Tuesday, March 26, 2013

An Only Child

I have come to the conclusion that both my sister and I are only children. Forget the evidence to the contrary, that we share a love and concern for the woman who claims to be our mother. It is but an illusion. No, there is virtually incontrovertible proof that she and I are not related.

Over the past several years I have written of various experiences of my childhood. My latest recollection involved my failed career as a young pugilist. As has happened with amazing frequency, the person who claims to be my sister advised me that she had no idea that anything I reported had ever occurred. If she were my actual sibling, how could these memories not have been seared into her brain?

There are two distinct possibilities that emerge. The first, which I believe is wholly accurate, is that this person masquerading as my sibling is but a fiction. Whoever she may be, she resided in a different land than I, and somehow emerged after her youth convinced that we were products of the union of the same two people.

The alternative theory, much less rational, is that with advancing age either she is most forgetful or I am simply making things up. It is clear that neither this being or I possess the kind of recall of our life that some of my friends appear, or at least claim, to be blessed with. One can remember with seemingly unerring accuracy what she was wearing on nearly every occasion from her time as a tiny tot right up to the present moment. I, on the other hand, can still not commit to memory which drawer the light bulbs are in even though I am sure I have requested instructions on this very topic literally dozens of times over the past several years.

The thought that I may be creating an imagined past lends itself to some interesting possibilities. If I can construct moments that did not exist in this universe, then I am unlimited in those non-events which I may recall with absolute precision. If my friend believes herself blessed to have the capacity of perfect sartorial recall, I am given the great power to create a world where my younger self accomplishments are without end. I may soon determine that I was not on the losing end of those childhood fisticuffs, but emerged unscathed physically and emotionally, And not only did I win those battles, but I actually decided to enter the ring for real and was a golden gloves contender until I realized that punishing other people into submission was not a noble endeavor.

If it be that my alleged sister is the one at fault, and the incidents I report did occur, then either her grasp on the events of  more than a half century past are not as sharp as she hopes or the moments deemed so significant in my universe barely registered a blip on the radar screen in the rest of the civilized world. I reject the latter possibility for, if this person were truly related to me, she would undoubtedly have shared in the emotional attachment to each of my childhood moments of enduring note.

I would imagine that if she were asked, she would pretend to remember my obsessive compulsive demand that the kitchen fan be on during all my meals, that this love of white noise compelled my parents to use the attic fan anytime there was not snow on the ground, and that I required one of those sound machines to be going constantly for me to study for the bar exam. And she would feign unerring recollection of my crush on one of her girlfriends, whose name now escapes me but who was very tall with very long legs. Oh, this person is so clever  she would undoubtedly advise me with a laugh that yes there are parts of our days together of which she has vivid and minute recall.

Wherever the truth may lie, I actually am very fond of the individual who is so attentive to my mother and so invested in the welfare of myself and my family. She has many very redeeming qualities and I have decided that while she is probably not related to me, if I were ever to have a sister I would hope for one just like her.

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