Today is my sister's birthday. I am going to pass on the whole birthday-schpeel thingy I do on this one, though. I'm just going to tell you a little of her story, the very, very little that I know.
The last time I saw her, she was 11 and I was leaving my mother's house in Delaware to go live with my father in Denver. The first time I had talked to her since, which just happens to also be the last time I talked to her, she was maybe 21 or 22 and just getting pregnant by some absolute fuckstick* who turned out to be exactly as much of a jerk as I warned her he was going to be. Now she is 26 with 2 kids and living the dream. The welfare dream.
I hear she is in Ohio or Iowa or something. I know she is a single mother and that kind of makes me sad for her.
She was deprived of, oh, a LOT of oxygen during a surgery at 6 months to correct one of her many birth defects and was left pretty much crippled mentally by it. It didn't help that something or the other went very wrong with the drainage system in her ears and she was deaf until she was 4-ish. Add to that the leg-braces and the developmental delays and you have one really screwed up kid. Top it off with truly shameful state-provided medical care (god forbid my perfectly capable parents INSURE us when the have that whole welfare thing!). Throw that into the mix with a psychopathic cult Christian mother, a piece of shit absentee father and three other kids fighting for their lives, and, oh, you can guess the rest.
I really feel just sad for her sometimes. Poor kid never had a chance. I left when she was 11. I had been working with her after school every day, tutoring her in reading and math and teaching her how to play the piano because that makes your brain work in ways it doesn't otherwise and helping her learn how to brush her hair and make herself look nice and take a bit of pride in herself. Of course, once I left, no one was there to pick up the slack. And of course, my dear mother so vilianized me (the gist of which was something about me having moved to do drugs and have sex with my father, I believe) that she would not talk to me or come visit my father anymore, for fear of being corrupted. And instead, she sat there and rotted away inside.
I asked her to come live with me when we last talked at 21 or 22. I really wanted to try to help her, to maybe parent her a little. I have never fully let go of the guilt I felt when I left her behind 14 years ago. She, of course, declined my offer and went on her crazy way, banishing me from her life again, refusing my phone calls, blocking me from viewing her silly little online photo site. Me, being a generally unforgiving, cold hearted sort of bitch, took the hint and walked away forever.
Today, she is living the same life my mother led, the same life all the women in our little section-8 ghetto lived, up against immeasurable odds, with no tools to fight and I only know this because I found her on MySpace and I occasionally click over to her space to look at pictures of her kids. I am sure that if not even I cannot see a way out of that life for her, she surely will never find one.
Boy, this post is a bummer. I didn't mean it to be. I just so rarely even think about those people that shared uterine space with me that when I do, I tend to drone on. Sorry.
And happy birthday, J. I hope it really was.
*fuckstick is one of those special words reserved for the lowest of the low, like the guy who sleeps with the slow girl, knocks her up, and then dumps her in the name of "doing right by god". Fuckstick.