used to be this short, skinny, big toothed boy is now a man. A man standing right before me, taller than mountains, voice deep, emanating maturity like I’ve never seen. I wanted to cry, hug him, ask him a million questions, laugh…Why? I don’t why. Our parents divorced, he’s a step sibling, who cares. Forget them. It’s over.
I couldn’t do that. I think about them often, even though I don’t show it. My stepmom taught me how to clean, cook, properly slip on pillow cases, keep calm, and trust myself as well as God. She was a crucial part of my upbringing. I was closer to Carlos (who was closer to my age than his sister) than I was to my own sisters. We were young but we talked about everything.
In case you were wondering, he’s on his last year of college. He has this gorgeous girlfriend who he’s been with for five months now (after years of being single). His mother is still single, all of these years and she still lives for her children. His sister is doing well also. I wanted to know more but we had to cut off the conversation since we both had to get back to work.
“It was so good seeing you Carlos.”
“Hey, you too! We have to get coffee or something sometime. It’s been so long.”
“It has been. It truly has been.”
I watched him walk away. Once my brother, no matter what, will always be my brother. I had never had a brother before him, nor did I get one after him. This kid introduced me to Slipknot, even though his churchgoing mother did not approve. I caught him watching porn and didn’t say a word. We griped about our parents together and so on. Sometimes I wonder if we had as much of an effect on them as they had on me. They were my weekend family, my comfort, my home away from home.
It made me realize that people come into our lives for a reason, even if it hurts when they’re gone. Maybe they’re meant to stay or leave, they had a purpose. I always try to keep positive and highlight what that purpose might be for every person who has walked out of my life or has been yanked from my life. Did they contribute? Take away? Teach you a lesson? Help you grow? If you take a moment, you’ll realize that everyone you’ve ever met in your life made some sort of impact and the ones who didn’t…Well…You wouldn’t have remembered them anyway.
I miss them.