I miss her at times, most times, like I missed her then.
When I was maybe 10 and my sister 18, I would listen from the next room to the music she would play, the songs that she was relating to and I, in turn, was relating to her. I recall the many artists she played; Bob Dylan, James Taylor and Cat Stevens. One of my favorites was Cat Stevens’ How Can I Tell You? I had no real sense of the true nature of the song or that it was even a “love” song, but in general I could feel the longing in sound, in what he was saying, and singing and I knew that I felt that same longing, that same disconnect from her.
While I would have loved to have had been that one little brother on the planet who was welcomed in his older sister’s room, I wasn’t, but I could be with her through the door, through the walls—with the songs she played. Through music, Debby let me in.
During the last year before she was off to college and really, off for life, I listened and loved her through songs. Sweet Baby James, Subterranean Homesick Blues spun as I sang and danced alone on the other side of the wall.
She went off to college that next year and I missed my hidden time with her and her music, her song. From those moments, moments that I still miss today, my sister taught me to listen, to deeply listen to those that may never even know they are being heard. When I photograph, including a captured selfie, I’m listening for the music that’s being played. The story that’s being told softly, told sweetly, told truly.
Through the years “life” and our own damaged edges have kept us apart, but those early songs have kept us tethered. My sister and I talk today, not often, but we do. Many people speak of those that they can go months or years without having spoke to and can pick up right where they left off, talking for hours. I suppose it’s a bit like that, but not exactly. If I could never speak to my sister again, I’d still feel this tie to her like to no other. It’s not a loss I feel, it’s a closeness that no words between us could help grow more deeply than it is. I simply love her.
I suppose I’m still in the “next room” listening for the music, all the while singing and dancing.