Tuesday, December 14, 2010


My sister hated me the moment I was born. She was five and I was premature, quite ugly and needed lots of attention - all of which used to be hers alone. When I was still a baby she tipped my carriage over and I went flying out and sliding onto the frozen lake in Hudson County Park where my family was skating. Mom says she can't remember details. My sister alternates between saying it was an accident and that it never happened.

Our childhood was one long, exhausting battle for supremacy. She could be a bully, bossy and mean. I could be sneaky, thieving, and manipulative. Often we split our room in two, using masking tape. I'd always get the side of the room with the door and the bathroom, but she'd always get the toys and the clothes on her side. It was the equivalent of tic tac toe in War Games - the only winning move was not to play. It's a miracle we didn't kill each other.

Then a real miracle did happen. We suddenly didn't hate each other. It was sometime around 1988. I was fifteen, she was twenty. Suddenly, we started to go out clubbing together. (Note to self: Don't tell Rowan this story until she is 40) I'd use her passport and she'd use her license and we'd go dancing in alphabet city's new wave and goth clubs wearing enough black eyeliner and patchouli to choke a horse. If I close my eyes I can almost smell the clove cigarettes.

It's been that good, and better ever since. We've had some fights, but generally we don't because we realize that a) most fights are bullshit b) it's a waste of time that we don't have. We get to speak to each other like humans about once a season, and we sneak out on our families to do it. We did that today. We just went to a random mall, equidistant from where we both live now and wandered around gossiping and eating like old cackling witches. I cackled A LOT. She made me laugh more than I have in a very long time. Who else but a sister would bring up a vagacial and, when I asked what in the hell that could be, patiently explain it, in detail, while the coffee guy at the Gloria Jeans looked on, slack jawed. I swear I snorted some butter rum latte on accident, I was laughing so hard.

So, in honor of how awesome my sister is, and how almighty fucking lucky I am to have her, I ask: Who are your favorite sisters in fiction? Little Women? Bennet Sisters? My favorite pair are Nora and Dora Chance from Wise Children by Angela Carter.

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