Missing Alice

July 24, 2011
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The Beginning:
I remember her warm presence, her smile that’d cheer me up on the darkest days and her comforting love. I can recall how expressive her big brown eyes were, how they’d tell exactly what was on her mind and even her laugh.

I had never had a sister before her; I was living the best of both worlds. I got to have a friend, another understanding person to confine in and most of all, a sister for an entire summer.

This may sound amusing to anyone who reads this at first but I’m sure I can explain. Alice was my step-sister and she was the only sister I had ever known since two years old. We got along fine and I looked up to her, even when it seemed I was rather aggravated with her teasing antics but as the years went by it appeared to me that I was losing my sister and fading into the background.

Alice could be rather rebellious and insecure about herself at times even though she was quite beautiful. She’d alter her exterior appearance just to claim a social status in the teenage world. Her mind began to consider spending more time with boys then studying for that next test on Tuesday.

By the summer I was eight; Alice had turned sixteen and returned for another summer to spend with my family and me, our family to be exact. She started to learn how to drive with the help of my Mother and even considered living with us for a school year.

I was overjoyed having a sister and one who would even stay for an entire year with me? Even better.

Shortly after, Alice moved in to live with us full time and I could honestly say I was…content with my life. For me, I never had jealously towards her when she’d spend quality time with my Father or have private personal conversations with my Mother. It made me feel like she was here to stay.

School started, things appeared perfectly alright but little did I know they were ready to collapse under immense pressure.

Her confrontations with my parents rule began to break out more frequently; her grades plummeted but her devotion to me never changed. I didn’t know what to think anymore, so I didn’t and apparently neither did she.

Missing Alice:

“Swing me higher!” I squealed.
Alice laughed and began to push me gently higher and higher until she got me as high as I could swing.
Then she too joined in and we both began to swing simultaneously together.

Each time I swung forward, I felt the cool breeze kiss my cheeks, tassel my hair and chill my body just to the touch but every time I swung backward It just felt like I was going to slide right off the swing, so I clung on tightly.

“Look at the clouds Stella, what do you see?”

I examined each passing cloud. Some were soft and plush looking while others looked like white dense disfigured blobs floating in the sky.

“I see a rabbit, to the left of the tree.” I answered.
“Hm, I see a fish.” Alice pointed in the direction of the white puffy cloud. We both laughed.

Behind the swing set I heard our backdoor swing open.

“Lunch is ready!” My Mom yelled to us both.
With ease Alice jumped off her swing while it was still in motion. I struggled to even get my feet to the ground so I could stop it. Alice helped me stop the swing.

“Thanks.” I told her as we approached the back door.
“That’s what big sisters are for, am I right?” She flashed me a cheerful smile.

“I guess so.” I replied.

All three of us sat down at the table. I was busy shoveling a spoonful of macaroni in my mouth when my Mother began to ask Alice and I questions. They weren’t serious questions at first, simple questions like ‘How was your day?’ or ‘Does lunch taste alright?’ until my Mom hit the jackpot.

“What are your plans for tonight honey?”
My Mom wasn’t strict or anything but she certainly didn’t want my sister harming herself in any way.

For a brief moment, Alice stared at her plate before collecting herself.
“I was planning to go to the movies with this guy I met at school actually…”

My Mom rolled her eyes “Honestly Alice, you come to live with us for a year and the first few friends you make at your new school are guys?”

Alice pushed her food around with her fork. “He’s really nice though!”
“Alright you can go but you must be home by eleven and I want to know everything about that boy before you even step foot out that front door.” My Mom attempted to smile but failed to send that comforting message to Alice.

Alice shook her head, understanding that my Mom wasn’t torturing her. All she wanted to do was ensure her safety just as she did for me.

“On your way there do you mind dropping Stella off at her friend Nora’s?” My Mom asked as she stood up from the table, plate in hand and began to make her way to the sink.

“Sure but who’s picking her up? Obviously she won’t be awake at eleven.” Alice reached over and began to eat off of my plate. I didn't mind, my stomach was already content with its millionth meal of the day.

“How about you go to an earlier time for the movie instead?”
Alice raised an eyebrow at my Mom’s remark. I knew my Mom was able to pick me up but I’m sure it was just one of her numerous tricks up her sleeve just to get Alice to change her curfew.

She huffed followed by her notorious eye roll “Fine.” She muttered under her breath.

Tension began to build in the room. It was gnawing away at all three of us as we all stood around in the kitchen.

“So how about you call your friends now and let them know about the time change.” My Mom replied rather softly.

Alice reached for the phone and began to dial. A few minutes later fuming with anger, Alice hung up the phone. “Are you happy now?”

“Yes, yes I am.” I could hear the hint of pain behind my Mom’s voice. My Mom stared at her but Alice’s eyes averted her gaze.
When all but nothing was spoken, Alice simply stormed upstairs and slammed her bedroom door.

I quickly glanced in the direction of my Mom.
“She can mouth off all she wants but when she wants something, she’s not getting it.” My Mother vented furiously.

“I’m going to go get my toys ready for later Mommy.” I softly spoke out of awkward silence. I wanted to comfort my Mom but I didn’t know how. So I did the only comforting thing I knew how to do. I walked over and gave my Mom a hug.

She brushed aside her curly chocolate brown hair from her eyes and returned the hug. “You know I love you, right?” I just nodded in reply.

Before Our Lives Changed

“Alice wait for me!” I yelled down the staircase. Alice turned around and rolled her big brown eyes in a harmless manner. It appeared that she finally cooled down from the little skirmish with my Mother.
“What could you possibly be bringing? I’m just driving you over to your friend’s house up the road.”

“Toys!” I replied with a grin while having trouble dragging a bag of toys down the stairs. Alice helped me load the bag in her car.

We both piled into the car. Alice put the keys in the ignition and the car roared to life. Slowly, she began to pull out of the driveway.

“What time should I pick you up?” She questioned me as she adjusted her rear view mirror.
I shrugged. “A few hours I suppose…” My voice trailed off.

“A few hours but don’t you like your friend?” Alice chuckled softly. Her hand reached over to turn on the air.

“Nora is alright but she’s a little too hyper for me at times. She won’t even share her toys, so that’s why I have to bring my own.” I began to play with my seat belt buckle shyly.

“That certainly explains a lot,” she continued “but why do you continue to be friends with her if she makes you so unhappy?”

“We have good times and bad times, just like you and Mom.” I honestly said.

Her hands clenched the steering wheel, her petite shoulders tensed and a moment of silence filtered through the car.

“Stella, do me a favor. Don’t follow in my footsteps, be you and establish yourself as a confident person.” Alice barely choked out the words. Her eyes swelled with tears.

We pulled into Nora’s driveway.

“I promise but you have to promise me something too.” I whispered.
“Please, try harder. I know you and our parents have your differences but you can make things better?” I held my breath, the last thing I wanted to do was offend her but I did apparently.
“It’s easier said than done. Besides, what do you know? All you care about at the end of the day is playing with your toys and having everyone love you,”

“You get everything served to you on a silver platter but no, I don’t. I have to work for it.” Her lips trembled. “We’re not even related and my Father still treasures you more than he will ever treasure me.”

It hurt what she said. How could she say such a thing? I wanted to start to sob but I held in. I had to be the strong one.

Alice helped me drag my bag of toys to the porch of Nora’s house without saying a word.
She made an attempt to obscure her rheumy eyes but I knew Alice was crying. “I’m sorry…” Her voice trailed off.
“Are you going to be ok?” I sympathetically questioned.
Alice shook her head. “Don’t you worry about me. Go have fun with Nora.”
I tried to render her some sentiment but she just rejected me.
“I love you Stella.” Alice waved from her car before backing out of the driveway.
That was the last time I saw my sister.

The After Math:

I can’t recall much from that night, between the sorrow of losing a sister or what she said to me previously that day; I was too overwhelmed for an eight year old to even comprehend anything.
Life at that exact instant was a haze; it had no clarity just broken hearts, shattered dreams and a missing Alice.

Alice dropped me off that afternoon but she never came back alive. I remember standing in the driveway with Nora and her Mother who were watching me to make sure I got picked up safely. I remember thinking to myself “I’m going to try to make things better! I’ll think of a way!”

My determination to clear the air never lived on after that heroic moment, it died with my sister.
Instead, my Mom came to pick me up and bring me to the hospital. I became numb when I found out Alice had a car accident on her way back from the movies. I wasn’t told much detail about anything other than that my sister was gone.
I cried myself to sleep that night and the night after that night.
I regret not telling my sister that I loved her too because I did but she backed out of the driveway so abruptly. I figured she knew though.

As I look back, eight years ago I can at least say I’ve gained one valuable lesson out of the entire enormity of the incident.
Alice was going down the wrong path and we all knew it, including her, and when she told me to make that promise for her, I’ve made sure it’s never been broken since.

I learned to carry myself in a different respect and when I feel insecure, depressed or just destroyed I think of the promise I made to my sister and that’s what’s been bringing me up for the last eight years of missing Alice.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

ericksito69 said...
Jul. 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm
it was really emotional. there was a few grammatical errors here and there, but overall it was strong, and really sad. 
Islander replied...
Jul. 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm
Haha thanks! My grammar has never been the best but I apperciate you pointing that out!
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