Cast of Characters -- Older Sister: Second /// Older Sister Hubby: BIL /// Oldest Sister: First /// Younger Sister: Fourth
You know how it is when you get together with siblings you're close to. You talk about the past, right? When Second and her family visited me last, we chatted about First. Second, BIL, and I sat together one evening discussing the various qualities of First. How totally different she was than us (the other 3 sisters). How detached she is from us. How she doesn't communicate like the rest of us do. It's amazing how when we start talking about First we always go back to the time when First ran away from home when she was 16.
I always seem to come back to the fact that she took my purse. My purse? For those of you who grew up in the late 70's, it was one of those black parachute shoulder bags. I thought it was the coolest thing. I was wanting it for months and I finally got it for Christmas. I was so stoked to use it, but never got to. But guess what Second reminded of? First had given me that purse for Christmas! I couldn't believe that I'd forgotten that! She bought it for me and took it with her when she ran off. It's like she had it all planned out.
BIL mentioned that when we talk about First that I always get back to that purse story. I've never understood why I do that. But last night I put some thought to it as I lay in bed.
It was such a horrible time for me. The fallout from First running away was traumatic for everyone she left behind. My Dad was totally pissed. My Mom ended up going into a depression. Second threw herself into her sports to escape. Fourth was a baby so she doesn't remember it. There was so much tension and sadness in our house.
At that time I was in the 8th grade. What no one knew was that I had a boyfriend. Yes, I had a secret boyfriend. Of course, everyone in school knew we were an item, but my family had no clue. He was the first love of my life. We had a crush on each other since we met the first time in the 7th grade. But we didn't get together until the beginning of 8th grade.
You know what I did? Two days after First ran away, I broke up with my boyfriend. What? I broke it off with him. I saw how pissed off my Dad was about First. I knew that if he found out about my having a boyfriend he'd start giving me crap about it. I also wanted my boyfriend to have a girlfriend who didn't have to hide the relationship. My heart broke to do it but I wanted him to be free. There were so many girls at our school who adored my boyfriend, so I knew he wouldn't have any trouble getting another girlfriend. I wanted my boyfriend to be happy! I felt that he deserved someone better than me. That's why I broke it off with him.
He ended up treating me horribly after this. What sucked was that he was in a class with me. I recall on one day that he and another guy were saying unkind things about me and laughing. They weren't saying it loud but loud enough so I could hear them. I ended up asking the teacher if I could go to the bathroom. I quietly walked out the door, down between the bungalows, and into the girls bathroom. Once I was in the bathroom, I cried and cried. This was the boy that I still loved with all my heart. I couldn't believe how intentionally cruel he was being to me! I remember looking in the mirror and saying "ENOUGH" to myself. I totally remember saying to myself that I wasn't ever going to let anyone see me cry. At that moment, I learned how to turn myself off. Turn myself off? Yup! I learned to turn off my emotions. I learned how to cut people out of my life.
From that point on I was a different person. That's the moment when I learned to be a hard-ass bitch. Since that time, no one has seen me break due to their cruel nature. I wasn't a softie anymore. I had a hard edge to me. No one get through the barrier I'd decided to build around me. Oh...I was gentle and joyous with all my friends, but if someone was not nice then I didn't need them in my life. I was never mean to anyone. I just ignored those who weren't kind. What's funny is that because I wasn't involved in the cliques and gossipy nature of high school, the other kids interpreted that as my being mature. I knew everyone but was loyal only to my closest friends.
That moment of First leaving was the precursor of me changing. My family-life was a wreck and it's not a period of time in my life that I like to recall. I sacrificed my happiness -- I sacrified the love of my life. I wasn't a happy-go-lucky adolescent anymore. I knew that life wasn't always fun. I knew that life could be cruel. I knew people could be unkind and malicious. I knew I was no longer a child. I had to grow up. Maybe that's why I focus on the purse....