This day always seemed so far away. 24 seemed simply unreal. It just so happened that my birthday fell on the 13th, my youngest sister’s birthday on the 14th, my older sister’s on the 15th, of different months of course, and then there was my younger sister’s birthday all the way on the 24th. I think my parents were tired of being perfect by the third child and mixed it up a bit. In my mind the perfect birthday would be the one that matched your date, at least that’s what I thought while growing up. But I could never imagine the day when my younger sister would turn 24.
As unreal as it seems, the day came! I woke up and as usual picked up a book barely holding on to the edge of my night table, placed there carelessly the night before. After my mind awoke with the frustrating scenes of secret pre-war meetings in Jerusalem (see my reading list from yesterday’s post), I headed for the tea pot and heated up some breakfast. Holding the phone meantime in my hand, I asked Dina if today was the 24th, just to make sure. “And it’s June, right?” I jokingly asked her on the way out of the room. I speed dialed 24 on my phone and reached Nadia’s voicemail.
“Dear Nadia, I really can’t believe you’re twenty-four today. You seem just as youthful and fun when we were around ten, playing our own version of volleyball over a gate instead of a net, chasing each other in open fields, swinging from a branch of our favorite cherry tree . . . oh and drinking lots of tea with jam in our aunt’s tiny kitchen sheltered with a muslin cloth from flies in the summer time. Remember the times we used to copy each other? I always thought you would follow in my footsteps, because we liked similar things, but our paths ended up anything but the same. You transferred to another elementary school in 5th grade, and by the time I saved up all my chemistry notes from the toughest teacher in my high school, you went to a different one instead. I had you stay with me in my college dorm during my freshmen year of college, thinking that you too will be here one day. I still remember the day when you were looking at beauty schools and your future counselor looked at me and told me that I should enroll too, so we can open up a sister salon together. As much fun as that would be, the truth was truth . . . while you braided hair and cared meticulously for your dress, I kicked the ball around with the neighbor kids all covered in dust. I’m glad you followed your own passions ;).
Oh Nadia, I’m so thankful for a sister like you! For your ways and quirks. For all the memories we built together. For the time you packed me for a four month stay in Israel in 2 hours. For the time you volunteered to drive along the winding highway 1 when I was falling asleep. For the Eiffel Tower candy case which you brought me from France. For the business card holder you gave me as a present on your wedding day, reassuring me that one day this photography thing will work. For you endless advice and prayers! And of course for laughing at my jokes! I love you to pieces and could celebrate you every single day! Since today is the perfect match, I really wish you the best and most perfect birthday! Happy 24th!”