Dear sister; Playing phone tag with loved ones

We were sitting at the corner of the house laughing because mom was ranting about her usual nonsense, about our usual nonsense and dad was usual…in the car drinking his beer. You handed me the vodka and orange and giggled again as mom swore she would hang herself from the ceiling fan, I looked to see how much we had left in the glass and there were fish swimming in it. I startled myself awake, and in the black if the unknown hour it comes back, like it always does, that mom won’t rant and dad won’t hide. They are gone. We will still laugh, because that is all that there is that we can do now. I start to cry, and try not to wake the other hikers. Everything hurts and I think about how many times you have to work a double, on your feet all day long, you come home and you can barely walk in the door. Everything hurts on you too. You are so strong. I can be strong too.

We play phone tag, you and I, and when I turn my phone on and see that I have missed a text I get a panicked feeling inside, like a squeezing around my rib cage. I call you and you are at work, I get messages that you are worried about me but it is you, not I, that leads an exhaustive life. You have me in a constant ball of worry, and when I can’t hear your voice I spend days wondering if you are ok.

I get asked over and over, like a broken record, what made me want to do the trail, and at first I gave the normal milk water answers that I thought would be acceptable; I came for the views, I love nature, I wanted an experience I would never forget. I can just hear you laughing from here. Finally, I just gave up and started answering honestly, I came out here because the mountain range was bigger than my anger and boy is it ever. These hills are teaching me a lot of things, sister, mostly that I am not in control of anything, and that the way back is just as hard as the way forward so I might as well just pull up my socks and keep on walking. Oh, and I still can’t cry, walk, and breathe while walking up a mountain.

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