He Who Never Was

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Gone before he really existed.

Wind flashes past me. Pictures elude me over and over again. I hear voices in my memories, voices telling me that I am not the eldest child. That I never will be.

Only children are lucky, friends say, not to have to deal with argumentative siblings or sharing bedrooms or splitting hearts and affection. Officially, my label is only child.

Because what else can you call someone like me? The younger sister of He Who Never Was? I suppose that’s who I am. No, that’s who I want to be. I want to be close to He Who Never Was. No one gets that, I’ve found. They can’t see past the facts: you are an only child. Miscarriages in the first trimester aren’t loss of life. They’re loss of almost life.

I don’t think he was Almost, though. I think he Was. After all, Mama felt him. Saw his passing, felt it too. Mama was the one who became empty.

You are a blessing! my parents insist. What would we do without you? But I can’t help wondering, what would they do with me if He Who Never Was was? Would I exist? Or would the line cut off after Him like it did after me?

Dad scolds me, You ask too many painful questions. She doesn’t need to be reminded. He thinks of her, I think of Him. What would he have been like? The surgery was merely two years too late to save Him. It saved me, though.

If there’s a God, why didn’t he help He Who Never Was? Why me? What can I possibly do for this world that He couldn’t?

You’re sharp as a tack, they say. I don’t feel that way. I feel dull, halved, because I know there was but there wasn’t. He was but he wasn’t. I have the feeling that He would be sharp too. Or maybe we’d both by dull. Who knows? Who cares?

In words, order is important. In importance, order is words. See? To me, that makes order in life important too. Because we’re all words. Whether they be spoken or written or thought. Words are what make us what we are, I’ve found. Words make me a brunette. A girl. Words say I have brown eyes. They’re the only reason I know he existed, because He Who Never Was isn’t here to show me. So the words have to.

Was he snuffed out so I could live? If so, I’m extremely grateful, and guilty. As of yet, I’m not sure I’m worth it. He could have Never Been because they needed the pattern.

On my mother’s side, a girl. Seven years later on my father’s side, a boy. Five years later, He Who Never Was. We might’ve had the same birthday, I realize now. He left a few months before Christmas. I was born in April.

Why is that important? I’m grasping at straws, trying to find the brother I never had. We shared the same space, I guess, but not at the same time. I’ll never meet him—he was gone before I was even thought about. I’ll never see pictures—they’ve been lost. Or forgotten, if they ever even existed. Mine are in shoeboxes. Well, decorative shoeboxes.

So different! Actually, I don’t even know if it was a Him. I could have had a sister. But deep, deep down I know it was He Who Never Was, not She. I’m probably projecting my emotions, though. It may be total b.s. I’ll never know.

That’s what gets me. The fact that I’ll never ever know. Never know a name, or a face, or a gender, or human things like eye color or hair color or height or weight or interests.

They’re not there for me to know. No one knows because those things Never Were. And they never will be. People lose siblings all the time. But they knew they’ve lost them! They knew them!

All I can say to He Who Never Was is I wish you could have been.

Because what else is there to say? I’m sorry? I can’t change it, nor was it my doing.

So He Who Never Was if there’s any way you could understand me,

I wish you could have been.

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