I offered to help my computer-illiterate sister to touch up some of the photos she took with my handphone last night. We would have used our digital camera if our sis hasn’t taken it for her one-week camp. She needs a photo for an online application and there’s none available for her to use. Never mind that she’s younger and therefore should be more IT savvy. Never mind that she’s a Dean’s list student. This sister of mine only knows how to check emails on the computer and undoubtedly has no Facebook account, a trademark of most biologists.

Anyway I was looking at the photos just now and suddenly I felt like this was the first time in many many years since I had taken a good look at my sister. Or have I never taken a close look at her ever before? Does her nose really look like this? Is this the shape of her face? Is this what she has been looking in the mirror all these years? And I’m talking about someone who has spent thousands and thousands of hours of time by my side all these 22 years, sharing the same bedroom with me.

Suddenly I felt horrible. I felt that I have been a lousy sister. But we are close siblings, we go out, we catch movies together, we shop, we talk, we spend considerably long periods of quality time together. Yet all of a sudden, as I looked at her face looking back at me from the computer monitor, it felt foreign. Do I really know her? Do I really know what she’s thinking about, worried or concerned about? Am I caring for her enough? Or am I actually the selfish type who only bothers to ask and show concern when I’m in a good mood, and keep to myself, ignoring others when I feel otherwise? I admit that sometimes I’m like this, especially to my family, but I don’t do it most of the time, right?

I am a horrible sister.

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