Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sister, Sister

Now for something personal:

This is my sister. She recently forged our elderly mother’s name and stole thousands of dollars from her.

My mom worked six nights a week for years to support me, my brother and my sister. In her fifties, she took the GRE and got a job with the state. She was only able to save this money by living like a pauper. Once she retired, Mom insisted on subsisting on her social security checks, and banking the small pension she’d earned from the state.

It’s amazing how much interest can accumulate if you save every nickle and never spend a dime. She said the money was for her old age, so she wouldn’t be a burden to her children. Mom was sure she’d get cancer. She did. On her tonsils. Had chemo and radiation (The Tattoo Lady, Mother and Me), and beat it, although she still smokes.

Mom rescued my sister countless times from abusive relationships (White Lies), bought her cars, paid for repairs, saved the cars from repossession, paid down payments on homes, rent, and the list goes on. Every single one of my sister’s husbands and boyfriends were welcomed into Mom’s house where they mostly laid around. In order to discourage them from staying too long, Mom engaged in a peculiar form of domestic warfare where she put the lowest wattage light bulbs in their room and hid the toilet paper.

We — the sibs and Mom — laughed in those days at our mother’s eccentricities. We thought my sister would change, that things would get better. Why not? She’s smart and articulate, just has bad taste in men, and an addiction. To substance, yes, but more to a losing way of life. She's dedicated herself to bad decisions.

Mom’s heart is broken. She tried so hard to fix my sister, even lying to protect her when it put me in jeopardy. Mi familia. I got out, that’s my salvation, but my escape is only one of distance. I used to feel sorry for my sister, but this latest cut to our mother goes deep, beyond the blood, all the way to the bone.

"She’s bad, bad, bad," Mom says, all the orneriness gone out of her voice, making her sound feeble and old.
I think I might lose her any day, any hour, any minute, and it makes me so angry that my sister did this now.

All photos by author.