A Birthday Letter
My sister is 3 years and 3 months older than me. We have just enough of an age gap that kept us from being best of playmates as children and as we entered our teen years, our arguments ended in hair pulls and loud shouting matches. She taught me fierce independence and how to hold my ground.
We bonded at the piano. My sister is a gifted pianist who can plunk any tune, no matter the level of difficulty. For hours, she and I would play duets, make up songs and sometimes you’d find me singing over her shoulder. In fact, my sister chose our wedding music. She’s got taste.
At age 20, my sister left to study in Finland. I cried. For the first time in my life, I realized that despite all the bickering we’d done, we were inseparable. I missed her terribly. Letter writing and the occasional phone call kept us connected but I missed our long car rides together, late night candy binges and secrets that only sisters tell.
During that gap year, each of our lives was irrevocably changed: her heart had been broken and I had been sexually assaulted. At our teary airport reunion, we promised to spend the entire night catching up on all the untold stories.
However, in the months that followed, my sister and I struggled to regain our sisterly rhythm. As each of us struggled to reclaim our unravelled lives, we hurt the other and fought bitterly.
But when it mattered most, my sister was always there for me. When I left the family religion, she stood by my side and stuck up for me. After many bad decisions I made, my sister took me in, paid my debts and set me straight. During some of my most lonely and dark moments, she saved my life.
Over the years, I’ve tried to pay her back in ways that sisters do. But, somewhere along life’s road, we came to a fork: she went right and I went left and we haven’t spoken in more than a year. In fact, I haven’t seen my sister in more than three years. I have precious few regrets in life. This is one.
Today, my sister turns 40. Wherever she is, I hope there’s a piano nearby with somebody special to listen and appreciate her talents. Because I’ve never met anyone else who can play like she does.
I miss that girl and her piano.