I’ve been thinking about my little sister a lot lately. Alana. I hate talking about her with people who didn’t know her. Sometimes I hate that I have this permanent reminder tattooed on my shoulder. It’s an open invitation to the glazed over misery that I feel when I think of her name. I rarely utter it in the sentences that flow from my lips in the explanation of the tattoo’s sentimental value. They don’t deserve to know her name. When people ask about the tattoo, everything that flows from my lips is either a cliche or some attempt at making them feel less awkward for asking. I hate it.
I hate that her existence has been whittled down to a brief explanation. A half-assed one, at that. I hate that loving her means hiding so many pieces of her that I know others wouldn’t appreciate or understand. I’ve attempted to say them out loud and the words that I put together just don’t do justice to the dynamism that existed within her brief sojourn. I wonder how she’d describe me.
I wonder what she’d think of my life choices. If she’d still hold me in such high regard. If she’d still want to be like me when she grows up. I wonder what she’d think of my friends, if she’d still call out truth in the way she always did. Like she created it. She saw things that I didn’t see. She knew things that I could never have known. To say I miss her is like saying I miss color. Like I’d suddenly been thrown into a world of black and white and gray. Like the rays of sun could not play tricks on the eye with a shadow cast, turning lemon to goldenrod. Or scarlet to crimson. Now, shadows are cast and there is no trick. Just gray to black.
Alana. No one can know the conviction behind my uttering of your name. So I whisper it to you. Hoping you hear me. Hoping you know that this tattoo wasn’t meant to be an invitation or to lead to conversation. It’s not even a reminder... because I will NEVER forget. It is a calling card. When I place my left hand over it and gently exhale your name, I imagine that you’re taking my hand in yours and that we’re sojourning together.