I still remember the first day I met you. It was a Saturday afternoon and I had just come back from boarding school. Yeah, I was one of those children that went to a primary school boarding school. You were in the living room, legs crossed, gum in mouth and staring at your dad and my mum discussing about something before I walked in. My mum noticed my entry and quickly put on a fake smile and beckoned to me. She told me that I had a new daddy and sister.
I didn’t understand that because from what I knew on television those things don’t come “new”. From the corner of my eyes, I knew you were watching me and sizing me up with those huge set of eyes that you have. I immediately knew I was going to hate you without looking at you. I would eventually hate him too, my new daddy, although I didn’t know it yet. My mum said a lot of things I don’t remember right now but in the end she told me to show you to my room and how I should treat you nicely because you would be staying with us for a few days. Lies! I could tell later on from the huge suitcase that I had to haul by myself up the staircase that you were obviously staying longer than that.
Did I forget to mention that you were very beautiful? You had a perfectly contoured face, huge set of eyes with long lashes, a nose that perfectly dipped and then jutted out to the sky and lips that were perfectly rounded with white teeth beneath them. I still had braces on and from that moment I knew I would always be jealous of you. We were both eight.
I still remember the first words you uttered to me, in that attempt at appearing older tone of yours, “I only sleep with the air-conditioner on and lights off”. I did not reply you but I made sure to disconnect the wires of the air-conditioner in my room and stayed up late reading my favourite Goosebumps novel. I knew you were upset but I did not care. Little did I know that in that devious head of yours you were planning your revenge, an event that left a scar forever in my mind.
I still remember when I first got my period. The only reason I remember it so well is because I got them before you. I was 12. You did not get yours until you were 15. I still get tingles in my belly whenever I remember the look on your face when I told you that I had now become a woman. Did I forget to mention the fact that you were still living with us? We shared clothes, food and bed. You were almost like a sister, but not. At least not in my head.
I still remember the first scar you gave me. It was a hot water burn. You offered to help me with my hair. I had just done braids. The thing with braids is that after braiding, you have to soak it for a little while in hot water to allow them “sleep”. It was whilst doing this, dipping my hair in scalding hot water that you let the still wet hair touch my fragile bare back. That hurt like hell and I can remember screaming at you and threatening to do the same. I couldn’t. I wasn’t like you.
I still remember the first time I touched you. You know the intimate place where no one ever really talked about. Yes, that place. It was while you were sleeping. You stirred, looked at me sleepily, and touched me too. We touched each other the whole night, exploring each other’s bodies, practising what we had sneakily seen on television. It was an unspoken thing between both of us. We hated each other. Yet, this was the only way we could bond.
I still remember the night you told me that you had had sex. We were both 16 and had just finished secondary school. It was during one of those crazy long vacations that our parents always went on. You were always out every night on a frolic of your own. I could only stand and stare through the window blinds as I watched you being dropped off by a different man almost every single day. I noticed a change in your behaviour as you rushed to the bathroom after every encounter, washing off only Lord knows what. One night as we laid down beside each other, you turned to me and whispered in my ear that you were no longer a virgin. I was jealous, it should have been me first.
I still remember the last day I saw your face. You had been accepted into University of Abuja to study law. You said goodbye and kissed me on the cheek. I was not happy for you and I couldn’t feign it. I simply said “Goodbye Sis”. That was the first time I had called you sister and it shocked me to my bones that I had said it. Almost like I had to say it. An affirmation that we had a bond.
You were on that Bellview flight 11 years ago. I look back and wonder if I would have done anything differently. The answer is no. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t know. All I do now is remember.