I was 4 years old when I used to watch you go to school and wish I could be just like you. I would probably spend my days with mummy making a mess and frustrating her in more ways than one, but I would just wait for you to come home. I remember learning my ABCDs with the help of you. I remember my grubby hands pulling out all the little chips out of the bag and splitting the contents exactly by half, because you taught me to share. I remember always being confused by the third oreo.
I was 7 when I started school. And I was so excited to be in the same school as you. I remember knowing all your friends because I’d tag along everywhere. I remember crying my way to your first sleepover, ruining the night by being way too loud when we were thought to be asleep. I remember closed-door late night under the blankets whisper fights. You’d tell me all the stories you’d heard in school and I’d struggle to come up with ones just as cool to impress you with. I remember the torchlight hidden between the headboard and the pillows. How you’d read me books way past our bedtime. Stories, the telling of it and the reading of it gripped me tight and even though I’ve left my childhood behind my fascination with books and everything within didn’t leave me. The seeds of who I’ve become now was probably planted within those books.
I was 15 when it was time for you to leave. From across the room to across the world, from a few steps away to an entire 24 hour flight. My mornings were your nights and your today’s were my yesterdays. it still worked for a while. A quick call in the middle of the night and you talked me through my fears. A quick ring, a voice memo or a text pushed back my tears. But that didn’t last long, it faded away.
I remember I was 15 when I had you for the last time. I was 18 when I lost you. Not to the death. No. But to an even deeper, darker abyss of simply forgetting. Did you remember the 15 missed calls to your phone? Do your remember our voicemails begging you to call us back. Do you remember not taking our calls for 2 months straight? Do you remember that I stayed up all night waiting for your call? Or that Mum and Dad had a perpetual alarm to wake them up in the middle of the night every hour just so they could give you a call in the hopes that maybe just this once you’d pick up? Do you remember that despite all that, your bank account was never allowed to be empty, that we poured our blood and soul into it? Do your remember that at age 16,18, and now 21, I had given up caring about birthday celebrations because that required money which were long given to you?
“Stop guilt tripping me” was your reply when it was us who were asking for help for the first time. “You’re stressing me out, all you care about is money” says the person whose income has been built on our savings and sacrifices. Never a thank you. I lost the person who I thought was my Best Friend 5 years ago. What you are is a shell. Hollow and heartless. I hardly recognise you. I suppose I should thank you. Because of you, I have grown up older than I am. I’ve faced the harsh and selfish reality of the world faster than I should have. I’ve learnt that money makes the world go round and that blood is never thicker.
Now I try not to remember. I try to forget. I block your contact from time to time. Anger is now my default setting and mentioning your name is now a crime. Losing you was the hardest thing but you were happy to get rid of us. I don’t remember ever saying goodbye but still you’re gone.