It was just a usual Sunday evening, you know the kind…homemade spaghetti, repetitive arguments, and loving banter. Every Sunday evening, without fail, I would join my parents and brother for a family meal. It was tradition, and a necessity (I always had tons of laundry to do).
On this ordinary Sunday, 7 years ago, the phone rang. I was lounging on the couch, not wanting to move, for fear I would explode from the copious amounts of carbs consumed. My brother was sneaking a cigarette on the back porch. My parents were having their after dinner guilt cigarette in the garage. The call went to the machine. Out of nowhere, a voice.
Dad, pick up. I know you’re there. Dad…
I sat up stick straight. Surely it was a mistake, a wrong number? But, something felt familiar about that voice. It was my voice. How many times had I called my parents and left the same exact message?
My brother came around the corner from the living room, and just stared at me. I stared back.
In a trance, we walked together to the garage. We just stared at our parents. They knew. They knew we knew.
Well, here we go, they said.
Here we go.
From then on, my life was drastically altered. On that lazy, regular, nothing-special-Sunday, I found out that I had two sisters. Sisters.
I don’t want to get into the why’s and how’s of the happenstance that one who had yearned for the connection of a sister all her life, in fact, had sisters all along, yet didn’t find out until the ripe old age of 25. I will say that my dad was married before my mother and he had two daughters. The divorce from his first wife was not pretty and thus, you have two seperate families, existing a continent apart from each other.
How can a mother tell her daughter that she has sisters, sisters she will likely never meet due to the circumstances surrounding their father’s estrangement? Especially when that daughter really wanted a sister named Summer and she cried as if the world were ending when she found out her new sibling was a brother, named Jarrett (does that make me a bad person?)
I never connected with the sister who called looking for our dad, but through her, I found Tracy.
How can I express how I felt during the hours, days, months after first speaking to the sister I always wanted, until that humid day in Philadephia when I first laid eyes on her? I don’t think I have the literary ability, or its impossible to articulate into words the emotion felt when you finally find your kindred spirit.
We spoke every day. Our conversations were filled with questions, so many questions.
What is your favorite food? What kind of music do you like? What is your favorite color? Who are you? Who have you been all these years I didn’t know you?
Despite never being raised together, Tracy and I share likenesses that are uncanny. Despite the fact she’s 16 years older than me, we are like long-lost twins. I could go into every way we are the same, but it may not mean the same to you as it does to us.
I was sweating profusely and didn’t sleep a wink during the entire red eye to Philadelphia. Meeting someone for the first time is always scary, but to meet your sister for the first time? Maddeningly nerve-wracking. Doubts plagued my thoughts.
What if we don’t get along? What if it’s awkward? What if…
The second I laid eyes on her, a sense of knowing crept though my veins.
Why of course, there you are.
I knew her. She was my sister. Never having met her, yet she was always there, being my sister. Through every lost tooth, knee scrape, broken heart, she’s always been there.