Over the years, the expression “Blood is thicker than water,” gave me a new understanding about that fictitious statement. If the blood within my family circle as a child was thicker than water, I recognized our biological blood never existed.
Savannah, my disabled sister, was always described as the least attractive and illiterate family member. When she was born, she was diagnosed with Symbrachydactyly, a condition referred to as webbed fingers. As she grew older, she found ways to use the condition to her advantage. Her right thumb refused to grow. Kids at school laughed at her and I was reminded not to hit her, or mistreat her because she was the damaged baby of our home. She would not reach the growth stature of other family members, and she would always suffer due to her disability. Violence wasn’t in my nature, so I never hit or shoved Savannah. On the other hand, Savannah learned to push, slap and shove me, simply because she was damaged goods, and she knew she could get away with any misbehavior, even though she was the oldest, not the baby.
When she was a teenager, she excused her cruel, violent behaviors due to her not liking me and her little, undeveloped thumb.
“You always think you’re prettier and better than me,” she spat.
Smug inside myself, I laughed. “That’s where you’re mistaken, Savannah.”
Pausing, I waited for her attack. “I don’t think I’m prettier than you, or better than you. I KNOW I’m both. I’m more popular than you with the boys and I have more friends. My grades in school are much better than your grades. So, dear sister – you are dead wrong about me!”
Yes, I could’ve lowered my standards to her level and reminded her she was a bit ‘afflicted’ due to her ‘disabilities’ but I chose not to be the damaged goods falling from the apple tree.
Now, as an adult, Savannah practiced violence constantly. When I visited, she looked at me, smug and ugly. “You still think you’re so much better than me. Look at you. Dressed in high heels and fine clothes. Just who the Hell do you think you are?”
Choosing to ignore her, I walked away. She rushed after me, hitting me with a ruler on my back. I spun around.
“I could do some real damage to you, Savannah, with my high heels. You do realize high heels are a good weapon. If you hit me again, I’ll call the police. I’ll have you arrested. I’ll not lower my standards to violence even though we grew up in a violent home. Obviously, you chose to walk in your mother’s shoes.”
“Bitch. I can do whatever I want. I’m your sister.”
“Blood only,” I spat. “You’re nothing to me.”
Our mother met us at the door. “Just why did you come home to start fighting with your sister?” She asked.
“I came home to make peace, not argue with her, or with you. She started this attack, not me. Obviously we can never make peace. Every time I see Savannah all she wants to do is to fight with me. I am nothing like either of you. I chose to break the mold.”
I spun on my heels and headed to the door. Savannah rushed ahead of me.
“Bitch. You’re not leaving until I’m done with you.” Her hand brushed my face hard, stinging like a fire or a bee sting. She shoved me, knocking me down.
Gracefully, I stood up, brushing the dust and filth from my clothing. I smiled. “I’m leaving now. If you hit me again, I’ll call the cops.”
“Bitch. You ain’t calling no body.”
I pushed her away, rushing out the door.
My mother rushed to me. “I guess you’re leaving now.”
Curling my lips with a self-assured smile, I whispered. “I am leaving. I’m done with all of you. You’ll never hear from me again.”
“Before you leave, could you give me some money? I need to buy some groceries.”
I shook my head. “Mother, you are absolutely an unbelievable human being. I’ll not give you anything ever again. Goodbye.”
I rushed to my car. Driving away I refused to look back, or to wave bye to the biological family I refused to become.