Taking a deep breath, I stepped through the portal. The world faded around me, and time and space seemed to lose all meaning.
The world eventually returned, and I found myself in a cramped hotel room. The small couch was made up as a bed, and the pile of extra bedding on the floor at the foot of the double bed made me think four people were sleeping here.
Not think, remember, I realize as I see two figures sitting on the bed. The sisters were dressed in fancy dresses, preparing for a wedding. The older sister was brushing her younger sister's incredibly long hair. The two girls were giggling about boys and school and everything else a 12 and 14 year old gossip about.
I remembered this place, this scene. My eyes could not leave the older sister's face, a face I hadn't seen in over a decade.
This was one of her few moments of clarity, of sanity. One of the last happy memories I have of her before...
I wiped away my tears with a strangely spectral hand as my sister got up and moved to the washroom to put on make-up, giving the younger me a big hug before she left. Probably the last hug I ever got from her.
The younger me stood up and went to the window, and I remembered that I was waiting for my parents to come back from the shop with my mom's dress.
I took the opportunity to approach my younger self. She didn't notice me, but I whispered to her anyway, hoping she could somehow hear me.
"Never forget this memory," I advised, choking back tears, "or any other good memory of her. Remember these memories when times get tough, and hold on to them tightly. Remember them through all the screaming, blood, and hospital visits the future holds. Remember them on those nights when you don't know if she's alive or dead. Keep them close to your heart. They're her way of telling you that she loves you, no matter what she says or does to the contrary. For the rest of your life, you can take some comfort in this."
I felt myself being drawn back through the portal, and I tried to fight it and stay in this happy memory forever. But as the world around me faded away, I swear I saw my younger self smile as she etched the moment of happiness into memory.ns 18.104.22.168da2