It's with just a pang of nostalgia that I'm going to San Francisco for the BlogHer Conference in July. I realized, while shopping for a hotel room, that I haven't been to the Bay Area in twenty years.
My sister lived there, just before her life took what could be called a dismal turn, followed by several other disturbing ones, and eventually culminated in one big tragic one. She was ten years my senior; we were never close. In Facebook parlance, "It's complicated." So were her relationships with pretty much everyone else.
The anniversary of her death was about a week ago, and when I think about her, I'm not sure what I feel is grief. It's something closer to remorse. Now that she's been dead five years, the time we spent together in San Francisco is my fondest, clearest memory of her. I still have one thing she gave me ten years ago: her dog. He's old and gray and ornery. I love him.
The year Sophie was born, I began to wonder what my sister would have been like had Things (with a capital t) been different. I began reinventing her in my mind, making up the kind of person she might have been. In my mind, she became someone who always had gum in her purse. Her karaoke song was "It's Raining Men." When she laughed, she would show you every filling in her mouth. She would be my example that there is nothing to fear from forty. And whenever visiting The City, she would pick me up at the airport.