*”She Rides In The Front Seat, She’s My Older Sister”
* song by Carly Simon
I didn’t have to think long for an answer; the question was already answered in my mind and in my heart before I stopped reading the prompt. Who would I pick? My sister. We look nothing alike but many people say we sound exactly alike, especially on the phone. Sounding identical on the phone came in very handy for practical jokes when she grew tired of talking to a guy or a girlfriend and handed the receiver over to me; I joyfully took over. No one ever knew, we laughed about that a lot, it is still a funny memory. We tricked our dad all the time he could never tell us apart on the phone, tricking mom was a challenge but we even got her once or twice.
We may be connected by blood but we don’t really have a lot in common. Our mother and father used to call us Day and Night, probably not a good thing to encourage a warm, trusting, sibling relationship but they were right. You probably could not find two more dissimilar sisters if you tried.
We are opposite in most everything. If I love a movie (Ferris Bueller) she will hate it. If she recommends a Doctor (she did) I hated him on sight. We have no preconceived notions it’s just that are tastes are so different. When she picks out a present for someone she buys what she would love to have; when I buy a present I think of what the person will like based on who they are.
Our hearts must be wired differently as well as our personalities. I’m trying so hard, so deliberately NOT to push buttons or start a fight. We have the same issues for each other yet with different circumstances. I feel like I walk on eggshells when I talk to her and she feels the same way about me. There are dangerous, hidden explosive mines that should probably all be detonated by now but I’m afraid they are not. They explode a few times a year and I’m being conservative.
I always wanted a Hallmark sister, I longed to buy one of those cards that said “To My Sister And Best Friend” but I couldn’t. I wanted us to be the two sisters in the photograph above, loving, sweet, bound by an indescribable connection. I wanted an older sister to play with me, someone I could rely on for support and warmth. Someone that would teach me things about boys and make-up but our five and a half-year difference and our different styles made it hard if not impossible. She probably wanted another person like herself, more adventurous and wild but we can’t seem to meet half way on anything.
I love my sister, I wish we weren’t that different but we are. Understanding each other will never happen; now we are trying for acceptance but that’s really hard too. I wish my sister was my friend, I wish she was my best friend but she isn’t. I wish we didn’t have the complicated emotional history we have; we’re the Yankees vs the Red Sox, the chocolate to vanilla, our pet names for each other were “stupid” and “ugly” and that just sounds so wrong. But, we were also “tuna fish” as we said good-night to each other through a fake wall partition and “peanut butter,” and that exchange usually lasted a good ten or fifteen minutes or more. Until one of us started to get tired and then we would ask good-naturedly “What time is it?” just to prolong our simple game.
My most favorite memories when we were older and our parents would still be sleeping but she and I would wake up and gather around the kitchen’s white formica table and sip coffee together and talk. In the end, she is my only sibling and when our mother dies we will have our history and memories to link us together. Maybe then, we will be able to put away our differences and cling to what we have left: each other.