I’m not such a fool as to think this would be easy, that the road would be straight and well-lit, that I wouldn’t be fighting against a plethora of outside barriers and traps in addition to the gaping holes in my own emotions and memories.

A has yet to be found.

The number of phone calls I have made to dead numbers, the emails that have been returned to sender, and the rude people who hang up on me before I’m even able to explain that, no, I’m not selling anything and I don’t care what your credit card information is! What a tiring ordeal this is!

I now am randomly calling two numbers that I have figured are A and her mother’s, but to no success. No one ever picks up, no one ever calls me back.

I have also found three potential addresses that A might be located at. Ghostwheel, my partner (who chose his own nickname–have to put that in here), has suggested that I write letters to these locations to see if anyone answers back. I have decided that if I don’t receive a response within a month of sending these letters, that I will do a drive-by at each location and go through the awkwardness of meeting the residents in person.

But all of this means that my search has plateaued. I know more about A now than I did when I started (for example, she got a parking ticket in winter 2013 for a meter running out), but I also haven’t had direct contact with her or any of the people closest to her.

I have hit this significant bend in the road, where I am refusing to turn around, but am struggling through the twists of the road before reaching the other side. I have, effectively, narrowed all of my information about A down to a workable bundle of papers residing on the kitchen table, but without direct contact with her, there is no way to effectively move forward.

Ghost has expressed concern recently that my search is putting me through more emotional distress than necessary. “I would’ve given up by now,” he’s said, his brow crinkled with worry.

I am grateful for his concern, and I understand what he means. Whenever I spend more than an hour at a time on this search I go a little crazy. In my first zeal, I used an entire afternoon (seeping into the evening) to try to track her down. The next day, Ghost had to deal with me in an overly depressed state: I had no emotions left, no willingness to move or do anything. I felt completely wrung out and dead inside. And he has seen me in significantly milder versions of this after completing yet another dead-end phone call for her.

I have, since that first incident, though, made a point not to spend more than an hour searching for her.

But when faced with the thought of giving up? No, I won’t do that. And I want to address why here.

I want to hear from her that she doesn’t want to be part of my life. I want to hear those words directly from her, without depending on my own faulty memories or heresay for that knowledge. Yes, it would hurt if that is her decision, but I’d be able to come to peace with it. And if she wants to start a relationship with me, then we can get it started.

I’ll be honest: I know that the odds are in favor of the former option, not the latter. I know that odds are she wants nothing to do with me or my father, but as soon as I know that for certain, that would make my thoughts about her that much clearer, that much more tangible.

I don’t want to live my life with a specter for a sister anymore. I want her to be real, or not. And this search is the only way that will be definitively decided.