Sisters have a bond that lasts their entire lives.They share every moment, from the most trivial to the most defining, of alifetime. My sister Tessa will always hold a special place in my heart, andnothing that may come our way can change that.
My first memory of hersitting in a corner and drawing intently will never fade from my mind. My familyhad driven hours to the small, crowded orphanage to visit her. I can still seeher chubby little face, concentrating on the masterpiece she was working on whileother children raced around her. Adopting the three-year-old when I was seven wasone of the best things that has happened to me.
Our first outing with herwas on a sultry day in monsoon season in Seoul, South Korea. The scents of freshrain and humid air are still in my mind. Sitting across from the tiny girl in acramped restaurant and watching her relish the Coke in front of her wasuncomfortable at first. Worries of her not fitting into our family raced throughmy mind. What if she didn't like me? What if she was unhappy in her new home?When would she learn to speak English? These thoughts seemed to be answered when,after polishing off two sodas, the little girl began to hold her stomach andwhimper. My mother swooned over her and patted her back while my fatherfrantically tried to find someone who could translate her rushed words. I knew atthat moment everything would somehow work out in our new family.
Sincethat sticky afternoon, my sister and I have come to have a very closerelationship. Our days of living overseas were filled with memories that onlyTessa can understand. She reminisces with me about the business dinners with ourdad aboard floating restaurants at dusk in Hong Kong. If I forget where it wasthat we rode the baby elephants around the hotel, she reminds me that it wasThiamin. We laugh about the time I was bitten by a poisonous ant in Singapore;she had to hold my hand while the ancient doctor gave me a shot. We share thememories of the extensive traveling we have been fortunate toexperience.
We have also shared the bitter times that many teenagersendure. If one of us makes a wrong choice, the other is there to give advice orhelp out. Tess and I have counted on each other many times to explain why one wassuspiciously late coming home from the movies. The secrets we've shared have todo with growing into women, and sometimes parents cannot know the exact path wetake. There is nothing I wouldn't do for my sister, and I know she feels thesame. We used to make secret pacts, but we now have an unspoken loyalty thatneither dares betray. Sometimes secrets and experiences create an unshakable bondthat nothing else can.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.