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It’s taken me a long time to write this letter.
At first all I could think about was the huge sister-shaped hole in my life, the pain of having you wrenched away from me.
The wide shock on your cold face. The parting of your blood-stained lips. The way your pretty green eyes turned dull and still. How your hands were twisted at your sides.
But, two years on, I am finally able to remember you. Not the dead girl on the side of the road. The real you. The seventeen-year-old student who danced and smiled and lived. As you were known by reputation: the girl who had achieved all A*s in her a-levels. Remember that, Sophie?
How you got into Manchester University and you were so excited?
I can see you now, screaming with happiness, your blonde curls bouncing round your shoulders in a mad fuzz – and your eyes, your beautiful, bright green eyes, glittering with triumph and disbelief.
That’s me now. In a weird way, I feel like I’m living the life you would have had.
It was even weirder when I realized I’d finally grown older than you were. You were almost eighteen when you died, and today is my eighteenth birthday.
I’m taller than you were, too. You must be so jealous of that.
I know because you were only five foot two, and I’m five foot four now.
So much has changed. I even have a boyfriend now, even though I said I’d never go there.
Like I said, things are changing.
His name’s Jason and he’s my best friend. Not in that yucky friends-with-benefits way, he just gets me, you know. Mum and Dad even met him today, and you know what they’re like.
I used to think that when people died, that was it. They were lost forever. I know different now. Your spirit was so bright, so unforgettable, that of course you never really went away. I know if you were here now you’d think this is creepy, but I know we’ll meet again one day. The only problem is, I’ll have to die first. I know you’d laugh at that.
In the dark days, I did consider ending it all. But these days, the world is a more hopeful place.
Sometimes, the pain returns with an old vengeance, stabbing me in the heart, the stomach; piercing through my memories. And sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re really gone, really dead.
But most days, I just think of the happy things.
Your quirky smile. Your laugh lines. Your little pixie feet and your too-white teeth. How you danced so beautifully everyone stopped to look. The way you taught me everything I know, calm and patient even when I didn’t get it right the first time. You accepted people for who they were, and for that reason, there wasn’t a person in your life who didn’t love you.
But the thing I remember most is that you were my sister. Warm and funny and full of life. You’d probably laugh at this too, but I keep a photo of us tucked in a pretty gold necklace. It stays around my neck, that picture of us hugging each other in the freezing bite of snow.
That way you’re always with me, wherever I go.
These are the things I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time. Please don’t ever leave me.
Soph, I miss you. Every day.
Love your little sister Summer,