Hi! It’s me! Lily!
You get a rare daytime post.
That’s because today I have a lot to say and I don’t want to be typing until all hours of the night. I think today is going to be a long post. Grab some popcorn and chocolate, or maybe chocolate covered popcorn…
So I… was right. Last night I clicked “Submit”, locked my computer, went over to my bed, laid down in it, and just… cried. I cried and cried, so hard that I was actually running out of breath and gasping for air between sobs. I don’t often cry that hard, but last night, I did. I was crying so hard that at one point Sabby came in and scooped me up, and I don’t even remember her doing it. I just looked up, and there she was, petting my hair and whispering soothing words to me.
Even Marie was a bit worried, she was snuggled up to me too.
Eventually I dropped off to sleep and Sabby tucked me in. I didn’t sleep well.
I woke up this morning bleary-eyed and with all sorts of eye-crusties. Sabby heard me moving around and brought me some hot chocolate. She always knows the right thing to do, y’know? She’s a good mother. I haven’t gotten her a shake in a while, I probably should.
“Do you want to talk about it now?”, she said as I sipped my chocolate.
“Not really,” I said. “But I probably should.”
“So what was that about?”
I was quiet for a moment. “Beth doesn’t understand.”
“She’s fifteen. She’s lucky if she understands how to brush her teeth in the morning.”
I snorted. “She’s smarter than me,” I said, a little forcefully. “By a lot, actually.”
“She’s pretty book-smart, yes. But… between you and me, she’s a bit spoiled.”
“A bit.” I hope she doesn’t read this. “Not like Rebecca, from what you’ve told me, but.. she’s never wanted for anything, if she needed something, we got it for her. She’s had a pretty comfortable life.”
I was quiet.
“To her, you’re even more spoiled than she is,” Sabby said sadly. “You’re the golden child. Everyone loves you. You get everything you want, even if you don’t want it. And worse, you get everything she wants and we can’t or won’t give her.”
“I’m not -“
She shook her head. “No, I don’t think you are. But it’s not your opinion we’re talking about, here.”
I shrugged. “I guess not.”
“And look at it from her point of view. You take so many trips. You went to Orlando, to Japan, to LA. You even go to Houston sometimes to see Emiko. And you never invite her.”
“Sabby – I”
She held her hand up. “I know why you didn’t. They’re you’re family, not hers. You’re not wrong. But… what does that tell her?”
… “She’s not my family. Not really.”
“You’re a good girl, Lily. I’m sure you didn’t mean to send that message. But… I’m afraid you did.”
She stood up. “I have things to do. I’m not sure she’ll make the first move, Lily. She’s still your sister. Don’t let this go on too long.”
I sighed, and flopped back onto my bed. Maybe Sabby’s right. Of course she’s my sister. I take her to class all the time, and we brush each others’ hair, and make girl piles with our friends, and… and I cut her out of everything that’s important to me. Sometimes I don’t have a choice. I couldn’t take her to LA, especially because I didn’t know Robert well yet. I couldn’t take her to Japan, because Emiko was paying for the trip and I couldn’t very well drag her along with me. Maybe I could have taken her to Orlando, but… but that would have been imposing on Liz’s family. I couldn’t have done it any differently, but… but should I have tried?
Maybe I should have tried.
So after a little while, I knocked on Beth’s door.
“Who is it?”
“I said go away!”
“Beth, you’re my sister. If I go away, then… then you’ll still be mad and I’ll still be sad and tomorrow you’ll be mad more and I’ll be sad more and… and it won’t fix anything.” I sighed and started to walk away.
The door opened.
“What do you want?”
“Just to talk.”
She walked back to her bed and sat down. Her pajamas were rumpled and she looked like she’d been crying too. “Well, talk.”
I was quiet for a moment. Well, might as well throw Sabby under the bus. “Sabby explained to me a bit about how… you might be feeling.”
“And what did she say?”
“She said I’ve left you out of my life.”
“She’s not wrong.”
“I didn’t mean to.”, I said sadly.
“Of course you didn’t!,” she said, raising her voice a little. “That’s the worst part. It didn’t even occur to you. You just went off and did your thing, and it never even occurred to you to include me. After all,” she spat, “I’m just your sister.”
Ouch. That girl really knows how to stab with words.
“I’m legally your sister, Lily! And we promised to be sisters, too! I’m as much your sister as Rebecca is! And maybe more! We’ve brushed each others’ hair almost every night! You take me to class all the time! We spend so much time together, and when it comes time to meet people who are important to you, I’m.. I’m not your sister anymore!”
“I couldn’t -”
“Maybe you couldn’t take me to LA, but it never even occurred to you to try! You always just go off and do your own thing, and see your family, and you never stop to think… that… that I’m your… your family…” She put her head in her hands and started sobbing.
“I’ve watched you go to Japan and ” – sniff – “see your cousins, and have a great time, and ” – sniff = “Go to Orlando with Liz and meet your boyfriend, and… and… you never even thought of me! And the worst thing is, is that you’re not awful! You’re probably feeling awful right now, and you never even thought of me.” She flopped on her side and sobbed. “I… I don’t mean anything to you, do I, Lily?”
Well, this is awkward.
So I made a big spoon and pulled her back into me. She struggled weakly for a bit but the sobs overcame her, and I did what Sabby did last night. You know, petting her hair, letting her cry it out. It’s the least I could do.
“Of course you do,” I said when her sobs started receding a little. I know how it feels to run out of tears. “You mean everything to me.”
I kissed her forehead, and she hiccuped.
“But they mean a lot to me too. I have… I have a lot to catch up with.”
“I don’t want you to stop seeing them. I just… I just want you to treat me like your real sister. Not a sister-for-hire who is a sister when you want and a best friend when you want and in the way when you want.”
“You know I can’t always -“
“OF COURSE YOU CAN’T’, she said, and sniffled again. “But you can at least think of me.”
I hate it when she’s right.
Could I have brought her to LA with me? Probably not. But… but I could have asked.
Sabby would have said no, and I wouldn’t blame her. Robert might have said no, and I might not have blamed him. She probably wouldn’t have been able to go. But I could have asked, and I didn’t. I just assumed.
And… she fell asleep.
I guess… I guess it’s time to be a sister.
And it started with letting her sleep in my arms.
Obviously, she woke up. And I think we’re okay now.
But with all this Beth drama, I never got a chance to talk about what I think about LA. I think.. I think I’ll either do that tonight, or tomorrow night. right now… right now I need to do something with Beth. I don’t know what. But something. Tomorrow Jack and I will see each other. But this afternoon is for Beth. Her birthday is next week too, and… well, I think I need to make it special.