1451 words · 7 min read
I last saw my sister, Kate, about five years ago. Since that day, neither me, our parents, nor our friends had heard anything from her or about her. Back when her disappearance was still fresh on everyone’s mind, everyone I knew offering help, both tangible and emotional, to me and to my parents; but soon, the memories of her faded from people’s mind like words on an old piece of paper, and they move on. Even our parents, who were crushed by my sister disappearance, and who are still holding a little hope of finding her again in a way parents whose children were missing in an unresolved air crash would, had long resigned to the likely event that they would die without their younger daughter seeing them off in their funerals.
The only person who is still looking for her is me—her older sister. But she is a grown-up, the world is huge, and she had a intense disdain for the connectedness of this age, a disdain quite uncommon in people of her age, but completely in line with her character, so that if vanishing without leaving any clues was what she wanted, if avoiding the rest of humanity was what she wished, if—most importantly—avoiding me was why she left, then it is not as if it were impossible, however hard that would be.
I’ve never told anyone about my complicity in banishing my sister from the known world. But should I blame myself, or my husband, Pierre, who had only assumed that Kate was a little weird and timid girl when he saw her for the first and the only time? She and I were, at the time, sharing a little flat in downtown, and Pierre came over for dinner unannounced as far as Kate was concerned, for I had forgotten to tell her about my intention to introduce Pierre to her. She came home when we were preparing the dishes—some roast beef and salad—and she wasn’t impressed by the intrusion of a stranger, let alone a man, however pleasant he was. Pierre could sense the unnatural feeling Kate had, though he tried his best to remain pleasant, inquiring her studies in European literature, nodding and agreeing with what she said in response, however curt those replies were, relating her replies to what he knew about the European literature, and letting her correct his misunderstanding. For her part, Kate was perhaps trying her best too not to appear impatient, rude, or downright offended by his existence, though my being her sister, who had, at that time, been the closest person to her, meant that I could read from her tiniest gestures that she was teetering between holding herself together and losing herself in anger. She didn’t lose it, however; not until Pierre had left.
Kate was never personable; behind her soft, blue eyes was a heart harder than rock and colder than ice, so that she had never got on with anyone, and her teachers at school would, despite her academic success, warn our parents from time to time about the danger of her not being able to find her place in the world. I was both her sister and her best friend. There were times when I resented having a small sister following me around like my shadow, but she was my sister, and I have to look after her, especially as she was unable to feel at ease with people from her year. Although she grew up and became an exceptional beauty, her unapproachable demeanour closed the door to anyone hoping to melt her heart. Towards the end of her high school, other than a few classmates who could strike up some occasional conversations with her, she spent most of her time alone.
I left the town I grew up in and went to a University in the city. Since I was two years ago than Kate, she was left behind for her final two years back home, which was distressing for her, as far as I could tell, though there was nothing much I could do. She soon aspired to go to the same University I went to, which she succeeded; not only that, she obtained a full scholarship to study European literature. So in my third year of University, I moved away from a flat I shared with two other girls and rented a flat to live with Kate. When she moved in, she was like she had always been, quiet and expressionless, except for an almost imperceptible smile, which was enough for me to decipher her true feeling, which was she was at her most joyful moment in a long time.
It was during that year that I sowed the seed for her disappearance, and without perceiving any danger in doing so, I let that seed grow into a disaster waiting to happen, and happen it did.
It was perhaps a few weeks after she moved in when I came home in one afternoon and saw her lying on her bed without wearing anything. It wasn’t the first time I saw her naked—she was my sister after all—though the last time I saw her naked was when she was still a kid and I was, for that matter, a kid too; and she was, at that moment, touching herself. The pleasure she derived from that seemed to let the fortification she had always erected around her crumbled, and the sight of her in such a state, oblivious to the vulnerability she exposed, reminded me of a fact that she was an exceptional beauty. Watching her like that made my heart race, and I walked up to her bed as quietly as possible, hoping not to be discovered, while at the same time I desired her. As she saw me coming towards her, but she didn’t do anything: neither did she try to cover herself nor did she appeared alarmed. I had never done anything like that with a girl, let alone my own sister, though she had cast a spell on me, which compelled me to approach her soft body, kiss her smooth and white skin, pleasure her, and let her pleasure me, until we were both exhausted by the contentment.
I had always loved my sister, but never in the way I would later love Pierre. And Kate, as far I knew, had never fallen in love with anyone, and the first person she fallen in love with turned out to be her sister. While we would introduce each other as sisters to out acquaintances, within the confine of our flat, we were lovers.
By falling in love with me and making me falling in love, Pierre was the one who extricated me from my affair with my sister without knowing anything about it. I met him in a class, and I was soon charmed by his curly dark hair, deep brown eyes, and stubbled face. Not that I felt the need to end the affair with my own sister, but I fell in love with Pierre as madly as I fell in love with her, making me slow to understand that for her, I was her lover, falling in love with Pierre was a betrayal, and bringing Pierre to our place unannounced would fracture not just the affair itself, but the unadulterated bond between two sisters.
After Pierre left, she couldn’t hold the rage under the lid any longer, though in her own characteristic way of dealing with anger, she chose to remain quiet and refused to talk to me for the rest of the evening. Only then did I recognise how careless I was; but what else could I have done, and how else could I prevent such situation from happening sooner or later? I didn’t fall in love with Pierre in order to hasten the end of the secret affair, but I knew the affair had to end at some point, even though I still, at that point at least, love my sister.
For the first time in a long while, we didn’t sleep in the same bed: she locked herself in her own room, and I shut myself in my own.
The next morning, she was gone. She had packed some of her stuff and left without leaving any note.
For the next five years, I devote every minute of my free time to finding Kate. I didn’t know where to start looking, what clues to look for, and whether I should even look for her, as no one would be able to find her if she was determined to disappear. But what else could I have done?
I miss you, as my sister, and perhaps as my lover.