The other day as I pottered in the kitchen I overhead the sweetest words:
“You’re my best friend”.
“You’re my best friend too”.
Sisters have a very special type of friendship. I know that because my sister was my first best friend too. All those years ago, my sister and I were the little girls who held hands in the garden, and shared a toy and chattered nonsense to each other.
I’m sure we also squabbled and argued and stormed off with the hump. But that’s part of the deal.
Once, when we were around 9 or 10, or rather I was 10 and my sister was 9, we had a fight and she left home. We had been playing with water and I’d gone too far and soaked her through. She got upset, packed a banana and an old towel in her blue plastic swimming bag, and left, out into the night, gone forever…
I was scared. I thought that I’d lost her, and also, I’d have to tell my mum that she had gone, and my mum would probably be a bit cross about it.
But mostly I felt sad because I’d made my sister sad, and when she is sad I’m sad too. So really I’d made myself sad, and that made me even sadder. For a bleak moment I contemplated life with out my sister, life without my best friend and then I felt sadder than ever.
Fortunately the bleak moment only lasted for five minutes. My sister, who had been courageous enough to make it to the privet bush and the end of our road, had experienced a twinge of fear. So, after eating the banana, she decided to come home again. My mum who had been dozing on the sofa didn’t even notice she had gone.
People often ask me if I’ll stay in Australia. I’ve carved a life for myself here, I’ve made friends, I’ve made a family. We have a good life here, but I’ll never stop wishing my sister could be here too. Or, that I could be there. If only it wasn’t so bloody far! Living on the opposite side of the world from my best friend is nothing less than agonising.
We recently got home from five weeks in the UK. I saw my sister nearly every day. My children played with her children. My husband drank beer with her husband. We were all together, a big family. The way it should be. And when we came home I left part of my heart behind. Goodbyes are hard.
I faced Christmas with a sense of trepidation, the holiday season brings out the worst of my homesickness. I sat in my office crying over the John Lewis add. Stupid John Lewis. Stupid Christmas.
And then one day, I came downstairs, and she was standing in my kitchen.
If I believed in magic I would say that the universe conspired to bring us together for the holidays, like a Christmas miracle!
I don’t know about miracles, but I do know that I’ll be spending Christmas with my best friend. My first best friend. My last best friend. My sister.
This post is part of Kerri Sackville's #Myfirst blogging challenge