Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Collision of Head and Heart

I saw my sister last night. Actually, she's the only sibling I see fairly regularly. Usually I'm out in town, running errands or hanging out with a friend, when I sense a furtive staring and rustle of the anxious energy that my little sister exudes. What follows is a weird sense of being on exhibit in a zoo, as she-and sometimes her boyfriend from the East-begins casting piercing looks in my direction and trying hard not to show it. But the second she begins to act like she's not looking my way, he shoulders tense up and she looks very stiff as she walks away from me, like she's trying too hard to pretend she doesn't care or she didn't see me.

But last night, I got to see her up close and for an extended period of time for the first time since June or July, maybe longer. She was acting the same way as she normally does, but I was finally able to observe her a little as I trained in the martial arts class we both belong to.

"She looks so sad," my friend observed to me as we stretched. I had to agree. Deep dark circles pooled under her beautiful eyes. A tired strain showed on her face as she uncertainly assessed me. Even as she tried her best to look super tough in class, I could feel the rawness of her soul in her glances my way. She's a very good student in martial arts, and I thought she focused extremely well for the amount of time that she has missed the class in the last several months. Yet at the same time I felt like she could have enjoyed it so much more had I not been there.

That thought saddens me. The whole scene touched my heart. This is my childhood best friend. I can honestly say I couldn't have survived my stepdad's abuse without my little sister there to encourage my sense of humor, positivity, and love. Many times when I was in my darkest place, she would sneak to my side and draw out the sisterly affection that helped me see hope. To see her now, so obviously missing me and at the same time trying to properly shun me, gives an ache to my soul.

I wished that I could just draw a soldier's truce for that one night and be the supportive and funny big sister that I used to be. Often when I see her in passing, I concoct some small gesture to evoke a smile, whether it's looking back with an odd expression on my face, or giving her a small peace sign as I drive by. But up close and personal, I doubted she would let down her guard. I spoke to her for about 2 seconds total last night, to help refresh her memory about a form she was learning. I saw a flicker of the same emotion I was feeling in her. Sadly, I turned back to my own form.

After class, the same friend who observed my sister's sadness remarked, "I saw the death glare she was giving you in class. That was hard to believe she could hold so much hate toward her sister." This struck a dissonant chord. The memories of last summer crashed back into my mind unrelentingly. According to a family member's affidavit, my sister had told of some really awful things that my husband apparently did to her. At first I really wanted to believe my sister, at the same time I didn't trust the person describing the incidents at all.

Later, in an attempt to make peace, my sister outright admitted that the person who wrote the accusations made nearly all of them up, and the one point that she based the whole lewd relationship on was greatly exaggerated. At that point, I was torn about what to believe. So I chose to distance myself from the whole torrid mess, and I'm very glad I did.

Sometimes, however, I can't help thinking that it didn't have to be this way. I could still be close to my sister. I think it's clear that she feels the same way, and yet is torn between loyalty to the other family member, and her struggling relationship with me. We had our issues once we left home. She often felt overshadowed by me as she tried to come into her own at college, and it often led to frustration on my part and jealousy on hers. As the older sister, I was often the forerunner in whatever she did, and then she felt compared to me. Maybe it would have been different had we gone to different schools. Maybe it was a mistake to try and help her out by encouraging her to live near me and attend the same college. I'll never know now.

So, this is the matter that most often causes my heard and my head to collide. Everything else is pretty clear at this point. My younger siblings are still innocent and I love them with all my heart and I do miss them. Three certain immediate family members have very blatantly crushed my soul, over and over again and walk away with absolutely no regrets, and I feel little remorse for the way I estranged myself from one and almost none for the other two. But my best friend, and the one sister is the one who I have not come to peace about. I wish she and her friends could come over to my place and just be normal friends. I wish I could laugh with her again. But she chose her side, and she did strike out against my husband in a spiteful way, and that lets me know I just need to stay away.

At least that's what my head says.

(Note: The statements made in this article are all opinions of the author and may or may not be a fictional story. In no way are accusations toward any person, living or dead, being made. This is a creative piece written to display raw emotion and is deemed appropriate and non-discriminating blog material.)