by Raluca Bara (XII)
July 19th 1987. I remember every single detail of it.
How I found my cup of tea in the middle of our shabby living room, near my mum’s special carrot cake. I kept myself happy with the leftovers, as I would always wake up late during the summer.
The pale sunlight unwillingly enhanced the bold beauty of our wild backyard in which my oldest sister used to read her useless fashion magazines I was never allowed to touch or even look at or whatsoever.
I never even cared about them until the day she left for good.
After the last sip of my cold mint tea, I shamelessly took my older brothers’ new bike to go see what my friends were up to. Lucky me, I never got to find him angrily staring at me by the end of the day, as the red bicycle lost its importance by then.
“Where were you?” My father yelled right before I closed the door.
Just out enjoying the few sunny days we’ve got…
“Why didn’t you answer when we’ve called?”
“I forgot to charge my mobile last night and it went off soon after I left home…”
There was this awkward pause which remarkably helped me to enter the atmosphere. It was tensed and my big cheerful family never worked that way before.
Michael, the brother with the bike, was obsessively counting the few books we had in our study room.
Isabelle, my oldest sister, kept my baby brother busy with some colorful puppets. She had teary eyes and tiny tears on her cheeks, despite the silly smile and high-pitched voice.
My mother looked blankly through our large kitchen window.
“What is going on?” I finally dared to ask.
“It’s Louise. She passed away in a car accident two hours ago.”
A vile lightning hit my minuscule body and I couldn’t even gasp.
My identical twin sister, half of my smile, my reflection and part of everything I ever knew.
“Grandpa and grandma escaped with a few injuries. They are waiting for us to visit them at the hospital.”
I wanted to ask how it happened but I couldn’t find the right words. Maybe that was because it didn’t really matter how it went on.
What I really wanted to know was why it happened and why her.
Even at the fragile age of 10 I was entirely aware that nobody could offer me the answers.
Time’s supposed to heal a wound, no matter how deep that one is.
Thirty years later I still ask myself why couldn’t I have been in her place.
I currently live in our same old house, but I now share it with birds, with the sun, the rain and the moon.