Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 09* → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.

I'm busy with a 30 day meme. Read more about it here.

When I was a young'un, my oldest brother (12 years my senior) had a serious girlfriend named Jacqui. She was ten years older than me and, considering I am the 4th child with 3 older brothers, she was my hero.

I must have only been about 7 when she came into our lives. She soon became part of the family. There all the time. Early on in their relationship, her younger sister committed suicide. She wasn't just Greg's girlfriend, she was our older sister. I remember when, as a little one, I'd be upset and run to my room in tears, it was Jacqui who would come and console me. I remember how excited she was when I started my period - to her it was an event worthy of flowers and a facial. When I had sleepovers as a 12 or 13 year old all my friends would be so excited for Jacqui to give us manicures and pedicures. She was a profound part of my life for 10 years. 10 hugely formative years. She was there through puberty. She was there through my mom's cancer and chemo. She was there through my childhood. Even today I can see certain parts of my handwriting mimic her handwriting. She was my hero.

And then.

Greg and Jacqui got engaged and moved to Durban. Oblivious me. There were signs which you only see in retrospect.

She ended it. She was in a relationship with her boss, who she subsequently married.
She went from being my hero to being public enemy number 1 in our family. But that's silly. There are, of course, 2 sides to every story.

Anyway, the impact was rather devastating to 14 or 15 year old me. I didn't get why their incompatability should mean that I had to lose a sister. Just like that Jacqui was out of our lives and we never heard from her.

I've seen her only twice in the 14 or so years since and I still miss her. I don't miss Greg and her as a couple, I miss her as my big sister.

In big moments I often wonder where she is and if she knows. Her mom is still in East London and worked at my gran's retirement centre so I have no doubt she's been kept up to date with the major things.

When I'm interviewed on TV or radio for Earth Hour I wonder if she recognises my voice all these years later. I wonder if she knows my new surname. I wonder if she knows about Sophia and I wonder if she longs to meet Tandia. I've no doubt she cried when Noon died. I guess, at the end of it all, the little girl in me wants my childhood hero to be proud of me.


Heidi said...

Oh wow. You told this story beautifully. It reminds me of the relationships I've had from the past-- my growing up years-- that seemed so important to me then but have drifted away over time. It's tough to change era's in life, isn't it? I felt that way when I got married & realized I was officially an adult, never a child again.

clare said...

I just love these posts, I like Heidi - I thought of a few people that have drifted into my life as a result of a relationship with my brothers. You are such a fabulous writer, btw it is jo here ;)

Nadia said...

loved the story!! I'm sure she misses you too and know it is you on TV!