Distance

By , I. C., Philippines
Midnight auburn stains on my hair after the whole bon voyage party was over. It was unexpectedly tiring with all the histrionic crying to spice up the momentum of the night. Nina was finally going off to college in some far, far away place. Well, I was just ten at that time and I never realized how much that party meant for mom and dad and everybody, especially me. It was the epiphany of my life.

By seven, friends and relatives alike came to bid their last goodbye as though she was ready to go to her own funeral than her first step to success. Gladly, it wasn’t somber. Heavy food, soda, and dancing, much like the way I’d picture a disco ball. Nina was anything but nostalgic. Though everybody else perceived it to be a nervous smile, all I could see was a spirit ecstatic of leaving home. I never really knew her except she likes her hair fake blonde and her arms pelting with iridescent bangles. After that, she was just another living organism in this quaint house.

Eric was there too. All smiles like he was glad Nina will finally loosen the reins and set him free just the way he begged to be six months ago. A dysfunctional lover, he seemed. On and off but maybe Nina liked the thrilled of losing something that will come running back. I, on the other hand, found it frustrating.

Cathy went gaga on the dance floor, that is the center-mat of the living room, while jazzy 80s played on the stereo. I seemed out of place with their funky leggings and oversized shirts. Nonetheless, I smiled to the last day of my sister’s limelight. After her history’s forgotten, only mine will be written.

By nine, about a quarter of the guests trotted home with spaghetti lipstick, smudged eyeliner, and jaded mother. I went out to the patio, the concept of fresh air constricting my mind. The room was getting heavy with sweat and spilled soda. On the last step of the stairs, I plopped down, my legs untying the knot on its calves. Dancing wasn’t really a good idea.

“Hey, Squirt!”

I smiled. That was probably going to be the last time I’ll hear that squeaky name.

“Tired already?! C’mon, party’s just starting.” Nina mocked with fake disappointment. It felt odd having her notice me this way.

“Nope. Just getting some air.” I felt her skinny body flexibly turn around to the dim yellow light emanating from the door’s small window. She then plopped next to me.

“Doesn’t seem like you need the air. Atmosphere’s light back there.” She poked me on the back in some effort to revive a dead sisterhood. I knew it, with her last day here and my presence gone from the room, she’ll close the gap between us.

I stared at her elfin face, perfectly angled on the jaws and femininely curve around her chin as she stared on to the ehavens, looking for her star.

“You know, when you were born, I thought ‘I’m finally going to have someone to test my clothes on and play cosmetics with’, but I was already thirteen, Amber.” She spoke slowly, reminiscing the time I was bluish and splattered with blood all over.

I nodded, trying to figure what she was trying to get at.

“But, you know, it never came because your skin was too soft and frail, your body was too small and plump, your distance was so far I felt like we could never be like real sisters.” I was startled with the tremors in her voice, the threatening of tears in her emerald eyes. She’s never been this…sentimental… especially with me.

“What are real sisters?” In my conscious effort of making it sound indifferent, it felt concerned…even scared.

She suddenly giggled, shaking off the glassiness in her eyes, making it shine like diamonds under the silver light.

“Well, I don’t really know. I mean, they’re always there for each other and become the best of friends and lend shoulders to each other and a helping hand. That’s how they often portray it in movies.” I was relieved to see the tremors gone, her infamous cheeky smile back with revenge.

“Have I missed something? Lacked something?” she asked with careful recalling.

Well, she must have missed something, lacked something if I felt her presence as merely another extra weight to fill the empty house. But can she bear to hear that? After all, she desired to be the perfect sister. Can she accept it if I told her she failed miserably?

“No. You were there when I needed you.” I said with overtly fake enthusiasm and toothy smile.

She smiled back, her pearly white teeth outshining my purple braces.

“I’ll be heading back then. They must be looking for me already.” She stood up and headed back to her life. No turning back, no confirmation of truth.

I’ve always been indifferent about her, but for that night, I cried. Not for my loss but for hers. She failed to be there, to lend a hand or offer a shoulder or become my best friend. Where was she when peers mocked me, when boys scurried away from my braces, when teachers underestimated me? Nowhere and for that she has fallen.

She has missed my frail skin peeling off and replaced with acne. She has missed my short, plump body grow up to be lanky and tall. She has missed everything about me. The tears in her eyes were not for the little time she has spent with me but for all the times she was absent in my life.

And she left the next day, a smile donning her pretty face while tears marred mine. Yes, sister, you will always be distant, far out in the horizon where I’ll never be.





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