I am an only child; I have always been an only child. My mother wanted more children but to her dismay, it never happened for her. When people find out I am an only child, two things happen, first their face contorts into an ugly, confused shape, second, they say, you don’t seem like an only child…wait, yes, you do but not in a bad way…but you are spoiled…and you are entitled. Logorrhea is very common when discovered I am a single child. As if every negative stereotype about single children is true, even worse, true about me but I am still somehow likable. I never longed for a sibling; I was never lonely growing up. I always found ways to entertain myself, alone. Of course, I had women that I grew up with that were like my sisters, but they always had a real sibling, someone to call besides me, when shit went south. Then one day I met a woman who felt like an extension of me. Her name was Teresa. She was a writer, an accomplished writer, a New York Times Best-selling writer, and she was my sister. She was an only child like me.
Of course, I have met other only children, but she was the first and only person that, like me enjoyed being an only. She, like me was never lonely as a child, she, like me enjoyed being the rotten apple of her parent’s eye. Teresa could be sardonic, sarcastic, and caring in one sentence. She was funny and witty, a trait that I love in humans. She was judgmental but only about unimportant things, like what type of peanut butter you prefer. Chunky forever. She was a person that I loved and now she is gone.
When someone dies, it’s common to say phrases like “They are still here” “Focus and you can feel their presence” “They’re in a better place” but the truest, most selfish part of me doesn’t care about feeling her “spirit” walk next to me. I want her physical body next to me. I want to hear her goofy laugh again. I want to bitch at her about how writing a book is the worst decision I have ever made, and I want her to say “yep, keep going, you’re at mile 24 of a 26-mile marathon.”
As I write this, I know she would be filled with so many emotions, mainly surprise that her life is worthy of any attention. Even though she never thought she was anything special, I did. She was my touchstone, and I was hers. Death is excruciating for me, my system has yet to find a way to tolerate the finality. So, what I have done instead is pretend that I am fine until I am not, over and over again. The lifelong process of missing someone seems too hard to comprehend, for now I will pretend that I will hear Teresa’s voice again and when I do, we will laugh about the time everyone thought she was dead.