Carissa Lynn always called me on my birthday. Usually around 6:00 pm. If she didn't call me, it was because she was with me. Every year starting on my 15th birthday she would call. It was tradition.
When I turned 16 she came to my sweet sixteen party. She had just gotten her hair done and wore a pastel pink dress. I remember because it was like a red one another girl wore. She came and brought me a gift card and danced with us. I think she spent the night.
When I turned 17 she gave me the shoes I had wanted since I saw them in the window at Payless and a card talking about how much of an adult I was becoming and how she was proud to be my sister.
On my 18th birthday she called me while I was packing to go to college. She stopped by a few hours later with a big hug and told me to go be the smarty pants I knew I was. She promised to visit.
19. I hadn't seen her all summer. She called me while I was getting ready to go out to dinner with my friends. I told her what I was doing that and she told me to be safe and not to drink. I laughed. My sister the party hard told me not to drink. She told me she loved me and that I better come home and see her soon. I didn't come home until December.
On my 20th birthday I waited for her to call. I waited all day. The night before she had promised to come to my birthday the next weekend. She never called.
She'll never call again.
It has been eight months since my sister died in a car accident the day after my birthday. I will never hear her laugh again. I will never watch her pout because something isn't going her way. I'll never sit in a room uncomfortably and text her when she's sitting two feet away again. We won't take anymore goofy selfies, we won't talk about boy problems, we won't go shopping or go on road trips or talk about how hard work is. She can't drag me along on her adventures anymore. She can't go pub crawling with me on my 21st birthday like she always wanted to. She will never know that the day she said she would come to my birthday party I hung a picture of her on the wall in my bedroom so she could see how much I cared about her. She will never know how much I miss her every single day and how unfair it is that she left me here without her. She will never see how good I'm getting at photography. I know she would have enjoyed that last bit because she always had to have pictures of herself wherever she went. She needed her own personal photographer, honestly.
And sometimes I think I'm over it. Sometimes I feel like I've adjusted to life without her. But then I hear a joke or see someone or hear some gossip and think "I have to tell Carissa". Sometimes I start to text her that I miss her and that she should come over soon only to realize that she isn't staying away because life has occupied her. Sometimes I see pictures of her on Facebook and I cry just because I remember those days and those pictures and how she was when they were taken and she was so alive and there was a guarantee that she would be there the next day hanging out and now she isn't there, and she isn't alive and I know I am selfish for thinking about all the reasons her life benefited mine, but that's why we miss people and don't even argue this point with me. We miss people because we miss what they add to our lives. Carissa added a lot to mine, whether or not I liked all of it is a different story for a different time, but I miss her. I miss my Smalls.
She hated it when I called her that. But to me, she will always be Smalls. And to me, she will always be my sister, even if its only in our hearts. I miss my sister.