I have wanted to write about Jade, Thorin’s biological sister, since I started this blog. But, I didn’t know how to tell her about it. And – if I did tell her I thought she might think I was over stepping a boundary between what was ‘she and Thorin’s story’ and what was ‘our story’. She now knows about Atypicalson. I have come to realize it’s not two stories but the story of one family.
I watched ‘The Walking Dead’ for the first time last night with Thorin’s sixteen year old sister. At the conclusion she turned to me and said, “Thorin and I would survive a zombie invasion and you (wait for it) – would be dead.”
She was being funny and she was not being funny. And – she was correct I would probably be the ‘weak sister’ in a zombie apocalypse. I’d bite it (pun intended) in the first act no doubt screaming and crying – hysterical. But – if somehow I didn’t become a Zombie I would want to be in her group of survivors in which – she would no doubt be the leader and the moral compass of the group.
That seemed to be the major point of the show – group dynamics in the face of a great threat. In the face of a world gone mad. In a world that is unimaginable.
This is often the point of survival tales – real and imagined. Will the experience change you? Hardened you? Or will it make you more human? More humane?
Jade knows she and Thorin would survive a zombie apocalypse because they already had. Their apocalypse was the demise of their family. And instead of being defeated – she triumphed. She took charge. She sacrificed. She persisted. She was relentless. She put herself in harm’s way to save someone else – her brother and eventually our son.
We first heard about Jade shortly after we met Thorin. By all accounts – from every adult Thorin encountered after being removed from his home – Jade was described as ‘heroic’.
When Thorin was born – Jade was 10 years old. She often stayed home from school to make sure he was cared for and safe. She became more than his sister. She became his protector. In reality, she became his mother.
She did this because – they lived in a home with drug addicts. People who were no longer part of the functioning world. People lost in a state of perpetual haze – like Zombies.
She eventually got Thorin out of that home after contacting more than one adult in a position of authority who didn’t seem as capable – or brave – as her. She ended up reporting her family to the police.
On first meeting her when she was 13 years old I was struck by how small and unassuming this hero seemed. After some feeble attempts at small talk I couldn’t help myself I had to know how she did it. Where did she find the strength?
My question was, “How could you go to the police?” I thought my intention was clear – what I was really asking was “how does a person – particularly a child – become heroic?”
She didn’t understand what I was asking though because what she said was – “I walked there.”