When I moved in with my dad at ten years old, my little sister—who was four–stayed behind with my mom. My relationship with my mom wasn’t a good one after I left and because of that, I barely saw Mazie for the next few years. When I did see her however, we both knew that when I left, we wouldn’t know how long it would be till we saw each other again. I can still see her banging on the glass window by the front door, tears streaming down her face, begging me to stay. Hear her screaming and feel her tugging on my shirt late at night on the front stoop trying to bring me back inside.
Finally, after months and months of this irregularity, my grandparents intervened. A schedule was put together. Mazie and I would see each other every weekend at our grandparent’s house. I learned a lot about my sister in those weekends. I caught up on lost time.
(Me and Mazie reunited)
It became obvious that she was pretty weird (read: unique). She could memorize everyone’s phone number by heart. Even people who would only call for our grandpa. She knew the order of the presidents backwards and forwards. She found humor in almost every situation. Her laughter was contagious. She could learn song lyrics after only hearing them once. She would spend hours singing and dancing in the living room, begging anyone and everyone to watch and listen at all times.
(A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?)
We quickly became used to the routine of seeing each other. Neither of us cried when it came time to say goodbye. We knew it would only be a few short days until we’d see each other again. As the years passed and this routine solidified—heck, we even spent every school holiday and summer vacation together–it was almost like we forgot all the time we had spent apart.
Last year, our schedule changed. My mom, who has battled behavioral-emotional disorders her entire life, was severely struggling. It became apparent that she couldn’t care for Mazie the way that she wanted and the way Mazie needed. Mazie moved in with my grandparents and me.
But I’ve been away at school this past year. I haven’t seen Mazie as much as usual. I went months without seeing her just like when I was in middle school. Except this time, it didn’t feel so bad. I knew with certainty that I would see her when I returned.
(Mazie and I on our winter break)
Now, Mazie’s thirteen years old. To fill her time, she mostly plays on her Nook (which she promised she would read books on but I’m pretty sure she’s only watched YouTube videos on), eats junk food, or hangs around me asking every five seconds what I’m doing and where I’m going–when most of the time I’m just walking up or down stairs. I try not to let it bother me, but sometimes it gets on my last nerve to be asked where I’m going when I open the bathroom door. Sometimes, she’ll ask to sleep in my bed just to be close. I usually say no. Who wants to share a nice big comfy bed with their little sister who steals the covers?
But the other night after writing about May (https://abbeygallagher.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-month-of-maying/) I was feeling pretty down. So when she hinted at staying with me for the night, I couldn’t stop myself from asking, “You wanna sleep with me tonight?”
Her face lit up. “Yes!”
As I brushed my teeth, Mazie called to me from my bedroom. “Hey Abbey! I found something to keep me occupied.”
I spit in the sink. “Oh, really? What’s that?”
“Looking at myself in the mirror.”
I finished up in the bathroom and went in my room where she lay sprawled across my bed with a small mirror in her hand, staring at herself.
Since I write in my journal (yes, I write even more than on here; it’s really problematic) and read before bed, I decided to let Mazie listen to my iPod. That way, her inner narcissist would be stamped out and I would get a little silence to focus on the words on the pages.
As we sat next to each other, me scribbling in my notebook, her wearing gigantic headphones over her ears, I started to hear her little voice slip out lines from the song she was listening to. It was like traveling back in time when she was just a single digit girl, when her voice was just as small as her stature.
It’s hard to express what this moment meant to me. As she switched songs, she smiled and sang along as if I wasn’t even sitting there. As if she didn’t even realize the words were escaping her mouth. It was a moment of pure childhood innocence and reminded me of all the reasons I love her.
When we shut the light, she held my hand.