Not Too LateA Story by olive tree
A story of sisters, and regret.
I was ruining her life. Everything was about me, and I could tell she hated me for it. Mia could never get her way when we had a fight. When our parents would get involved they always believed me, and I always lied. She was always the better sister, and she was getting punished for it.
Mia had told me once “Hey Zee, you know how sisters are supposed to fight and hate each other?”
I just looked at her, and thought she was crazy. “We do hate each other” I replied. Then I looked her in the eyes, and it looked like she was going to cry.
She shook her head. “I’ve never hated you.” She was holding back her tears. I didn’t know what to say. I hate talks like this- trying to work things out after a fight, when our parents made up sit down at the table until we hugged each other and said sorry. Mia was still looking at me, waiting for me to say something. She was probably hoping I would say “Aw, Mia, I love you” or something cheesy like that.
Instead I just looked at her and said “Listen Mia, I really got to go meet Carly now. I said 7:00.” Then looking at my watch I noticed it was only 6:50 “…and well, she’ll be waiting soon. See you later.” I could feel her stare at me as I was walking down the stairs from the hallway, and then I heard a door slowly close, and her collapsing onto her bed.
As I was talking to my friend Carly that day, the subject came up about me and Mia. I told her what had happened and she said to me, “Mackenzie, you can’t keep ignoring her. Maybe she really needs someone to talk to. She probably looks up to you.”
I couldn’t stand it when my friends told me what to do, so I just ignored it.
Over the next couple of weeks, I watched Mia in school. I found out that she doesn’t have many friends, and at lunch, she sits by herself. One day a bunch of girls came to sit at her table, and she looked so excited- until they told her to move to make room for their boyfriends. I looked at her as she moved to go sit by herself, and she caught me looking at her. I broke the eye contact, to watch my friend Chase. He always has the funniest hand gestures to go along with his stories.
After school that day, I knocked on Mia’s door, wanting to talk to her about what happened at lunch. She opened her door and just looked at me.
“I saw what happened today at lunch. You okay?” I asked her. She still just looked at me for a while, which felt really weird.
Then she asked me “Do you really care?”
I wasn’t sure if I cared much or not. Do I care if she has friends?
So I just told her “You’re my sister, I have to care.” That was probably a bad move on my part.
“You don’t.” she told me, and shut the door. I didn’t really know what I would say to her after that, so I just left her alone. I went downstairs to start making supper.
Mia came down and asked if I needed help. I really did need the help, since all I can make in the kitchen is Mac and Cheese. So I told her that I needed her to show me how to make this new chicken recipe my mom found.
Mia took over, and I found myself flipping thorough channels on TV. I looked at Mia, and discovered that I hadn’t seen her smile in months. She always looked depressed. I shut off the TV and sat at the counter.
“Need me to do anything?” I asked her
“Yeah” she said. “Grate the cheese.”
So I started grating the cheese and asked her, “So, what are your plans for after you graduate?”
She looked at me strangely, a look I had seen many times before. It’s like she thinks I have no interest in her life, probably because I didn’t really, but now she seems so much like a closed book. I have no Idea what’s going on with her.
She said to me, “Zee, what’s with all the questions? Honestly, I can’t start pretending you care about what I say, because I know you don’t.” Now she had tears streaming down her face, and dripping into the sauce she was making. What made me angry with myself is that I didn’t care what she was saying; I just didn’t want to eat the sauce she is making if her tears dripped in it. That was just gross. I looked up and saw her looking at me.
“See? You’re not even listening. This is why I never tell you anything. Don’t you get it?” She ran up to her room, and I was left to finish making supper.
I knew after that night that
Mia’s life would be better without me. So I decided to go to college far away
This was my last summer at home with my parents and sister, and I realized that I will never miss it. I had always got everything I wanted at home, and maybe now Mia would get the attention she wanted her whole life.
I got a job with my dad for the summer, and he paid me extremely well. I was never at home, because when I wasn’t working, I was with my friends. I still tried to talk to Mia when I had time, but she didn’t really want anything to do with me.
The day that I left for college was a good day, and also a really sad day. My friend Carly helped me carry my luggage out of the house, and when she was out the door, I looked at Mia. I always thought this would be a happy day for her, but she didn’t look happy.
I chucked my bags in the trunk, and slammed it shut. I looked at the house, and my parents and Mia were standing in the doorway. I could tell my mom had been crying, and my dad was trying to keep her together. I walked towards them, not saying a word. My mom hugged my, and held on for a long time. When she finally let go, she had tears streaming down her face, I said “I love you mom, and I’ll be back.” Even though I knew I could never come home again. Then I hugged my dad, and then Mia. We didn’t say anything to each other, so I just walked to the car, and jumped into the passenger seat, with Carly sitting beside me. I waved at my family, and we drove away.
After a long plane ride, I arrived at the college, where I would spend my next 2 years. I walked into my room, and instantly made friends with the girl living with me.
My life at the college was so different than at home. I had made a lot of friends, and was a lot happier here. It seemed like without Mia, my life just got better, because I never had to worry about making her mad at me.
After my two years of school were over, I found a small beach house that I was going to share with my former roommate, Joy. I also found a full time job as a writer at a local magazine. My life was amazing, but I sometimes still thought about my family, and if I would ever go back there. I decided I couldn’t. It would be too weird after all this time.
One day after I got home from a long day at work, I had 10 messages on my machine. I started to play them, and heard my friend parker on the first 6 messages. He had wanted to do something with me for a really long time, and I just never got back to him.
Then I heard my mom’s voice. “Hey Mackenzie, it’s mom. I haven’t talked to you in a while. I need you to call me back, I have some news.” And that was it. That’s all she said. I couldn’t call her back now. I hadn’t faced my family in 3 years, and I didn’t think it would be time now to do it.
I tried to forget about the phone message from my mom, and went out with my friend Parker. He brought me to his friend’s house, and we were going to watch a movie. I had a lot on my mind and suddenly my head felt heavy, and I got incredibly dizzy. I felt my head fall between my legs. Parker leaned down, and whispered in my ear, “Hey Zee, are you okay?”
I leaned my head on my knees and said “I don’t know, is it okay if we leave?”
Parker looked kind of disappointed, but agreed, and we walked outside to his car.
“So, you wanna tell me what’s going on?” he asked me once I shut the car door. I wasn’t sure what to tell him. I had been thinking about the phone call from my mom all evening. I just couldn’t seem to get it out of my mind.
“I got a call from my mom.” I told him. I figured I should be honest with him, since he was one of my only friends out here, I didn’t want to lose our friendship.
“What did she say? Is everything okay at home?” he asked me.
“I don’t know. She just left a message. She told me to phone her back, but I don’t know if I can. It’s been so long since I talked to her, or my dad, or Mia. It would just be weird to talk to them.”
“Well, you always do the right thing, Zee. I’m sure you’ll figure out what to do.”
I never did phone my family. After parker said that I always do the right thing, I knew he was wrong. When I was in high school, I never did anything right. Of course I knew what was right in this situation, anyone would know that, but I chose not to believe it.
Three months after my mom had phoned me, I completely forgot about it. I was sitting at home one day with my roommate Joy, and we were looking at old pictures we had from high school. All we could do was laugh at what we used to look like.
Just as I was laughing at a picture of me and Carly trying to do cartwheels in my back yard, I saw a picture of Mia. It brought me back to the days of our childhood when we never got along, and she was always depressed about something, usually about me. I really wish I tried harder to make things right with her, be her friend, and make her happy.
I looked up from the picture and saw Joy standing with the phone in her hand, looking at me. “It’s for you” she said, quietly, and she almost looked scared for me. I took the phone, and slowly put it to my ear.
“Hi Zee, Its Mia.” My throat almost closed. I got dizzy, and had to sit down. I hadn’t talked to Mia in three years. I didn’t know what to say.
“Are you there?” she asked me. I nodded, and then realized that she couldn’t see me, and said “yeah, I’m here.” She didn’t say anything for a while, so I asked her, “Are you okay? What’s going on?”
“Uh, I have to tell you something.” She sounded uneasy.
“Sure. You can tell me.”
“Zee, I have cancer.” I gasped. I didn’t know what to do, or say. I just sat there, and tears started streaming down my face. How could this happen to my sister? I managed to get some words out, “are you going to be okay?”
“No. I’ve already had it for a year, and they’ve tried everything to get me better.”
“So, what? You’re going to die?”
Then I heard her voice getting shaky. “Yeah, the doctors say I should have about three weeks. Can you come home?”
“Of course, I’ll be there as soon as I can. I miss you, Mia.”
“I miss you too. Please hurry.” I couldn’t speak anymore. I tried to keep myself together, but I couldn’t anymore, and starting bawling. Then I heard the line go dead, and I hung up.
I saw my parents waiting for me as I walked out of the gate at the airport. They looked so different from when I last saw them. I know it was only three years ago, but they seem to have aged so much. I walked over to them, and I could tell they had been crying a lot.
“Its not too late, Mackenzie,” My dad told me. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that at first. It wasn’t too late to talk to Mia, or Mia hadn’t died yet? I walked towards the exit, panicking inside. I never thought that my life would come to this. After I left for college I thought that I would eventually see Mia again, but not as she was about to die. I felt tears stinging my face as we walked outside. The cool wind was blowing against me, and all I wanted to do was see my sister.
I had never been in a hospital before. Well, except for the das that my sister and I were born. I know that sounds crazy, but no one close to be has ever been sick. We walked into the hospital, and immediately the smell made me queasy. My parents directed me to Mia’s room, and they told me that Mia wanted to talk to me alone.
I got really nervous as I was walking toward her room. I didn’t know what she would want to saw to me, or how our talk would turn out. I felt my hands get hot and sweaty as I saw the room that Mia was in. the door was closed. I just stood there for a while, looking at the door, and then finally I got the courage to walk in.
Mia was sitting in her bed, looking out the window. I just saw the back of her. She looked the same from the back, her long dark hair flowing past her shoulder blades. I walked a little closer, and she quickly turned around to face me. She smiled at me, and I smiled back.
I saw beside her on her bed, and the first thing she said to me was, “I’ve never hated you, Mackenzie. Never.” I didn’t know what to say. I just looked at her, and I was surprised. I had heard her say that before, but how could I believe it? My whole life I thought I was ruining her life, and she just proved me wrong. She looked out the window again. I saw tears streaming down her face.
“You shouldn’t have left
I couldn’t believe she just said that. “I’m so sorry Mia. I never knew. I would have never left you if I knew that-” she stopped me, “it doesn’t matter. You’re here now, when I need you most.”
Mia and I stayed up all night
talking. We talked about my life in
Once Mia fell asleep, I just sat on the cot the nurse had brought me for night, and I thought about everything that’s happened. I realized that what my dad said was true. It wasn’t too late for me and Mia to be friends. I never would’ve thought that before, but Mia made it so easy to be friends with her. I listened to the sound of the machine. “Beep. Beep. Beep.” Then I got up, and I looked at her. She looked so peaceful, and I hugged her one last time. Then I heard the beep of the machine go constant. I looked at the screen, and the up-and-down line went straight.
I started to panic, and I looked for the button above her head. I pushed it several times, hoping for assistance from the nurse. She couldn’t be dead. I sat on Mia’s bed, with my face in my hands.
The nurse ran in and looked at me, and then at Mia. “I’m so sorry.” She said to me.
“Can you help her? Bring her back! This cant be happening.” I started screaming at her. I could tell the nurse didn’t know what to do. My sister was dead, and there was nothing that was going to bring her back.
It had been a month since Mia’s death, and I had moved back home with my parents. It was weird to live at home, and not have Mia here with me. I would never get used to that.
I missed her so much, even though we had only had one good day together. Sometimes I think that if Mia never got cancer, then we would have never had the chance to talk. We would have never been close like we were that night. That’s the only thing that made me happy about the whole situation. I just wish I would’ve understood her when we were teenagers. I don’t regret my experience though, because that day in the hospital was something I would never forget.
© 2010 olive tree
Added on August 3, 2010
Last Updated on August 3, 2010
Aboutthis is my place to write. i write my thoughts i write things that i dont want anyone i know to read. consider yourself lucky to get into my mind. i dont share it with many people. more..