Recently I was sorting through boxes of old cards, notes, stuffed animals, childhood clothes, and other miscellaneous items when I found something. I found three cards from my sister A that I must have received sometime around fifth or sixth grade during the time when she was in contact with me. Two cards were simply signed “from A” with no personalization or additional thought attached. The third one was something different.

InkedNote from A_LI
A’s birthday card to me, inscribed thusly: Happy Birthday! I don’t know if this present is your “style” or not . . . but I thought you might think it’s cool. Wasn’t quite sure what to get you. But I hope you’re birthday Rocks . . . & I love you tons. ❤ A

It’s a birthday card for who knows which birthday, and she’s talking about who knows what present. I’m sure at the time I received it I absolutely loved it because (1) there are cats on the front and (2) my long-lost sister gave it to me. I don’t remember what present she gave me with this card, but I do know that I always loved everything she gave me because it came from her. Even if it wasn’t my “style.”

Now, looking back with only the words of this card to guide my memory, it makes me more sad than ever. She admits she doesn’t know me: she doesn’t know what I’d like and isn’t sure enough to do anything but hope I think it’s “cool.” The thing is, all she ever had to do was show up, and I would’ve been happy.

And she loves me “tons”? My cynical side snorts with derision every time I read that line. The way things turned out, it sure doesn’t seem like she loved me at all. Maybe she loved the idea of me, but she didn’t stick around long enough to know for sure that she loved the reality of me.

I have been struggling lately with what I could say to her in a letter form, so I haven’t written it. Instead, I’ve pushed my search for my sister to the back of my mind again, only vaguely wondering intermittently on what I could and should say.

Until now. Now, I think I have my inspiration. Now, I think I’m ready to write to A and see what happens.

And we’ll see if the last line that she wrote was ever true or can ever be true again.

-Wilber

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