From Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul

The Diary

When we were thirteen our parents got us twin beds. Know what we did? We put a violin case in her bed, covered it up, and the two of us slept in mine. By fifteen, it got doggone crowded in there.

Abigail Van Buren, of her sister Ann Landers

Armed with two overpacked suitcases, we arrived at the airport just in time for my flight. “Well, here we are, the airport,” my sister said with a sigh. As I watched her unload my luggage, I could see the sadness in her eyes. This was not easy on her either. We had both been dreading this moment for the past week. One last hug and a final good-bye and I would be on my way to a new life abroad, leaving my beloved sister behind.

All my life I had loved airports. To me they were some kind of magic gateway to the world, a place from which to start great holidays and adventures. But today it seemed like a cold and heartless place.

As we made our way to the gate, we passed through a busload of frustrated holiday goers and their screaming children. I looked at my sister, and even though her eyes were filled with tears, she was trying to keep a brave face. “You better go or you’ll miss your flight,” she said.

“I am just going to walk away and not look back,” I said, “that would just be too hard.”

As I held her one last time, she whispered, “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be just fine.”

“I’ll miss you,” I replied, and with those last words I was off. As promised, I did not look back, but by the time I reached the customs office I was sobbing. “Cheer up, love,” the tall customs officer said with a smile. “It’s not the end of the world, you know.” But to me it was the end of the world as I had known it.

While boarding the plane I was still crying. I did not have the energy to put my bag in the overhead locker, so I stuffed it on the empty seat next to mine. As I settled into my chair, a feeling of sadness overwhelmed me. I felt like my best friend had just been taken away from me.

Growing up, my sister and I would do everything together. Born barely fifteen months apart we not only looked alike, we were alike. We both had that same mix of curiosity and fear of all things unknown to us. One sunny summer day I was playing outside on the grass when she came up to me and said, “Want to come to the attic?” We both knew that the answer to that question was always yes. We were frightened of the attic but also fascinated by its smells and sounds. Whenever one of us needed something, the other one would come along. Together we would fight the life-size spiders and battle through the numerous boxes until we found what we needed.

Over time, the visits to the attic became less scary. Eventually there came a time when we would go by ourselves, but my sister and I stayed as close as ever. When the time came for us to go to college, what better way than for us to go together? My parents were pleased because that way we could “keep an eye on each other” and of course report back on what the other one was up to. But now that our college days were over and I was off to a foreign country, all I had left were my memories.

The plane shook heavily, and the bag that I had shoved onto the seat next to me fell on the floor. My aspirin, hairbrush and a copy of the book I planned to read were spread on the floor. I bent over to gather them up when I saw an unfamiliar little book in the middle of my belongings. It was not until I picked it up that I realized that it was a diary. The key had been carefully placed in the lock, so I opened it.

Immediately I recognized my sister’s handwriting. “Hi Sis, What a day it has been today. First you let me know that you are moving abroad, and then my boss . . .” Only then did I realize that my sister had been keeping a diary for the past month, and that she was now passing it on to me. She had been scheming to start the diary for the past year, but now the time seemed right. I was to write in it for the next couple of months, and then send it back to her.

I spent the rest of the flight reading about my sister’s comings and goings. And even though a large ocean separated us, at some point it felt like she was actually there. It was only when I thought that I had lost my best friend that I realized that she was going to be around forever.

Martine Klaassen

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