October 19, 2010 § 2 Comments
She was born four years before me and wasn’t all that happy the day I was brought home. Or so I’ve been told ~I wouldn’t remember.
I do remember a curly haired girl with freckles she despised and skinny legs (that looked even skinnier in black leotards that were, for some unknown reason, favorites of hers) who loved to play house. I was usually cast in a secondary menial role.. the little girl…or the sister or sometimes, when it was necessary for the plot to run well ~ the father. She was always the Mother and could develop a story as beautifully as any well paid director might.
I never lasted very long in those drawn out dramatic tales…there was only so much direction I would take from someone wearing curtain sheers around her waist.
My sister developed spinal meningitis when she was 2 years old and it left her with limited use of her right side. We never talked about it much growing up…we didn’t need to. She could button her shirt and lace her shoes quicker than I ever could. When I was 8 she was best of all the jack players in our school. Imagine that. Throw the little ball, scoop the jacks, catch the little ball…all with one hand and in record time. I remember that all the kids would gather during lunch and recess breaks and circle the players sitting on the pavement with their little velvet bags of metal jacks and red rubber balls. I remember them standing in slack jawed awe at my Queen of the jacks sister.
I can remember spilling my secrets to her in our room late at night when we were supposed to be sleeping. She was the first to know how much I loved Henry in eighth grade. She was incredulous because she knew how deeply I’d loved Larry for 7 years~
The first apartment I ever got on my own was with my sister. We bought groceries at the IGA and cooked like grown ups with our own dishes and everything in a one bedroom apartment the year I got out of school. She had the bedroom of course. That age difference thing~
We were very careful to never like the same guy at the same time. It is an unspoken rule that men do not take precedence over sisters.
We were married in the same year… Our first babies were born within days of each other.
All of our lives we’ve traded secrets, clothes, meaningful looks and recipes and when we are feeling especially warm and expansive, compliments.
We’ve also traded the evil eye and insults.. We are normal sisters, after all.
Now here we are, with grown children and growing grand-children. The men we grew up with alongside our children, no longer part of our lives. We are moving on with the second half of our lives in two different countries.
Yet there is an unbreakable unbeatable bond of joined memories..conjoined memories.. and no amount of time or space between us will change that.
I hope someone cooks her potato cakes today..