I wake to find my sister sitting on the floor next to me. Her head leaning over mine.
I laugh coarsely, as I know exactly what she is up to.
She looks at me evilly, and tells me 'its just not normal honestly'.
I sleep very calmly. If that's what it can be called. It all started years and years ago. Many many mornings, I would wake to find my sister with her head hanging very close to mine. Sometimes i screamed. A few times I accidently head butted her.
Only after 2 or 3 years of this happening did I then ask her what she was doing. I guess I always assumed she was trying to annoy me.
She told me - " I was worried you were dead, so I check you are breathing". Her answer scared me, and we were both at a young age, where death should not be so familiar.
At that time I skipped down to my mother and told her. She laughed and told me I was like a statue when I sleep, and that my sister had been 'checking i was alive' for a long time. I remember laughing at the time, but writing it down, it doesn't seem so funny.
I remind her of this, and she grins broadly. Her laptop rests on her legs, and she repeatedly taps me, until i roll up. I complain about how sleepy I am, which she ignores. She tells me she heard a song, which reminded her of me lying on the cold tiles, to cool my heat stricken skin. We had fans and air-conditioning, but on the frequent occasions where they would close, this was my lazy solution.
I laugh as I ask her if this is her way of telling me she wants a hug. I outstretch my arms in a happy daze.
The whole day is spent talking and listening to everyone. I feel empty, and homesickness rears its head angrily. It seems the worst time to have guests. So naturally, guests come knocking on the door. I'm hurried out of the living room, like a secret.
I cough in disbelief, as my grandmother and mother discuss whether I should be 'hidden' from guests, or let me get dressed and say hello. I know they are doing it out of consideration, but I do want my opinion to be taken. Its not. The guests are my grandmother's friends, and I see their grey heads toss as I creep into another room.
I look at the bed longingly, though my sister has other ideas. She talks for 2 hours straight, to be interrupted by our mother, who warns of her upcoming exams. She moodily trudges off to revise. I'm left to my mother, who I talk in length of living in London. I tell her the truth. That I still don't understand the life there. I tell her tales of the subway, and stories of student life. I laugh along.
What I didn't tell her, is that despite me clearly not having adapted to the City or the Londoners yet, there was one thing I did miss...the emptiness.
The sunset brings distinguished oranges, reds and purples into the sky. I lean against the balcony alone, admiring the expanse of dust and destruction before me.
I go indoors reluctantly, as someone calls my name.