Me and you, us never part. Me and you, us have one heart. Aint no ocean, aint no sea. Keep my sister away from me. The Color Purple
The Color Purple is an iconic movie with multiple themes including sisterhood. Two of the main characters, Celie and Nettie are sisters who share an inseparable bond. Celie acts like a mother to Nettie protecting her from abuse and choosing to take the awful place of what Nettie’s life could be.
There is a scene where Nettie is being forced to leave Celie and they grip each other tightly, wrapping their arms around one another, wailing against the inevitable separation. Mr. tears them apart and throws Nettie over the fence while Celie is being dragged on the dirty ground desperately holding on to any part of Celie’s flesh she could touch. Once over the fence, they pause, and through their tears they begin to hand clap and chant;
Makidada: Me and You us never part, me and you we have one heart, aint no ocean, aint no sea, keep my sister away from me.
It’s a Swahili term meaning, Inseparable bond. Me and Elisa share this unique connection of sisterhood, yet also a parent/child relationship. I’ve loved her like my own. I helped my mom with all the duties like clean, feed, bathe, dress, and put to bed. Elisa was a happy baby. She’d listen to everything I told her to do from a very small age. When she was old enough to stand, I’d put my Walkman and headphones on her, place her on the coffee table, and tell her to dance. Her chubby little body would bob up and down smiling at me with a questionable look like,
“Am I making you happy?” She was like a golden retriever, always wanting to please me and make me proud.
I joined the Navy September 28th, 1994. I don’t think 5 year-old Elisa understood the magnitude of what was happening. I was leaving and only returning to visit. I knew how hard it would be for all of us but the alternative was glim. She decided that Peter (Pretty) bear should come with me to Boot camp to keep me company. Of course I couldn’t bring the stuffed animal but I played along telling her thank you and that I was so happy she wanted me to take her beloved toy. It was about an hour drive from Lacey to Seattle and one filled with lots of I love you’sand I’m going to miss you’sand my Mom professing how proud she was of me.
My Mom parked her old, huge, and puke green Oldsmobile in the hotel parking lot. We all got out and my Mom and I hugged and kissed first. Her hugs left an imprint on my body and heart. Then, I kneeled down to hug my sweet little baby Elisa. Like always, she dove into my arms and buried her face in my neck. I secretly mouthed to my Mom to take Peter bear and put it in the car. She did. My sister and I cried and she begged me not to leave. I explained to her that I had to so that our lives would be better. I told her she could write letters and I’d call her every chance I got. We said goodbye and as I walked away, I heard a muffled pounding. I looked back to see Elisa’s little face in the rear view window and her hand hitting the window with Peter bear. She was crying, you forgot Peter bear. I just kept blowing her kisses saying, I love you so much and watched that sad face fade as my Mom pulled away.
25 years later, Elisa made the decision to also join the Navy.
Although none of us were surprised, we were insanely excited for what that meant. she chose to pursue a job called CTI. This would require her to take another exam and if she passed, she’d get to go to school to be an interpreter. She studied for the DLAB and of course, passed with a score in the top tier. All her work and effort paid off and she was given a ship date. We soaked up our minutes and hours and days cooking together, hiking, watching movies, and seeing places she wanted to visit before leaving like the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
The day we drove her to MEPS. My heart beat a little faster. We all sat in the waiting area, waiting to be called in to watch our future Sailor swear in for the final time. The doors open, and there stood our future warriors, Elisa being one of them. She was at Parade Rest and I instantly choked back tears. Me and Ivy stood as close to her as possible and watched as she stated her name and pledged her alliance to our country and the World’s Greatest Navy. 25 years later, my sweet girl would join the ranks with me and pursue her great calling. After the ceremony we said our goodbyes.
As she poured a stale cup of USO coffee into the Styrofoam cup, I laid my head on her shoulders placing my right cheek against her back and wrapped my arms underneath hers. I wanted to feel close to her and capture her scent. She turned around and we embraced each other. Empty and full at the same time, I’d send her off, just like she sent me off so long ago. That day I anxiously waited for communication; when her plane took off, when it landed, and lastly when she’d call from RTC (Recruit Training Command) to let me know she arrived. I laid on the couch, depressed and removed from the world. I tried to eat my sorrows away but nothing worked. I knew it would all be good and she would be okay, but my heart longed for her presence. The day after that, a migraine rapidly crept its way into my head and paralyzed me, chaining me to my bed. So I slept and slept some more. I cried knowing that it would be years, if ever, we would live near each other again.
Pain and longing often coexist at the exact same time something new is occurring. This is life and this is us. We know heartache, separation, and we especially know how to kick Option B in the ass. Our inseparable bond is tougher than steel and the distance will fortify our relationship. I’m so proud of her and am confident that she will shake mountains and build a legacy. But for now, I miss her.