No parent should have to bury their child.
—King Theoden, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
While washing dishes, a kitchen knife fell on the floor, its metallic sound echoing against the tiles. In the movies, this is what they call a foreshadowing. Fast-forward to three days later, a room in disarray. Clothes, sheets, and pillows were scattered everywhere. A freshly laundered shirt still hanging out to dry with a massive hole in the back. She was reminded of a heartbreaking scene in which King Theoden visits the grave of his only son and heir, Theodred. She recalled seeing the devastation on his face as he broke down in tears.
I have a lot on my plate. First of all, let me just say that I love my family—all of them. I moved back home because I want to help out my parents with the expenses, the chores around the house, and just basic moral support. That said, for the past few months, not only was I stressed out from the my deadlines and the never-ending chores, I am also locking horns with my baby sister. While I am not one for airing out dirty laundry in public, I don’t want to hide it away either like a shameful family secret.
A quick backstory between my sister and I. We used to be very close. In fact, I had her move in with me in Cebu a few years back. She’s been having problems with our family and her studies. Then there was that brief romance between her and my long-time friend. Somehow she ended up despising me and left. I think that’s how it started. Due to fortuitous circumstances, I decided to move back home November of last year. She followed suit in March. She finally gave up the pretense of “going to school” and went home just before we had to leave for Japan. When we left for our month-long summer vacation there, we were not on speaking terms because of a few altercations, not yet physical then. But we seemed to have patched things up in Japan. However, the second we came back, her attitude toward me changed drastically again, which prompted me to stop talking to her entirely to avoid any more trouble. Just last month, I panicked because my laptop would not charge and I had a deadline that very night. As it turned out, she poured oil all over my battery pack. I had to clean my battery and let it dry for hours before I could turn on my laptop again. Thankfully, the problem was fixed and I resumed working. But since then, my laptop won’t go full charge, just 90%. I said nothing, but she continued messing with my stuff.
Barely a week after our uncle’s funeral two weeks ago, I woke up very early after sleeping soundly the night before. It was the first time I slept through the night in a very long time since I normally go to bed around 5:00 a.m. When our labandera, someone my mom contracted weekly to wash our clothes, failed to show up for two weeks in a row, my dad had to do the laundry right after cooking breakfast. As soon as I finished eating, I took over the washing while he had his breakfast. All I did was move some of her hanging clothes she washed the night before so I could hang Dad’s laundry.
Without warning, she erupted in rage. I found out as soon as I finished hanging up the clothes that she trashed my room, threw some of my clothes to the roof of the garage, and cut up some of my shirts.
I did not tell my parents to avoid another conflict, but I did show somephotos to my siblings. My ate told my parents because they were concerned for me. Obviously, my parents confronted her, but she just ignored them and kept singing to herself. I let it slide and didn’t talk to her, which seemed to anger her even more. My mom used to complain to me about her attitude because she’s been disrespecting our mother for years. I called her out on it one time, which ended in a massive shouting match after. She even attacked our dad because he took some of her dried clothes off the hanging racks a week before this happened. Still, she wouldn’t back down or even apologize. I had to change the locks on my room to avoid any more thrashing. She also threatened physical harm for “locking her door,” which Dad did, not me. “You mess with my door, I’ll mess with your face,” she kept saying over and over again while having trouble getting into her room. Eventually, it gave way before she almost destroyed her own door. After finding out shortly that it was Dad who checked out her room, she gave me the old stink eye, muttering curses under her breath if I dared to mess with her stuff again. I chose to ignore it and continued working on my computer.
So this is what I have to deal with every day. Needless to say, I’m beyond exhausted. The struggle continues today. She seems to relish messing with my stuff, like emptying my water bottle and putting it back in the fridge, taking some of my weekly food groceries, and this:
A few days ago, our mother bought three bottles of honey: one for me, one for our dad, and one for her. As usual, she took hers to her room. But then she also took some of mine and hid my bottle in the cupboard. My dad just found out my bottle last night.
To be honest, I would love nothing more than to get out of her hair and fly back to Cebu to resume my life. But I’m afraid that without my stuff to take her rage out on, she would turn her fury to our parents. That I cannot take. I’m not scared of my sister at all, but I am concerned for my parents. Plus, I made a promise to my siblings to stay put. Until my ate and kuya come home for good, I can’t leave our parents alone. My brother-in-law said my sister could be suffering from schizophrenia. I don’t think he is off the mark. If we had money to spare, I know my parents would have her treated for this. Until then, this is what I have to endure daily. I’m not disclosing this to extract sympathy. It is what it is.
Whatever happens in the future as things continue to escalate, she has no regrets. Although she knows she has not accomplished much in life, she takes pride in making sure the floor is swept and mopped, the dishes washed and stowed away, the kitchen counter is wiped clean, the garbage bins are emptied, there are fresh sheets on the beds, and some bills are paid off. Her only wish is that if people bump into her parents, she implores that they offer them kind words. They have been through enough already.