I am severing ties today. The rope binding me to my own sister has worn so thin, I don't need the aid of blades or brute strength. My lungs, empty for a moment as the air was knocked violently out of them, have ballooned with new breath and expanded my chest just far enough to snap that last tenuous hold between her and me.
Here's what I will never understand: How does a woman betray her sister and her child, all for a man? Why is impressing and pleasing a deadbeat loser so much more gratifying and important than walking in lock-step with the people who were yours at birth? How can a woman tell such horrendous lies while looking directly into the eyes of her sister, one who's been there and gotten into the trenches and fought for her time and again? How can this woman hurl the words "He's lying!" at a nine year old child who doesn't understand why she instructed him to keep secrets in the first place?
I was raised to believe that blood is thicker than water. I was trained to give and give and give, no matter what toxin was thrown back at me. I have been told to take the high road, that my own sister is so twisted and selfish and sick that it's wrong to hold her actions against her. I have been manipulated and pushed and urged to pretend it's all okay because her life is punishment enough.
But blood is only thicker than water when it flows both ways. And I cannot continue allowing a woman who has no respect for herself, for the son she gave me, or for the family he and I have created, and who continues to wreak havoc amongst us. I could have forgiven her -- I am capable of such things -- but she turned her venom onto him. She looked me in my eyes and called him the liar because she was trapped and she has never been forced to say the words, "I was wrong."
I spent long, rageful years being her punching bag and her scapegoat. I carry deep, painful wounds from her torture, but I told myself nine years ago that to heal those wounds, we had to set down the burden of our history and move forward as adults in a fresh, new relationship. Only we can't. At least, I can't keep doing it. I can't keep trying and stretching and pushing the blood both ways.
When I was twelve and she was thirteen, she attacked me from behind. Her fist impaled my back and when I hit the ground, my brain swirled frantically, trying to figure out if the breath would come back, if I was going to die there. That's when her bare foot connected with the side of my head and she stomped as hard as she could while I tried to writhe away from her. Something distracted her, pulled her attention away from me, and she was gone.
That's what being her sister is for me. That punch, that intent to maim and intimidate and kill. That's the relationship I've spent decades trying to save. What she did to me that day was no different, no better or worse, than what she did to me for years before or after. But I will not allow her to do it -- even emotionally -- to my son. I am not a helpless, powerless girl now. I must protect what's mine, what's sacred, and what's vulnerable. I must hold his heart in my hand and say to him, "You are worth more."
That blood tie was so thin, a tear drop was enough to shatter it. There will be no remorse.