If you’ve read Part 1 and 2 and you’ll follow the story better…
Driving my scooter towards home from work, the cold wind and the blinding fog made my heart fill with joy for the first time in the past few weeks. I love the fog that envelops everything around me. I love that it blurs my vision and I can’t see any further than a few steps ahead. I love that people can only see shadows of me. I love that it shields my melancholy from strangers. I love that it lets me be me.
I reached home and remembered that I had a Part 3 to write. So here I go trying to make some sense again.
After a few days of disappearing from social media and making as less contact with as many people as possible, my childhood friend, also my best friend who was there when I received the letter 15-16 years ago, sent me a text asking if I was fine. I told her everything, everything except the suicide attempt. She listened for a while and came up with the idea of going to meet my father who stays in a different place –a five-hour journey away. She’s the one who encouraged me to learn about myself and in some unplanned way pushed me into reaching out to my half-sisters if not my father.
So, my best friend starts pushing me again to attend a mutual friend’s wedding. Incidentally, the wedding was in the same area where my half-sisters stay. The eldest half-sister and her husband’s house actually. So I ask my friend whether it would be a good idea to meet the youngest till the eldest sister is back in town. She agrees and sends her driver to pick me up.
Before that, I call up the youngest (let’s call her L) and she doesn’t answer the phone. I get disappointed wondering whether she was still a little hesitant to talk to me after all the chats we had through the phone. Still a little disappointed, I go to change for the wedding and she calls back. I tell her of my plans to meet and she agrees. Super excited to meet a sister (I’ve never had one. Grew up with brothers), I ask my close friends whether I should get her something; what would be appropriate to get her for the first meeting?
However, L says she has a class to attend at 5pm and it’s already 3 and I haven’t stepped out of the house yet because there are gifts to deal with and the traffic. The driver arrives, I make him stop at a shop to buy a wedding gift for the friend and buy a few boxes of chocolates for L and wrap everything at the speed of lightening.
After picking up my friend, we head out to search for my eldest sister’s (Let’s call her S) house. My heart starts to race and I feel like I might just cry. I see my sister waiting at the gate and we get down. We give each other a hug, we act formal like there’s nothing to sweat about (you’re cool, I’m cool sort of thing). She invites us in and we just talk about the usual stuff like how it was difficult to find the house and that the house is very pretty and the garden too.
My friend makes a small remark that you guys look so much alike, and my sister says you should see the eldest then. My friend attempts to stay away from the conversation, but there’s no hiding place.
So, L says that S had asked her not to let us leave without having lunch, but it was an odd hour and we had a wedding to attend. She says that S also asked her to show her an old photo album where she had kept my pictures.
The photo album was tearing at the edges and as I flipped through it, I saw pictures of my eldest sister with her school and colleges friends, of family, and finally a few pictures of when I was in school. I wondered why they kept it all these years. Wasn’t I a reminder of their father’s faults? Wasn’t I the reason why their family had a fall out? How could anyone be so kind and accepting?
I didn’t know how to take the conversation forward and held that photo album close to my chest to shield my vulnerability probably. I told L that I had a lot of questions, that I was nervous to meet her and that I didn’t know where to begin. She said she was nervous too. “I felt like I was going on a date for the first time”, she said, and we laughed about it.
We had to leave. I told her I’d come again when S returns.
As my friend and I got back into the car, I told her that it wasn’t how I expected it to go. I thought I’d cry and share stories, but we held back for reasons unknown.
After the wedding and going back home I spoke to another friend and told her the same that I wasn’t satisfied with the meeting. It was supposed to be the most important meeting of my life and we wasted it on courtesies and some unimportant talk.
I soon realised I was expecting her to be excited and pour all her emotions out. I was expecting her to shower me with love for some weird unknown reason. I was expecting her to say that she missed having me in her life and more such fantastic imageries. But my friend calmed me down and said she was the youngest at home and probably didn’t know how to react with a new older half-sibling, and also as nervous as I was. I didn’t react the way I thought I would and neither did she. We were both probably holding onto our emotions so we wouldn’t scare each other away.
So I had this great urge to contact my eldest half-sister because she seemed like she cared more about my existence. And I texted her for the first time…
She was super excited to receive a message from me. She sent me several pictures of her husband and her children. Asked me to send some of mine. Told me that it was nobody’s fault but her father’s alone and so on. I asked her whether her husband was fine with knowing about me, and she said, ‘Yes, he has asked me to invite you over as soon as we get back’.
Then she sent a picture of her and her husband seated somewhere, and looking at her felt like looking into a mirror.
I showed it to my close friends and they said, ‘Give up smoking and drinking and you two would definitely look like twins.’
So, my meeting with my youngest half-sister didn’t go as expected, but I was glad I made that attempt to reach out to them. Now, my eldest half-sister, who seems pretty excited at the moment to meet me might end up doing the same when we meet.
We build these stories in our heads of how things should or would turn out, but they rarely do. So, for the next time, I’m not expecting tears or words of utter endearment –only expecting to meet a few strangers related by blood, and hopefully form a friendship, if nothing more.
(Hopefully, there will be a Part 4 to tell)
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