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A Little Bit of Hope
Betrayal. What does that mean? Well, to me, it means going against your word. That’s what my sister did to me. I never thought she would go back to using after she promised me it was a mistake that she would never make again. As a seventh grader with an older sister in detox, trying to focus on finals, it was hard. I felt this pit in my stomach every day. I read articles every night on detox because I never fully understood what it meant. Sometimes I felt like my sister was going to die, and other times I felt like she was already dead. That was easily the most terrifying time of my life. My sister promised she would never ever put me through it ever again. But, this time, it was worse.
I asked her where she was going and she just grabbed her bag, and walked out the door. I looked out the window as she went into her car dressed like a slob. It was a blazing, scorching hot summer day in New York, and I was going to ask her if we could go shopping like we used to about a year ago. Lately, I’ve been feeling like she’s getting too old for me. Maybe now that she’s in college, she doesn’t have time for me or my high school drama anymore. I had an idea. I was going to get into her email and see what she’s always leaving the house with that big bag for.
As I walked into her room, I hear my parents say, “Where’s Hope? She’s smelled like weed lately. What’s going on with her?” I get scared when my parents say things like that, but I know that they just don’t get it because she’s in college and they’re a lot older. It’s what they do in college. It’s normal to smoke weed every day, or at least that’s what Hope would tell me. She’s 19 years old, and I am 14 years old. I look up to her for everything and I never imagined that she would just stop caring about me. I guess that’s all a part of getting older.
I am in high school now, stronger than I was back then, or at least I thought I was. I had a boyfriend named Ross for a few months. When Ross and I broke up, she tried to make me feel better by giving me alcohol. I really didn’t notice how addicted she was to drugs, because all she kept telling me was “You’re going to smoke your first blunt with me” or “Smoking is so common, I swear.” I figured that maybe as I got into high school, I would realize that it is common to smoke every day. She was wrong. It didn’t take me long to realize that it wasn’t common. She gained a lot of weight, and didn’t care about anything anymore. She started eating like a pig and dressing like a slob. This wasn’t the Hope that I knew. She used to wear her hair all straight and pretty, with her simple makeup, and her slender legs in jeans and a cardigan. I was going to camp the next day, but I just didn’t want to believe that she had a problem with drugs. So, I didn’t.
I went to camp and just couldn’t wait to see her on visiting day! I wrote her letters and postcards, and I didn’t get anything in return. There was that one phone call that I will never forget. My mom picked up the phone, and we were excited to talk to each other. We talked about how visiting day was in a few days, and I asked if Hope could bring my phone to camp. That’s when my mom gave me the news. “Hope might have to take an early semester in Boston and she would have to miss visiting day. Visiting day is the only thing holding her back, and we really want her to go to Boston.” I cried because I missed Hope so much and I wouldn’t be seeing her for a long time.
Visiting day came and my sister didn’t show up. I couldn’t call her because she “lost her phone”. So, the end of the summer came, and I arrived at home. My sister wasn’t there so I figured she was still in Boston. I asked my mom when I would be seeing her, and my mom said gently, “We’ll talk about it later sweetie”. I automatically asked, “Is she in rehab, mom?” She gave me a look that said, “It’s all going to be alright” as tears began to fill my eyes. I turned to the window of the car and started to cry my eyes out. How could my sister do this to me? How could she do this to herself? How is my life going to change? What’s going to happen? When will my sister ever really be Hope again? These questions started to flood my mind and the overwhelming news made me lock myself in my room for days.
Hope called that night. I found out she could only have 10 minute phone calls where she was. I had nothing to say to her, I didn’t know what I could say. I was disappointed and disgusted, so I cried and said I wouldn’t be talking to her. My sister kept calling and asking about me and if I was okay, if I still hated her. I could never hate my sister, but I really wanted to cut her out of my life.
A few weekends later, I went out to dinner with my family. My sister called my parents and they asked me if I was ready to talk to her. I had a weird feeling in my stomach that I was. I took the phone, and I heard my sister say “LAURENNNNNN!” A smile suddenly appeared on my face and a warm feeling was rushing through my body. We could only talk for about two or three minutes, but I was thrilled to hear her voice. I told my parents that I was finally ready to visit her.
As we drove home, I imagined what Hope’s reaction would be when we see each other. I imagined either an ecstatic expression, or a relieved expression. It’s been three months since I’ve seen my sister and after hearing her voice, I couldn’t wait to see her! Yet, I was still extremely nervous. I wonder if she really has changed. I never thought I would get the old Hope back.
Pulling into the driveway, I noticed something behind the bushes. “What is that?” I asked. My dad went behind the bush, and picked something up. He walked straight up to my mom, and threw it out. It was a bong. My sister hid it there before rehab, I guess. This discovery made me wonder how Hope came to going to rehab. “What’s the story behind everything?” I asked. My mom said she would tell me tonight after packing to see Hope. I rushed upstairs to pack and I tried to pack clothes that would impress my sister. She had the best style, and I wanted her to the think the same of me. I’ve never been nervous about what I look like, or how I act with my sister. I had a weird feeling in my stomach this time though. It felt like butterflies were literally crawling into my stomach and all around. It’s Hope! Why am I nervous to see Hope!?
I walked into my mom’s room that night and asked again how everything happened. Why is my sister in rehab? She sat me down and began to tell me. “Well, Hope was smoking weed everyday as you know...” She had this gentle, humble look on her face that made me feel as if I were going to be upset after she told me. I still wanted to know so she continued. “…and during the summer, we all went to Europe as a family while you were in camp. Hope realized that she was starting to take pills, and smoke weed while she was on vacation with her family. She knew that wasn’t right. She wasn’t with her friends! Why would she be taking pills in the bathroom, and sneaking out of the hotel room to smoke weed, if she wasn’t addicted? She didn’t want to live like that anymore; it was taking over her body and her life. So, she came to us and told us she knew what she needed was help. Now, she is where she is and she asks about you every day.” I was speechless, and tears filled my eyes as I walked over to my photo albums. I looked at each picture of my sister and me, and I started to question. How could she do this to me? Does she regret it? Is our friendship ruined forever? Will it ever be the same? How could she do this to herself?
I carried my luggage into the car and hopped in, I was the last one in because I was finishing my orange juice. I might’ve also taken it a little slow that morning on purpose. I was nervous to see my own sister in rehab, it’s a little understandable. I was planning how I was going to say hi to her, how I was going to act towards her, what I was going to ask her, during the whole car ride. I turned to the right and saw a green and white sign that said, “Welcome to Wyomissing”. My stomach dropped and I couldn’t feel my hands. We were ten minutes away from getting my sister back.
I spent those ten minutes shaking, thinking, and worrying. I didn’t know what it was going to be like! What would it look like? How would my sister act? Did my sister know I was coming? Those ten minutes passed pretty quickly. When I looked up, we were pulling into “Treatment Visitor Lot”. We parked and slowly walked out of the car. You could hear a pin drop in this silence. My mom gently took my hand as we walked in. I guess she sensed how nervous I was.
There she was. I saw her walking in with her new friends that she had made there, and she screamed to one of them “LAUREN CAME! OH MY GOD!” I have never made anyone so happy in my life. I have never seen anyone so happy. She ran over to me, as I ran over to her, and she gave me the biggest hug I have ever received. I had a feeling I made the right decision. She then told me right away that she wanted to have a session between me, her, and her counselor . She wanted to really show me how sorry she was.
As she hugged the rest of the family, I began to get nervous for the session. What would we be talking about? Will I be asked questions? My sister grabbed my hand as we walked into her counselor’s office and she could tell I was nervous. The lady was heavy weighted, with light brown curls that looked like she used a lot of gel and bright blue eyes. She started off saying, “I’ve heard a lot about you, Lauren. Your sister wanted to apologize and get back to how you used to be. Hope, do you want to start?” Hope coughed and looked me in the eye for a good 4 seconds, which made me feel a little uncomfortable. “Lauren, you mean the world to me. When I just want to get out of here and go home and blow off my meetings, I think about you . I’m sorry for not being there for you lately. I’m sorry for driving you when I was high or drunk. I’m sorry for not being there for you as you start high school. I’m sorry for leading you in the wrong direction. ..” She went on to about 10 more apologizes and how she wants us to be close again, and she is where she is for me.
The end of the session came, and my sister walked out to talk to me and my family for another hour or so. We talked about how she was doing, what she was doing, her friends, and more. A colored lady came out of her office and said, “I’m sorry, it’s time for your family to leave, Hope.” Tears rolled down my mom’s eyes knowing that her daughter was in rehab. My dad gave Hope a big hug and wished her good luck. Hope gave my brother a big hug and they shared a laugh. Then, she walked over to me and gave me the biggest hug of all and assured me that everything was going to be fine. My family walked out the door and into the car.
As I slowly walked into the car, I started thinking about the conversation I overheard. They were talking about how she would go to a Halfway House in Florida and possibly live in sober housing afterwards. She said she couldn’t live at home with all of her memories of smoking and taking pills. Yeah, she might be sober forever. But will I ever have her back to go shopping with, go to lunch with? No. I won’t ever see her for more than a week or two straight ever again. I tapped my mom’s shoulder from the back seat and told her, “I just want my sister back.” My mom turned around to hug me and softly said, “I know, honey I know. But everything happens for a reason, and she will always be your sister.” Then she said 9 words that I will never forget. “All you need is a little bit of Hope.”