Twenty six years later, I stood there in a strange room, that didn’t belong to us, staring at the most beautiful women ready to start a new life. So much had changed in these years, for one we had grown up.
She held my hand and led me home each day safely from school and back. She came running into my classroom each time I fell and skinned my knees. She would apologize to the teachers and principal to overlook my mischief. And she always took the blame for me when it came to my father. She covered all my lies convincingly. She stood up for me even when I was wrong, she sheltered and protected me for as long as now. We did not only share the same room, but we shared our dreams, our fears, our future, our thoughts and our love. With time we got distant. We didn’t feel the need to talk or discuss our emotions after all we were now too grown up for that. It started with having separate rooms, moving to separate cities and finally working in different time zones. We barely saw each other, talking was a novelty. We met only on weekends, only to discuss our plans with our friends and which new places to try. The innocence in our relationship was lost. the hand which once held on to me so tightly was let loose and I had gone far beyond.
When I looked at her all dressed up in her brides dress. I couldn’t help but cry. When did she get this big? Wasn’t it only yesterday she told me she was in love? Wasn’t it only yesterday she said she was having troubles with him? Wasn’t it only yesterday she said Susan, he proposed to me? I almost closed my eyes shut hoping I was only dreaming. But I was not. She was really going to walk out of this silly room, never to return to share it with me. She said she will always be there, but can one really share the same emotions? I hugged her for the last time as Parizad F Kutar, as she was going to go and get herself a new life, a new beginning and a new identity – Parizad N Thakker. I wished her well, o kissed her cheek, a mental goodbye to my sister. It was my turn now, I held tight. They were sweaty and she looked nervous. Just like old times, we never needed to say anything one look and we knew. I just smiled at her, whispered ” Pari this is the best day of your life, go ahead and have a ball”. I walked her to the car and though she almost ran into the hall I would like to put it as I walked her down the aisle too. She was the prettiest bride I had ever seen. So wonderful and radiant. Like I was seeing a whole new person. One look at her husband and she lost all her fears and tension and she smiled. That’s when I let go off her hand. She did not belong here by my side any more. She was to be by the side of her husband now.
Laughter roared in the house as we took my parents case, or when we poked fun on everyone we knew. Long serious chats about, love, life career, friends. Things we did wrong, things we did right. Opinions and advice both curt and hurtful but absolutely necessary. Too many coffee bottles later we were best friends and advisors. I didn’t have to cry for her to know I was sad, I didn’t have to say that i need her, she just knew when to knock on my door and say “Susan, do you need to talk?” And there all my bottled emotions would well up. As children I always wanted to be like my sister. Eventhough we are poles apart. I would try to dress like her, speak like her, eat like her cause for me she was the best. She is the only one who knows when her little sister needs her. And as I write this and as she reads it I know she will call and ask if I am ok.
21st June 2010, a day that gave my sister everything and took away from me my only shoulder to cry on and hand to hold on to. That night as I walked into the empty hotel room, I cried in the loneliness. I turned to the empty side of the bed and realized it will never be the same again. She was not coming back to share the room with me, only to leave again. She will never again walk into my room with a hot cup of coffee and a commanding tone ‘we need to talk’. She will never be the same sister I knew. Now don’t get me wrong. I am very happy for her. And she has found the perfect husband. Neil is a great guy maybe one reason I think it was easier to let go. That was a very emotional day for all of us, This little Fairy – Pari who came to my parents as their first-born, to me as my only sister was going to leave all those wonderful memories behind to make new ones. It was a mixed moment, happiness filled with sadness. Today a Father gave away his daughter, a mother gave away her child and companion and a sister gave away her only confidant.
I still wake up each morning to see her seated on the sofa, stirring her cup of coffee (the constant ting ting that woke me up in the first place) and watching tv at any given hour of the day. I would come out half asleep making my way to the kitchen and without fail say ‘ Good morning”. Now when I wake up I see an empty couch, a silent TV and an untouched cup.
I never realized saying goodbye to all those memories will be so difficult. I was in denial till the day I was left alone in the room. Pabi (that’s what I called her as I could not say r), I never said this before and choose to say this publicly, ” I may have not been a perfect sister. I may have been real little help to you when you needed me. I know I was self-absorbed but still you understood and let me be. Even on the last days you stepped up to being my big sister, my strength. You had problems of your own but you knew I really needed you then and you gave up everything even a day before the wedding and stood by my side to make sure I was ok. I may have failed to show you how much you mean to me? How much I love you? But sister no one can ever take your place. God bless you and your new life. I am always here. It’s my turn to be there for you. So please allow me to be by your side as you always been on mine.”
I will always thank God to give me such a wonderful sister. I have a lot to thank you for, but to most importantly thank you for giving me my identity, my name – Susan. Remember Pabi – you the one who selected this name for your baby sister. I can imagine you looking down at me when i must be barely a few days old and thinking, I will always love and protect her. And that’s exactly what you did all these years. thank you. Love you.