Mere Jaane Jaan Aaja
By Riya Talitha
My sister is smart. She is funny, like so hilarious. She’s like those accessories that big fashion magazines say add a pop to outfits. She adds a pop to my life, to my day, to my existence.
Her love for me is constant and unwavering and all-consuming. She adores me completely. She loves with a specificity that occasionally borders on obsession, and she remembers everything I say enough to quote it back word for word. She thinks I’m the bee’s knees.
I always thought she loved me more than I loved her, and it took me two thousand kilometers away and a month apart to realize that that was completely untrue.
This I know to be true: I love her insanely. I love her so much.
I am deliriously in love with my sister. I still detest hugs, but my arm was made to go around her shoulder, and that is God’s honest truth.
I still remember the day we agreed to become friends, in 2013 on a terrible day in the middle of the worst summer of our lives. We were in our grandfather’s car, parked outside another relatives’ house. We were waiting for our mother to come back, I think. It was hot; we were sweaty, and sleepy because we had stayed up late the last night watching weird videos and talking. This sounds normal and fun, but we had been doing this the whole summer, in a desperate attempt to distract ourselves from the chaos that was our life. By chaos I mean, both sickness and death, and let me tell you, these things have no meaning, no worth, no discernable purpose. We were grieving, we were small, and the laws of our existence were shattering. I was so used to being constantly sad and scared. I was so exhausted.
And then, I looked across the car seat, and my sister was looking back at me. I remember (as cheesy as this sounds), the look on her face, so tentatively hopeful and excited. My heart tugged, and I remembered that we were still young and bright and that all summer’s end.
I love that we are related. Me and her are the only people that carry our parents’ blood, and this wrecks me in the best way. Apart from how we were both raised, how we both speak, what we value, we look like each other. Our big dramatic eyes, the shape of our legs, our knobbly knees, elbows and knuckles, our eyebrows and eyelashes, and our broad, easy smiles.
I love my sister as I left her almost half a year ago, ridiculous and constantly worried, always on her phone and utterly unable to whisper properly.
I love my sister right now, as she’s growing up in a country too far away from me. I love her in every text and every message, in every stupid meme she sends me and in every song she wants me to listen to.
I love all the multitudes she contains, even the annoying ones that talk fast and all too loud, are self-centered beyond belief and that sometimes have no sense of personal space or propriety.
Listen, listen. Listen to me. We work hard on our relationship, okay? We communicate. We have laws and a constitution, and detailed amendments. We talk about our expectations and our disappointments, and we try to use ‘I’ statements, and we say we’ll try to do better.
We teach each other how to love, and a lot of it is uncomfortable, ache-y, frustrating and boring. We also just yell at each other frequently.The phrase “you b****-a** punk” is thrown around a lot, as is “ohmygoshwhat’sWRONGwithyou”.
Like I said. We communicate.
See, I know I’ve been writing about this, as though the heavens opened, and the stars stood still (they did).
There is no magic here (because this is
We agreed to become friends in a season of grief while we were hollow with loneliness. Maybe it was a rush of oxytocin, or perhaps it was by the prompting of the Spirit, I don’t know (yes, I do, it was destiny).
Course’ it might have been destiny (it was), but also, you can’t be an idiot and use that as an excuse for why your relationships fall apart.
“The stars may incline us, but they do not bind us.”
Love is a living, breathing, active verb and I choose to love her.
I do, I do, I do.
She gives me new dreams, like I want to be at all her graduations, love the people she loves, see her art, read her poetry, talk about everything and always be on the same page, recommend books and watch her enjoy them, be furious together, pray with her, work with her, laugh till our stomachs ache, listen to her ideas as she thinks and reasons, argue with people together, always have my arm around her shoulders, and live with her in a small sunlit flat.
She wakes me up. Like the future is right now, and I’m not sure what’s brighter, the Sun or my sister’s brilliance.
I am my most myself with my sister. I’m everything all at once, all the different sides of my personality centered and still. It’s a wonder and a marvel what she does to me, and I swear, we know each other better than we know ourselves. My love for her, at this point, is almost involuntary. It stutters out of me and twists me up.
I miss long car drives with her; I miss how we hate the same things with the same intensity and always right at the same exact minute. I miss having more pictures of us together than I know what to do with. I miss messing around, I miss showing off, I miss having a whole heart, but who I am kidding, I’ve never had one of those.
I’m dreaming of a small flat, that’s gonna be so well decorated, but also kind of a mess a lot of the time. There’ll be books literally everywhere, even though we both read online mostly, but there will be books everywhere because we need them like we need oxygen and laughter.
There will be massive windows with sunlight pouring in, and she’ll be lying on the floor because it’s cooler and I’ll be sitting in a hideous position most likely upside down, as we spend our free afternoons talking.
We’ll have two bedrooms, but we’ll share one sometimes because I miss lying side by side and close enough for me to whisper hey are you feeling sleepy, and she says no I’m so wide awake, and I swear nothing gets me more amped then that right there.
We won’t share clothes, but we will share underwear because I am lazy about doing my laundry. We’ll have friends over a lot, friends who befriend each other, and we start sharing them like we share blood and parents and a small cat. We’ll have a fridge full of vegetables, and fruits and hummus like our mother make it, there’ll also ice-cream because we love that and can’t resist. Sometimes we’ll make weird chicken omelets like our father is famous for, and she won’t ever eat my amazing French toast, but it’s okay, I just find it funny.
We’re going to walk in on each other trying out strange outfits (me) and makeup tutorials off the internet (her) and yell at each other to get out and close the door.
It will be a noisy house. We work very quietly, but we blare music and talk loudly, and will create a racket in our free time. She’s going to break things, that’s just going to happen, and I’m going to throw things. I don’t know why I just am.
<<I’m going to talk to boys and wonder how they’re so dull, and how they walk about without getting hurt if they’re so dumb. But she’s going to talk to people and fall in love because there are no parts missing in her like there are in me, but she’s not going to move out just yet. We got time.>>
We will have separate relationships with our parents that we won’t discuss too much, but we talk about literally everything else which makes up for it. We’ll watch movies and tv shows together except she keeps moving and I yell, and she apologizes but that’s habit, and it’s okay.
We’re convinced that the other one is the prettier sister, and we argue about this (I’m right, it’s her), but we agree that’s just perspective (rubbish). Perspective I say, and we fall about laughing because that’s an old joke. And then we reminisce like we’re eighty-four and eighty-eight, and we’re laughing so hard.
She’s going to tell me off when I’m an idiot, and usually, I’d tell her to piss off because she’s younger, but I don’t think that’s true in the sunlit flat, I really don’t. She’s grown up now, and I’m scared suddenly that maybe we won’t like the same books anymore, (we will, that’s irrational, and I need to calm down).
She’s grown up now, does she even need big sister anymore?
Four years older isn’t a lot when you’re living in a sunlit flat far away from home, and when you’ve maybe finished college, and I have a crisis about being obsolete when we’re finally together, and for not being physically present when I wasn’t.
But I’m being stupid. Of course, she needs me! I need her too.
And she’s big now, but she’ll always be my small egg, my walnut-girl, my best friend, my sister. And honestly, I can still ask her what she needs. I can fill in the gaps.
So, I take a deep breath, wipe my eyes and look towards at my sister as she leans against the doorframe, turning her head to look at me, ask me if I’m alright.
I smile, still a little teary, maybe a bit embarrassed.
Like always, like my heartbeat, she smiles back.