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Truly seeing

July 20, 2010


Me and my lil' sis way back when

The two of us, during a one-ended awkward staring contest

Have you ever had that moment when you look at someone — someone you’ve known basically your entire life — and you finally, truly see them for who they are?

It’s a moment that comes out of nowhere, and suddenly, as you’re looking into this face you know so well, you realize that the face isn’t just a face, it’s so much more than that. It’s a face you’ve seen a million and three times, but you’ve never thought about it — you’ve always just taken it for granted.

You’ve taken the facial expressions, the motions, the words, the thoughts as simple facets of your everyday life, and you never thought more deeply about them. You’ve never taken the time to stop and contemplate the fact that this person isn’t just a person — she’s a human, she’s a being with thoughts and feelings and experiences you’ve never thought of or spoken about. She’s a person that has serendipitously been placed into your life as a constant, and though her presence seems so be so second nature, she isn’t just a part of your life, she’s a part of her own life, and you just happen to fill the same spot in her life that she fills in yours!

Okay, this is confusing. But, stay with me here.

The other day, I was sitting in the backseat of the car with my little sister; my parents were driving. Well, my Dad was driving and my Mom was sitting in the passenger’s seat. Irrelevant.

My sister and I were attempting to annoy each other, as per usual, and we were engaging in one of our favorite annoying pastimes: staring at each other long enough to make one of us feel so awkward that we have to look away and say, “Stoooooop!!! Mom, [Emilia/Eva] won’t stop staring at me!” Of course, my lil’ sis and I have done this enough times that we don’t ever feel awkward, and it just turns into this epic staring contest to the death.

And I don’t know why it happened — why it happened during this staring contest and not during any of the countless others — but as I was looking straight into my sister’s face, I made a connection.

My little sister has always been, to me, my little sister.  And therefore,  I’ve always just dismissed her as annoying, as immature, as clingy, young, vain, tiring, attention-grabbing — things of this nature.

But I never realized that that’s not really who she is. All my life I’ve just thought of her and dismissed her immediately as “my little sister,” the one that is always just a shout-down-the-hall away. She’s always in the bedroom adjacent to mine, she’s always in the carseat next to me, she’s always directly across from me at the dinner table.

How many meals have I eaten with her? How many movies have I watched with her? How many hours have I spent with her?  How many times have I insulted her? Ignored her? Laughed with her? Spoken with her? Helped her? Driven her? Glanced at her?

And as we were in the throes of our annoying staring contest, I’m sure she was looking as me thinking, “My eyes are watering, but I’ll be goddamned if I’m letting Emilia win this one!”

But I was just staring at her, with the warm sensation of understanding flowing all throughout me. I finally, truly, saw her. She has the same eyes as I do. Her hair is really long — a bit longer than mine. She doesn’t have bangs. I had never thought about her bangs before.

When we finally looked away, I didn’t just dismiss it immediately like I usually do. I kept watching — she looked out the window and was mouthing the words to a song. She loves music, and she likes her own style of music, separate from mine. She has a different world she finds fascinating — one I’ve never spent time thinking about, one that separates her from me, giving her all these qualities I have yet to discover.

But I’m slowly discovering! Sometimes she fills cups up with ice and eats each ice cube separately — I guess she likes ice. She listens to Jack Johnson and is inspired by his lyrics — maybe I should listen to Jack more and check out what he’s talking about. She snores when she sleeps, she really likes cheese. She loves dressing other people up as much as she does herself. She always does the right thing (I could take some notes). She is so much more than just my little sister. She is … herself.

Even though, in my life, she’s lived under the title of “Little Sister,” as I learn more and more about her, although that title will always remain, its predominance is fading, and she’s becoming, simply and yet beautifully, “Eva.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2010 11:49 am


  2. Gus Hastalis permalink
    July 20, 2010 1:47 pm

    I love you Emilia Barrosse.

  3. July 20, 2010 1:58 pm


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