She was my sister. Not by blood, but by heart. We would do everything together, and if we were separated for any reason, it would just felt wrong. Her friends and my friends both knew that we were a package deal. If her friends had a party I would go too, and if I was invited to my friends sleepover, she would come with me. We were practically the same person!
Her name was Rylie Elise H. My cousin, best friend, and soul sister. Rylie and I. It didn’t matter that she was a year younger that me. She would always be there. When we got in the car to go home from school, because we went to the same elementary, we would know right away if the other was upset. When we got home, we would go to our room, because since we were the same person we shared a room, we would spill what was wrong and have a whole cry fest over it.
One day, when she was upset, she wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. At the time it wasn’t the end of the world, but when weeks went by and she wouldn’t get out of her mood, I got upset too. I asked her over and over again what was wrong and she wouldn’t tell me. She would just get on her phone and block me out. Music, phone calls, facetimes, games, whatever she could do to get away from me without physically moving. It hurt, a lot. The person who completed me was blocking me out. I later found out that she was just prepping me for what my new life was going to be like.
One day, she was more sad than usual. I didn’t know why, but I knew it annoyed her when I kept asking what was wrong, so I didn’t ask. That night, she stayed up, when usually she was the first one asleep. I would always fall asleep about an hour later than her, so this threw off my sleep schedule. I was miserable for hours, until she finally got up. She came over to my queen sized bed and laid down on the other side of me. I looked at her, she looked at me, and she finally spilled.
Tears streamed down her face as she told me what was going on. I couldn’t believe it. It would be so hard! When I started crying, it felt like old times, having our own little cry fest. She would tell me that we could still hang out, but I knew it would never be the same. That’s right, her family was moving out.
Her mom started picking her up from school, and when I got home, she wouldn’t be there. I was a fool, because every day after school, I would forget that she wasn’t coming back with me. I would get in the car and wait, and when my mom would drive away, I would say wait for Rylie, and she would remind me. Every single day. She would tell me the heart crushing words that reminded me of what I was trying to forget. How she wasn’t coming back. Things only got worse from then.
She would barely meet my gaze in the hallways. She avoided me like the plague. Then she transferred schools. I didn’t pay much attention to these facts, I would still call her and leave notes at her doorstep. Until she stopped answering my calls, and I wasn’t allowed over to her house anymore. I didn’t understand how, in less than nine months, my whole world flipped over. My soul sister left me. And I had to live with it, alone.
I had to live with the half-empty room that I slept in, and the empty space where her bed would be. I would have to hide under the covers to avoid seeing the walls that we did shadow puppets on. And even under the covers, I remembered how we would build a fort out of them. I couldn’t escape the memories of her, and I finally gave up. Instead of hiding, I would just stare at the ceiling and let the sadness invade my soul. I had accepted that I would never see her again.
From that day on, I realized that people could leave me at any moment if I messed up. I’m still afraid that one day, we’ll drive by and see her and her new friends having fun. Or see her with another soul sister, sharing secrets and memories like we used to. I keep track of how long she’s been gone by the day on my birthday. Every August 28th, I mark another tally mark that symbols a year. It’s been six years. Six years of pain, misery, and heartbreak. By now, I’ve learned how to block out these memories, now that I’m older. I barely think about her, and I’m used to having my own room now. My own bed. My own life. Thinking back on her, I realize how she never answered that one question that meant the world to me.