I watched your videos once more. Two years later, I recharged your phone and held your face in my hands as you spewed out words that still pierce my soul. I figured the second time would be easier, somehow more controlled. This time held no element of surprise for I thought I had your words memorized. I remembered tangled spiels and snippets of stories that weren’t exactly kosher, but mostly I remember this two-hour footage as the only thing that gave me closure. With you suddenly hanging from the railing at a subway station merely twenty-four hours after our last conversation, this video was the only thing that gave me some kind of answer. An answer that was still so heavy to swallow that night, it took me nearly two years to regain my appetite.
Perhaps that’s all it was – I got hungry again. With my insides beginning to gradually lighten, I am constantly reminded of our ever-growing distance. Greed and grief are a part of the same family, seducing you to feast on stale remnants. You get high off of your pain and when it begins to wear off, you spend the night with your head in the toilet, pretending that throwing up your insides will somehow ease the strain. I spent yesterday afternoon stuffing myself with words I had heard before, waiting for the closure to settle in, but this time it never came.
For this time, I wasn’t the docile little sister absorbing all that her older brother told her, the one who grew up under the umbrella of his wisdom. Two years ago, seated in that plastic chair in a clinical room, I knew there was so much I disagreed with, but it was trumped by my love for you. You talked me through the confusing maze of dead-ends imprinted in your head, and I believed you when you said you needed a rest. You had pushed against the weight and made it to twenty-four, but your pieces were coming undone and the mask holding them together was scrambling into a mess.
But yesterday afternoon, you weren’t my older brother. Two months away from my twenty-fourth birthday, I sat across you for the first time as an equal. I saw you slip off the pedestal and become someone just like me – armed with dreams and ambition, but stuck in limbo. I saw you stretch into a smile while looking straight into my eyes, and within them I saw the home you had made for your depression, hidden under a tarp of clever tropes and lies. Two years ago, I knew you were sick and you had struggled, but I had truly believed that leaving on your own terms had perhaps handed you back some self-redemption.
Yesterday I saw through that delusion. Yesterday you weren’t my wise older brother who was troubled but always did know better. Yesterday you were a regular twenty-four year old kid, lost and scared, broken down into self-surrender. Yesterday for the first time, we were so close in age, I could wear your troubles as my own, fitting into the coats of despair and feeling their weight rest on my shoulders, waiting for your words to once again give me closure but this time I saw the gaps in your statements, the flaws in your arguments, the layer of fog you got so used to, you stopped seeing anything beyond it. This time I thought would be easier for I already knew what you were going to say, but after working on myself for the past two years, I realized that God wrote a cruel narrative that required me to lose my favourite person in order to learn all these important lessons that exposed the loopholes in your premise. Yesterday I realized that while right now we may be in similar phases of life, gradually the little sister will have to outgrow her older brother.