My sister: Always the apple of my eye

I don't know if I'll hug you or shake your hand when you leave - one thing is for sure, I won't be able to smile.

Saad Hafeez September 07, 2012
My sister and I, like a lot of other siblings, have a love-hate relationship. We can be the best of friends at times but can also turn into the worst of enemies. We still don’t hug or even shake hands when we see each other after a long time. Yet, the smiles on our faces are enough for both of us to understand how much we’ve missed each other.

She is probably the most energetic and witty person I’ve known. She truly is the life and soul of our house. I still remember when she went off to medical school all the way in Abbotabad, how silent our house suddenly became. Even with the birth of my elder brother’s children and noise they made, my sister's absence had caused a certain quietness in the house. There were times when I caught my mother or even my father, with their faces hidden under their arms, tears trembling down their cheeks after every time they spoke to her on the phone. Then there was me - the waterworks always started whenever Jawad Ahmad’s amazingly touching song "Yehi Toh Hai Apnapann" was on TV.

Now that I think about it, all those memories of the tremendous amounts of fun I’ve had with my sister come rushing back to me. Our last minute decisions to go out for a late night ice cream and how we always tried to sneak out of the house and into the car, making sure our nosy neighbourhood aunty didn’t see us. Those never-ending discussions on the most random topics ever known to man; the hours we spent playing ludo and monopoly, which almost always ended up in a fight; the times when we stayed up till the early hours of the morning to watch movies - all of this is hitting me like a flood.

How could I forget our attempts to tiptoe into the kitchen to silence our midnight cravings without waking our mum! We'd fight and argue over the silliest of things, like which one of us our mum loves more, or who would take charge of the ultimate power of the remote control, or who gets to choose the main dish for dinner!

And now, exactly a month before her wedding, amidst the chaos of the preparations, I’ve suddenly realised that she is going to leave again - this time more permanently though. Our house, which got its liveliness back after such a long time is going to be silent once again. Of course, she’ll still be my sister and she’ll still come home whenever she wants to, things will, in more ways than one, become different. She’ll have other things to keep her occupied; she’ll have new responsibilities which will be more important than the midnight escapades with her brother. Sometimes I sit and think what exactly  I will do at the time of her rukhsati. Will I hug her, or will I shake her hand? One thing is for certain; at that time I most certainly will not able to conjure a smile on my face.

Nevertheless, I refuse to let these things bring me down because I know deep inside me that even though things may change in a way that I won’t necessarily appreciate or enjoy in the months to come, I still have this time to do my best and give her even more precious memories to take with her to her new home. I still have time to give her every bit of happiness that I can, just to bring a smile on her face.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to say this to her face, so here it is:
I may fight with you from time to time and be an enormous idiot, but you should know in your heart that I love you immensely and always will. And most importantly, if you ever feel like having cookies and cream ice cream at 1am in the morning and your husband is too tired to take you, you know I'll always be there, ready as ever!

Read more by Saad here.

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Saad Hafeez A British Pakistani living and studying in London.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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