Let me start by saying: I am a pessimist. I say this in an attempt to excuse what I am about to say. I think funerals are fake! Carefully selected loved ones come before a congregation and talk about how wonderful the corpse lying in front of them was. Even if the dead person was BTK, everyone who comes forth always finds something nice to say about him. “He was such a cute baby.” “He never cried.” “He was a wonderful husband and father.” Never mind that he went out at night and killed. For whatever reason, it seems sacrilegious to mention any wrong doings the dead is guilty of. So why begin a missive titled “Happy Birthday dear sister” with a rant about funerals? Well it is my sister’s birthday and I wanted to write an open letter to her but I did not want it to be nothing but praise because that is so not reality. So be forewarned sister, I am spilling some beans in here!
Chère soeur, I do not remember much about my childhood but the earliest memories I have are with you. You were my constant companion and play mate. I remember going to school and looking forward to retuning home so that I could play with you. I do not remember us ever fighting. The adults used to say it was because you were so tiny as a child and I was… much bigger. But I do not think that was the reason; we just got along well. As we both know, you were very smart as a child. Do you remember switching our cups of juice while I was not looking while we were eating lunch because I had more juice than you did? We were very well protected as kids but I still felt the need to look out for you. I remember doing your hair one day because I thought it had not been done properly. You sat between my legs very patiently and fell asleep during the process but you let me do it all the same. When we moved with daddy to Douala and had to live with Uncle Peter, we would cuddle together at night while daddy was on call at the hospital. When you arrived at boarding school, I could barely take care of myself but I was determined to take care of you. I never stood up for myself but when I heard the girl sleeping below you (if only I remembered her name) had taken your mattress and blanket because they were better quality that hers, I went and confronted her and demanded that she retun them. I can hardly remember how I built up the courage to do that, but I know that to this day it still angers me that you had to go just one day without your property. I left home fairly young and when you visited a couple of years later I could see that you were changing. You were in your teens and going through your teen angst so we did not communicate much but you were still my sister. When you moved here, I remember you would call me all the time because I was the only one you had at the time, and I recall telling myself not to get used to it because you would gradually pull away once you met people and started making friends. As a result, when it happened I was prepared and the transition was not too hard. Nevertheless, you would still call me when you had an issue. I remember buying a pack of chicken thighs, cooking them illegally in my dorm room and mailing them to you because you said you were tired to cafeteria food. We have been through some trials together and while I believe that I have always handled myself well (except maybe for the time you told me you wanted to get your belly button pierced and I flipped out. I am glad you asserted your independence and got it anyway.), I may be wrong, I want you to know I always reacted out of love and care for you. In the last 4 years or so, I have considered you immature, sometimes prone to selfishness and arrogance and rude. The last time we spoke, you told me you were maturing (finally!!) and I look forward to that. On this anniversary of your 21+ year birthday I wish for you nothing but success. I want you to be happy. I want you to prosper. I want you to become the best you can be. I want you to achieve your hearts desire because you are one of the most hard working and driven person I know so you can and will achieve it all and more. I am always here for you. There is nothing you can do that will make me turn my back on you. You may annoy me and cause me to pull away but I can’t help the love and concern I have for you. That will never change.
Happy birthday Kitibo!!