A few months ago, while cleaning out a closet, my sister Aggie stumbled upon a piece of the past, a small shard of our lives as siblings. Folded and tucked inside a small Sanrio Keroppi tin she used to use as a piggy bank, was a note my little sister had written to me in her elementary-school scrawl:

She handed me the note the same afternoon she found it.

“Can you believe this?” she asked, as we both laughed.

“I remember looking for cash and finding this instead. Man, you really got me!”

We giggled as the memory swirled in our collective thoughts.

“I think you still owe me some money, no?” she said, suddenly serious.

“Oh, yeah, hundreds I’m sure! Ha ha ha ha!!”

It took me a few seconds to realize I was the only one laughing.

Her face broke into a wide grin and she slapped my arm.

“Don’t worry about it. We’re good,” she said with a wink.


But we weren’t always.


She could tell I had been drinking just by a split second glance at my eyes.

Even if was just one beer (though, it was never just one beer…….).


Growing up, we fought like typical sisters, but it wasn’t the arguments about missing money or reading our diaries that nearly did us in.


It wasn’t the time I threw a vacuum cleaner towards her, close enough to get her to shut up, far enough away to know I’d miss her, or that her unicorn posters had no business sharing the same wall space as my shrine to Depeche Mode that nearly did us in.


It wasn’t the broken jewelery, the lost headbands, the borrowed and ruined clothes.



We made memories as kids

some good, some bad, but none of them terrible


somewhere along the way I tripped up and like I did with everyone else around me,

I chose booze over her and she became another casualty of my selfishness.


She stopped coming to me for advice

and I stopped caring enough to wonder why


She stopped trusting me with secrets that used to make us giggle

and I couldn’t stop long enough to see that she was slipping between the cracks


She couldn’t stop staring into my eyes, searching for signs of sobriety

and I stopped glancing in her direction, so she couldn’t see there weren’t any


We withered beneath the strain and the pain and the broken promises

and after a while

I forgot the sound of her laugh

and she forgot what it was like to have a sisiter


Hold on.

I’m crying too hard to continue.





And then, by the Grace of God, after years of turmoil and self-torture

after all of the hangovers

and heartbreak

after all of the mornings I woke up and started each sentence with  “I swear,” and “I promise,” and “I’ll never do it again,”

I clung to a light that so few are able to see

and I haven’t let go since


Then one day

she asked me what I thought of her new shoes

and I whispered that I loved them


The next time, she needed help with a resume

and I sat alongside her as I proofread the story of her professional life


Soon she was making her way towards me

on a regular basis

and I will never forget the feeling of sitting cross legged on her bed


giggling for the first time in years

as I looked directly into her eyes

and saw forgiveness, and hope, and love staring right back at me


She moved to NYC two weeks ago

and the day she left

I sat on the bench outside

and sobbed like a baby as she got into the car


I cried for the years I wasted

I cried for the second chance I was given to do it right

I cried for the miles that would now be between us


and then

I thought about how for so many years

we silently passed each other in the halls

ghosts of our former selves

her heart broken

my heart too selfish to give a damn

I thought about all of the times I heard her footsteps approaching

and how

I would hide like a coward behind my locked door

until I was sure she was gone


and through the tears and bubbles of snot

(I know it’s gross, but I’m trying to paint a vivid and honest picture for you here)

I smiled as her car pulled out of the driveway

my arm extended in a proud wave (i’m so proud of you honey)

knowing that

no matter where she plants her beautiful roots (my sister. she is soooo beautiful)

we’ll never be that far apart





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14 Replies to “We Used to be Siblings. Now We’re Sisters.”

  1. This made me bawl my eyes out!! What a beautiful thing to write about your sister and what a great gift you two share! Good luck in the big apple Aggie! XOXO!!

  2. I have a hard time listening to James Taylor songs because they make me cry – usually happy tears, but they touch me. Jo, your postings are starting to make me feel the same way. I get so happy when I see a new one, but I know to click and grab a tissue at the same time…just in case….

    You have a gift. This is beautiful.

  3. Oh, Veronica, you are way too kind! I write to evoke emotion, in myself first, because it is cathartic and healing, and then others, in the hopes that it stirs them somehow as well. Sounds like at least in your case, it’s working! =)

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