Sister, where forth art thou?


   Hard as it is to believe, today’s the anniversary since Maggie left. Five years that seemed to have gone by and sometimes I wonder how that could be possible. You would think that when someone you care about is gone, that time wouldn’t go by this fast. That it would slow down and let you hold onto it until that person comes back. Guess I was wrong.


   Sometimes I still feel like it’s all just a mistake and that she’s going to walk through the door any minute, telling us that she had just gone for a walk. Then things will be right again. I really want to believe that, but I know that I can’t.


   Maggie, my little sister, didn’t just go for a walk. She just left. She took her things and walked out of our lives and into who knows what, leaving the rest of us wondering and waiting.


   No one even knew that she was gone at first. We thought that she had just gone to blow off some steam. She did that sometimes when she was upset, like Raph, but she was never gone very long like he was. She always came back. But then Master Splinter had gone into her room and found the note. Then we knew the truth, that this time was different than the rest. We all looked for her after that, even April and Casey, when we realized what had happened. But we never found anything. To this day, no one knows what happened to Maggie or where she could have gone.


   Things really changed after Maggie ran away. Even now, it’s hard to see how much of an impact a single person can have in the lives of others. It makes you realize that everyone’s part of this great big puzzle and each one of us is important to making it whole. Take one away, and the picture will never be complete.


   We still went on with life of course, but certain things were never the same. Around the Lair, things are quieter these days. Raph’s still kind of wild, but he’s mellowed out a lot, especially since he met his new girlfriend, Carmen. That girl may be a human, but she certainly knows how to calm Raphael down faster than the rest of us ever could. Raph and Leo still fight a lot of course. I don’t think anything could ever change that, even if they have mellowed out with it some. It’s a fact of life.


   Don’s still working on his science junk and I’m still being the same old lovable me. I’ve got a girlfriend too now; a female turtle named Madison. She’s a real sweet girl and I couldn’t ask for anyone better. Her older sister, Gwen, got married to Leo a about two years ago and now they have a son who just turned a year old about two months ago. His full name is Excalibur (Gwen’s idea) but everyone calls him Cal for short. I think it suits the little guy better anyway. Cal looks a lot like his Dad, but he has his Mom’s mouth and personality. I seriously think that one’s gonna be a handful for Leo when he’s older. They’re expecting their second child now, but the little tyke won’t be here for at least another eight months, so we’re all getting ready for that.


   Things are better between April and Casey these days. They finally got married about a year after Maggie left and settled down not too far from April’s old apartment. They’ve got a son now, Cody. He’s three and sometimes we watch him when his folks need some time to themselves. None of us really minds, of course. April and Casey are family and that sort of makes us Cody’s Uncles anyhow. So we’re just doing our part to help out.


   As for Master Splinter, well… He’s just Splinter. Still teaching us and acting as a guiding force in our lives. He never seems to change…or does he?


   We still have our share of troubles of course; Shredder and the Foot aren’t much of a problem these days, but they’re still around. So that means we still have to keep them in line. Then there’s saving people from muggers and other crooks. Just the same as usual, I suppose.


   But even if we’re mostly the same, everyone’s changed in some way with Maggie gone. Like Raph did. He and Maggie were never really that close, especially when we were kids. They never fought like Raph did with Leo, but they had their moments. I can remember one time when we were little, Raph was teasing Maggie and he pushed her too far. She scratched him, hard, and to this day, there’s still a scar on his leg from that encounter. I don’t think he ever quite forgave her for that one.


   In the end though, Raph really did care about Maggie. I know this because he was the one who stayed out the longest trying to find her and kept up searching for months. He still looks for her from time to time, we all do, but more than the rest. I’m not sure if he’s doing it out of brotherly love or something else. Maybe he regrets how he treated her sometimes and is trying to make up for it. But, who knows?


   Don’s a lot more private about his work these days. When Maggie was around, he used to let just about anyone into his shop while he worked. If they were quiet. Maggie especially, since she always enjoyed watching him and didn’t make a mess of things like he said the rest of us do. I guess when they were together in there it was where they did most of their bonding as brother and sister. Now, unless you’ve got a good reason, Don’s lab is off limits.


   Sometimes I think Leo took this whole thing as a personal matter. He’s the oldest and he’s always felt that it was his duty to protect the family. And believe me, he’s tried to from day one. Whenever there was trouble, he was the one who put himself in the middle of it to help the rest of us. I think he just can’t accept that he couldn’t protect his own sister anymore and that’s what drives him now, to protect the family and our friends even more, especially Cody and Cal.


   Me personally, well, I think I realized just how important it is not to take the people around you for granted, especially family. That happens a lot I think. A person is around you all the time and you think that they’re gonna be around forever. Then one day, before you know it, they’re gone, possibly forever, like Maggie was. And it’s only after they’re gone that you know just how much they meant to you and that you regret what you never said to them but should have. Like I do and I’m sure a lot of others do also when they’re in this situation.


   Master Splinter’s basically the same, but there’s been a definite change in him. One that I can see and I’m pretty sure that everyone else does too, even if none of us ever says anything about it in front of him. He still acts the same towards us but he’s become hard on the inside, in that place that Maggie occupied in his heart and I know the reason. Splinter won’t say it, but I know that he blames himself for Maggie leaving. I can tell that he feels that if he had just been able to reach her and found out what was wrong, then maybe she wouldn’t have run away. That she would still be here with the family and then this nightmare wouldn’t have happened. Personally, I don’t think it would have made a difference.


   I won’t say it to anyone else, especially Master Splinter, but I think that Maggie would have left sooner or later. We were always close from the time we were kids and there were just certain things I noticed about her that others missed, even Maggie herself. Normally, she was the quiet one, literally. She never talked like we did, but she knew how to make her wants known and she always seemed to know just what someone needed to make them feel better.


   That changed however. During the last couple of months before she left, Maggie started acting really weird. She was constantly getting moody for no reason, almost getting into a fist fight with Raph a few times and pulling away from the rest of us when we tried to help, even me. I think the argument with Splinter just gave her an excuse to leave sooner than later.


   And after this much time, I think it’s less likely that Maggie’s ever gonna come home. She’s probably made a new life for herself, somewhere, and she’s probably forgotten all about us. It’s hard to think about, but when I consider about the alternatives, it’s the best one that I can accept. Or maybe just the only one that I want to believe is true.


   But wherever she is, I just hope that Maggie’s okay. No matter what’s happened, she’s still my little sister and I just want the best for her, we all do I think. Who knows, maybe someday Maggie will come back, and I can tell her that myself.



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