It’s funny how the holidays can bring family closer together. Even those that haven’t spoken throughout the year still manage to come out, put on a fake smile, and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes you end up enjoying each other so much you forget what kept you away for so long. This may not be true for all families but it’s definitely true for mine. We hadn’t seen or heard from my older sister Rayne in over 10 years. Now it’s Thanksgiving and she magically appears on my mothers door step. My mother spent the last to years blaming herself and of course thinking the worst had happened to her daughter. As I’m in the dining room setting the table. I hear a loud scream from my mother. She has been sick for a while so I naturally thought something was happening. I panic and drop everything almost breaking her good China, which would’ve sent her in a frenzy. As I run towards the front door I stop and stare just at the tip of the hallway. It was Rayne here in the flesh, in sound body and mind.
“Thank you Jesus! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! My baby is finally home. God has answered my prayers”, screamed mom.
I stood there for a moment in shock. I was excited for a second and resentful within in the next. I wasn’t able to relay any of my feelings at the moment so it all translated into anger. Everything I felt over the past ten years and the moment that she left resurfaced in the worst way. Even with these feelings I still just stood there in shock.
“Well aren’t you going to hug your big sister Storm? I brought you something”, said Rayne.
“Okay well let’s get out the cold. Storm come help your sister with her bags”, said mom.
“No thanks. She left us with enough baggage no sense in bringing more in”, I replied.
I heard my mom call my name but before she could say anything else I turned and walked into the dining room to finish what I started. The rest of the family would be here shortly and all I wanted to do was finish setting the table. My mom must’ve taken Rayne into her old room to get settled. She came into the kitchen where I started checking on the food and bringing it into the dining room.
“Now Storm you could at least speak to your sister. I understand you’re upset but there is no sense in being rude to Rayne. She has come a long way and we all need to get along”, said mom.
I continued to run back and forth from the kitchen making sure everything was the way ir should be. My mom stood there waiting for a response and then began to get agitated.
“Storm you’re not going to ignore me in my own house, just STOP”.
I slammed the dinner rolls down on the table which caused her to jump.
“I understand you are ecstatic about seeing Rayne and probably want to know about all of her life’s journeys but I don’t care and I don’t want to talk right now. I’m sure the rest of the family will be happy to see her. You may be excited that she is still alive but as far as I am concerned she is dead to me and has been for ten years now”, I replied.
Just as my mother was about to tell me off the door bell rang. I told her I would get it and hurried over to the door down the hall. Family was beginning to pile in and Rayne was still hiding away in her room. When I thought I heard her coming down the steps I went up to change clothes. As I walked in my room there she was sitting on my bed looking nervous.
“Your room is down the hall, did you forget already”, I said in a low tone.
“No, I didn’t forget, I just wanted to catch you before everybody got here. Mom thought it would be a good idea for me to stay up here and surprise everyone”, said Rayne.
“Rayne why are you here, I thought we had an agreement”, I asked.
“Storm you can’t keep me away from my family forever. I needed to see my mother”, cried Rayne.
“I didn’t keep you away, your actions did. This was for your own protection. The only reason you stayed away is because you were still on the run and couldn’t face me or JD about the money you stole. Do you know what I had to go through to keep him from killing you and to keep mom from being evicted and possibly locked up in some jail? Now you need to see her. You weren’t saying any of this when you gambled her house and life away then stole from a dealer. I don’t trust you and I don’t want you here. Get out of my room so I can get dressed”, I barked at her.
She was practically shaking on my bed and I could tell something wasn’t right. I just wasn’t in a place to care. As pissed as I was I was happy to see she was safe. Rayne has never been good with money, she gambles hers away then steals yours and loses it. She had a pattern and when she didn’t get what she wanted, she shits down and avoids contact with you. This past melt down cost us ten years apart. Rayne dealt with a lot of guys who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. They always had money and was willing to share it but of course it came with a cost. One time Rayne’s gambling problem got so bad that she ended up putting my mothers home up for collateral. I only found out because JD, her boyfriend at the time, was looking for her because she stole money from him. I used my savings and took out a loan to pay him back and get my mothers house back. I made a deal with him so he wouldn’t harm her. In return Rayne agreed to flee for a while until things settled down. I never told my mother. That would’ve devastated her. I just got to a point where I was able to pay the loan back and repair my credit. I didn’t need anything else costing me my life savings just to cover up her mistakes.
“Storm I know you’re upset with me and I’m sorry. I wasn’t well then and I didn’t want to accept that I had a problem. I also didn’t know how to stop. I know I could never repay you but I want to thank you. I’m here because I have something to tell you about mom”, said Rayne.
“Hey is everything okay? I’m glad you two are talking. Let’s head downstairs since everyone is here”, said mom joyfully.
Something didn’t feel right in that moment. I turned towards Rayne who was still sitting on the bed. She slightly shook her head and looked down which let me know she didn’t want to speak about it at that moment. What could be so important that she couldn’t say it in front of her? I stood there for a minute longer just staring back and forth at the both of them. My mom had this bewildered look as was starting to get suspicious. I finally snapped out of my trance and decided to continue going along with the fact that I was upset with Rayne so my mom wouldn’t worry. I gathered my thoughts and managed to make my way towards the door.
“Let’s just get this over with. The sooner we have this dinner, the sooner it will be over”, I said.
As we headed downstairs rained stopped me to say thank you for not mentioning it.
“You’re gonna tell me what’s going on today. Don’t think we’re on good terms because you got some secret. This better be important and you better not be coming around to ask for money. Has anybody seen you”, I asked.
“No, just you and mom. Trust me it’s worth knowing and may change some things”.
**Tune in next week for Part Two**
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