Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Microstory 1832: Older Sister

My sister and I were never really close growing up. She was seven years younger than me, so we didn’t have very much in common. Our parents didn’t encourage me to take care of her, which is something she probably regrets more than I do. She could have used my support and guidance. I don’t want to say that she went down the wrong path, because she didn’t, but she could have learned some better coping skills, and been a little bit more responsible for her actions. Me, I got out of there, and I never looked back. I only applied to schools that were on the other side of the country. I wasn’t trying to get away from my family, per se, but I didn’t want to be able to lean on them. I needed to start making my own choices, and figuring out how to get myself back up when I fell down. My grades were never terrible, but they weren’t excellent either. It’s not like I had my pick of the litter. I applied to a state school, and then I moved to that state so I could pay a lower tuition. I know what you’re thinking, you can’t do that, but I could, because I had a friend out there whose address I was able to put on my application. A little shady, but I don’t feel bad about it. It’s not like the college was starving for funds. The truth is, I never once went to the guy’s house. He was still a hundred miles away in Reno, and we were never very close. Friends was surely a strong word to use, and he ended up starting a tiny business where he would do this for other people. He never charged me to deal with the few pieces of mail that would get sent to him, but it sounds like he turned it into a nice side hustle, and it’s all thanks to me. Anyway, college ended, and I just sort of stayed out there, because I felt like Nevada was my home now.

Meanwhile, my sister stayed in North Carolina, fostering a resentment towards me for saddling her with the responsibility of caring for our aging parents. They were already old when they had me, but they were damn near geriatric by the time she was born. Talk about irresponsibility, it was their mistake for waiting that long. They got married when they were in their early to mid-twenties. They would have had plenty of time to have children, I don’t know what they were doing with their time before then. We used to make up stories about them once being international spies who worked for competing agencies until they fell in love, and had to escape to America to start new secret lives together. She is of Polish descent, and he is Armenian, or something. Nah, I never asked, but I’m sure it’s as simple as me being an accident, and then she was also an accident. They probably never wanted kids, which is why they didn’t much care whether we were close. They weren’t bad at raising us, but they definitely relied on a fleet of teachers and preachers. A few years after I begin my post-education work life, my sister calls me up. She tries to stay calm at first, but then she can’t help but yell. I don’t get mad back, because based on the few keywords I manage to catch, I know her issue. I abandoned her, and the parents are both doing terribly, and not only can they not afford to send her to college, but she wouldn’t be able to leave them alone anyway. She needs me to come home and help, and I can’t argue, because she’s right about everything. So I returned, and together, we got them settled into the best assisted living facility we could get. Neither one of them lasted long after that, but my sister and I grew much closer while we were waiting. I might even say that we’re best friends now. We even decided to treat ourselves, and a neighbor, to a trip to the Appalachian Mountains. It does not go well.

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