color key — blue: mental health; yellow: relationships. contrast of light and dark correlates with bright and somber tones of voice.

I Didn't Understand

I Didn't Understand

I Didn't Understand

I Didn't Understand

I grew up an only child with a single mother who worked multiple jobs to provide a comfortable life for us.

With the various shifts Mum worked, I often stayed at my grandparents with approximately 11 other children. Most of the other kids were my cousins and the rest were neighbourhood kids. My Nanna had created a refuge of sorts, taking in any child from dysfunctional families for however short or long they required care. 

When I was 11, I met the most amazing girl at a youth centre. She was approximately five years older and oozed coolness in all forms. Everyone was her friend and for some reason, she chose me to be her best friend.

We did everything together outside of school hours. Went to gigs, went skating, hung at each other houses. My mum and her dad started hanging at each other’s houses too.

We were in her room when they asked us how we would feel if they got married. We were so excited! I couldn’t believe I was about to have siblings! Step siblings who were both older, but siblings nonetheless. 

We wore matching pinstriped suits to the wedding — we were punks and wouldn’t be caught dead in dresses. 

Mum and I moved in with her dad, and she pretty much moved to her dad’s permanently as well, so we shared a room and I thought it was magical.

Sharing a room soon turned into sharing a bed because whichever bunk bed I chose to sleep on, she wanted to sleep on that one too. She got a new best friend and she slept over a lot. In these situations, I would sleep in my stepbrother’s room if he wasn’t there. 

One night, I slept in the same room as them, and I woke up with pressure on my chest. They were on top of me, her best friend with a pair of scissors, attempting to trim my eyelashes. I was upset and confused.

A few nights later, my stepsister stayed up and filled my school bag, pencil case, shoes, you name it, she filled it, with small strips of paper that had handwritten ‘I love you silly sausage’ on them. I felt so loved and showed everyone at school what my big sister did for me.

A couple months later I got home from school, walked into our room and was talking to her. I looked up when I finished and she hadn’t blinked an eye, was just staring at the computer like I hadn’t even walked in. I asked her multiple questions, in which I received no reply. I walked over to her to make sure she didn’t have headphones in. She didn’t. I asked her what was wrong and she simply looked out the door and said (to no one), “Can you hear something?” I was confused and late for soccer practise, so I left with a lump in my heart and stomach.

She didn’t talk to me for a year. We slept in the same room, in the same bed, and she didn’t talk to me for a year. I was in year 10, my grades started dropping, and I wanted to sleep over other people’s houses more than at home. I even attempted to track down my biological father to see if I could live with him. Both our parents worked a lot, so nothing was really picked up on until Mum got a call from my school. 

Mum asked me what was going on in my life. So much was going on, but all I could tell her was the person I held highest in the whole world had stopped talking to me and I didn’t know why. She asked my stepsister’s dad to talk to her; nothing changed. Mum tried to talk to her but she just put on headphones and walked out the door. It took my mum locking them in a room together to get any information out of her. Apparently, her then best friend said I said something and she was angry at me for it, however, she couldn’t remember what it was that I had apparently said.

Years later, I ended up dating one of her ex-boyfriends. I understand this is a no-no amongst sisters, but she wasn’t my sister. What’s more, she had dated a lot of her multiple best friends' boyfriends and everything was completely fine.

The world was turned on its head when this happened and everyone I had ever known mutually with her didn’t talk to me anymore. Whenever there was a family event, she didn’t talk to me. Her long term boyfriend still talked to me though, and seemed like he didn’t know what she was angry about, which also made me wonder what she had told all our mutual friends.

I moved states and created a new life with my boyfriend, eventual husband. On the announcement of our engagement, after five years of no contact, she messaged me: “I wouldn’t have reacted like that if I knew you’d get married.”

© Midnight Woman 2021