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Time is a peculiar thing. It exists as a specific amount (24 hours, 10 minutes, 2 seconds) and yet, our perception of time rarely corresponds to this fixed data.

Sitting bored, staring at the wall feels like hours. Waiting for results on a biopsy; an agonizing eternity. Time spent with a new love; a blurry moment.

I had been at work, when I got the news and time had stood still.

She had been found unconscious on the bathroom floor by her flat mate, who had immediately called 911 and then me.

At the hospital I ran across the vast parking lot, through the front doors and up to reception. Then I ran along endless corridors and three flights of stairs to where, according to perfect strangers, I could stop running and would at long last find her.

I filled no space and had no form as I sat waiting in a chair in the semi-deserted hallway as instructed by the ward nurse. Each never-ending moment confirming the worst.

She was all I had. My big sister, Anne. The one technically supposed to fill the role of surrogate mom when the original is no more.

But that had never been the way. Not our way.

We had been alone for the majority of our lives, Anne and I, but we had chosen different methods of self preservation. I had harnessed the energy from my confusion, hurt and anger to spur me on, give me courage and prove to the world that I could make it.

Anne, on the other hand, had succumbed to the torture of the unanswered; clinging to all her whys, stubbornly refusing to let go? Highly sensitive and very honest, she wasn’t equipped to ignore or override the nagging voices inside her. Nor could she muster the fury and hatred, that came so easily to me, just enough to get her over the first hurdle.

Without any concrete answers, she simply could not understand, not metabolize and therefore not accept, what had happened to us.

And so, she had begun to anesthetize herself from all the hurt.

Each passing year though, had required larger doses and stronger “stuff” at a higher momentum to silence her inner demons. Demons that with time had grown ever fiercer, ever larger. So much so, that they had successfully stolen a part of her from me.

I swore that I wouldn’t lose the rest of her and every day tried my hardest, tried my best, to be there for her, to support her, love her.

I realized as I sat there waiting, ever more devastated, that my strength was born of her weakness; was a derivation of and directly proportional to her. Without Anne, what would I be? Without her, everything would come crumbling down.

I could feel it. Just knew it as I heard the approaching footsteps and saw the doctor coming towards me. Anne’s time had run out.

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