“Why are you crying again?” I asked my sister as I walked into her room.
“I’m so stressed out. I think James is fooling around with their new intern. I don’t know what to do!” The smell of her foul breath enveloped my being and instantly made me sick.
“TicTac’s, Lorie!” I said.
“Huh?” She was clueless and didn’t even know what I was talking about.
I’m not cold or insensitive. You can say that I’m tough and stress is just a “game” to be played for me. Meaning – if there are stressful situations in my life, I don’t crumble and cry hopelessly. Instead, I find a way to circumvent my stress and make it into a positive moment. Unfortunately, my sister, Lorie is not like that. She was diagnosed with depression when we were in our teens and she’s been having a hard time with her emotions. Our magic word for it is “stress”. I can never say the D-word in her presence. She won’t be able to take it well.
“Your breath stinks! When was the last time you brushed your teeth? Did you take a bath today?” No, she didn’t take a bath today, or yesterday, or the day before.
“Was that the shirt you wore when I waved at you from the road last Saturday?” I was starting to get angry at her. We live a few houses away and yeah, I’m in her “business” all the time because she’s my twin and I love her.
Lorie just cried some more. She hit rock bottom yet again.
I realized that she hasn’t been taking care of herself for 4 days. Oh, Lorie. You don’t have to be “stressed”. He’s just a man and there are other guys out there who would love to be your boyfriend and not cheat on you. I said that in my mind because you can’t speak to a depressed person that way. The words I need to use must be stress-friendly. I want her to pick herself up and at the same time, be motivated and to stop feeling bad. I had to think of something and fast.
“How about we call Lakisha and tell her that it’s an emergency? We need a new hairdo!” When I said hairdo, she stopped sobbing and forced a smile.
“Can I get some highlights?” She asked.
“Of course! Whatever you like, my treat!” Lorie hurriedly brushed her teeth and put on clean jeans and a white shirt. She slipped on her Stan Smith sneakers and washed her face. “You’ve always been beautiful!” I said.
On our way to the salon, she was quiet. I know her “stress” was trying to destroy her again and I was determined to fight it. “Hey, you with me?” I said. She nodded and smiled. “Do you remember the time when Johnny the Bully cornered me?” She looked at me and said, “Yeah, 5th grade. I stomped on his foot and you punched his face.”
We said in unison, “Don’t mess with the Lutz’ twins!” And we laughed. “I will punch anyone for you, Lor. I will always have your back like you have mine. You know that right?” I said while holding her hand.
“I know.” She answered.
“So, let’s not get “stressed”. Instead, let’s get beautiful!” We hugged each other after I parked the car outside the salon.
We had our hair done, asked for acrylic nails, put on some drunk-blush make up and went out that night.
The next day, Lorie was feeling better and I asked her to join me for an online talk therapy session on this site. It was really for her, but I made it look like I was the one who needed the help. In all honesty, I think, I could use some meaningful adult conversation without fear of being judged. I do hope that her depression won’t relapse again.