• Dear Diary,
    It’s been another lonely day. My heart raced as I entered the house, the same hope entered me as I feel every day. But it was not met with a welcoming greeting. My mother was home, but she was sitting on the computer. She didn’t even turn her head as I entered.
    A twelve-year-old should be loved, right. Or at least feel loved. I didn’t have that feeling at all. I remember something my sister told me today. She told me once that my parents wish for a boy when my mother was pregnant with me. She told me that they didn’t want a girl. They needed a male heir for their company, but instead they had me. My sister, of course, said this out of spite, but I wonder if it’s really true? Do they not love me because I’m a girl. My sister says sometimes she feels the same way. My brother was born after me, I remember that day. My parents were so happy. They had been praying for a little boy, I heard them every night.
    Once they had that baby boy, they didn’t need me or my sister. But she was stronger than I was. I’m too smart, I tell myself sometimes. I think things through too much. For almost two weeks now, I’ve had trouble falling asleep at night. I lay awake wondering if anyone really loves me or not. I look back at all the things my parents had done, or hadn’t done, and the thought makes itself bigger and bigger.
    My sister says I have to accept the fact that my family isn’t here for me. But she can say that because she has friends. All my friends left me because they say I’m always sad. If they were good friends, I wouldn’t be so sad. Sometimes I wish I could be someone else, born into a family with no sexist attitudes. My brother is the most important. We all know it. My sister and I know it, and even my parents know it. They just won’t admit it’s true.
    My brother still looks up to me and sis, he’s too young to do otherwise. But I do sometimes think I hear my parents in his room telling him to do otherwise. They don’t want him to look up to me. They think I’m stupid and weak.
    Just because we’re girls, and I thought my mother would understand this, doesn’t mean we aren’t strong and intelligent. We are. I have a very clever mind and my sister is very strong, in both her mind and body.
    It’s funny how a simple gesture can bring up all these feelings. I wish I could confide in someone, but there’s no one.
    I’ve told Emily everything. Emily, my only friend. She’s known for a long time that I don’t matter to my parents. She could see it too when she came to visit. But the person I really wish to talk to is Eric, her doctor brother. He’d know what to do. He always helped me when I was younger.
    I’d been thinking about this a lot more recently since Eric is staying with Emily for the time being. Every time I see him at her house, I feel the urge to just run and let him catch me in his arms like I did when I was little. But I haven’t talked to him for so long. Not really talking, just saying hello once and awhile. I miss him so much but he doesn’t know that.
    He told me a long time ago that he loved me. He said it just like he did toward Emily. He thought of me as a sister at that time, as family. I remember that day because I wished to respond to him. I wanted to say I loved him too, but I couldn’t. I really did love him, but not as a brother. It was a childish crush, but I was naïve and embarrassed.
    I still feel sometimes that I’d be happier if he was with me all the time. But he had a girlfriend. They aren’t together now but he’s turning twenty-two now and he’s already got a job. I’m still a little girl to him.
    I think the first day I started having these thoughts of loneliness was the day Eric went off to college. He said goodbye to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek, the same for Emily. But he never came back the same. He was gone for a long time. He sent me letters in the beginning, one a month. But after awhile, he started sending less and less and finally they stopped all together. It was a time where I started to separate from the rest of the world and I entered my own little place where it was just me. This period of my life lasted a long time, I remember. I was so passive, though, so there’s no feeling behind the memory. I also remember waking up from the trance of numbness. Emily had threatened to leave. She told me I wasn’t being a good friend. I couldn’t risk losing her. She was all I had left. So I improved. I told her why I felt so blank and she told me that she loved me and that I wasn’t alone.
    She was my hero then. I started crying for the first time in a long time. I finally broke free from the passiveness and I felt an immense mass of pain. Everything that had built up had finally broken out and now weighed down on me. Slowly I improved but there was no healing from the separation. I came to terms with my problem by talking and confiding in Emily. She thought it was cute that I liked her brother. I was so young and so humiliated, but she didn’t seem to tease me about it. She knew he was handsome and kind.
    When Emily told me he was coming home, I was ecstatic. I wanted to remind him of me. I wanted him to remember me and let our relationship start again. But he didn’t even recognize me when I saw him the first time. Inside, I knew he wouldn’t. He remembered the little girl I used to be. He still loved that little girl and I could tell that he missed her. He missed the little Emily too, I saw. But he learned to love her. But he’d missed so much of my life that he couldn’t ever learn to love me again. I wasn’t his sister. I was his sister’s best friend. We weren’t supposed to like each other.
    And so I remember these times of happiness and pain and look back at them. Everything leads back to where I am now. In a state of loneliness. A state where I believe I’m unloved and alone. Without friends or family. And without Eric.
    All I wish for now is my parents love, since I know I can never have Eric’s. He’d moved on long ago while he was at college. He forgot all about me. He forgot about Emily, too. She shared some of my pain and that helped me cope. But she never knew the pain of being truly unloved, the pain you get when your parents don’t care about you. Only I knew that pain and only I could understand. The only way my parents would love me is if I were born a boy. But I wasn’t.
    So, Diary, tonight I’ll make a wish on a star. I wish I was born a boy, and maybe I’ll be loved by my parents finally. Eric would like me more, I’d be his sex. I’d be easier to connect with. I’d be best friends with his brother rather than his sister. And he’d still love me instead of forgetting me. I wish I were a boy.
    -Erica Stevens