The Day I Discovered I Had a Secret Sister
I was seventeen when I first saw her photo and I immediately knew: my family was not quite what it seemed, and we would never be the same again.
Illustration by Sophie Blackhall-Cain
I took the train up from Philly, where I lived with my mom and her second family, to visit my father in Boston. The Northeast whipped past, the coastline folding into a ruddy, autumnal New England. Prior to my sixteenth year and the end of my father’s tumultuous second marriage, it had always been the reverse: I would leave my father’s home to visit my mother. After I moved in with my mom, amidst the madness of divorce and hurt feelings between my dad, my stepmom and me, I’d gone home one last time to pack my room, but instead my things were piled up on the sidewalk outside. I barely wanted any of it after that. From then on, I vowed to travel light. Now at seventeen, in my West German army jacket, with blue in my hair and Doc Martens on my feet, traveling alone, I didn’t know where I belonged. I often felt that my true self was she who was in transit, she who was between parents, between conflicting expectations. As long as I stayed in transit I a…