When I was 3 years old, my parents brought home a new baby. I guess I had expected something different after all those months of waiting and being promised a playmate. This baby was not a playmate. All it did was sleep and cry and it certainly did not ever play, especially with me. I suppose that defined our relationship for many years.
Once she was old enough to play with, I was tired of her. The novelty had worn off. She didn’t play the same games as me. She couldn’t read. She bit chunks out of my albums and tore pages from my books. She was so special and precious to my parents that I was resentful and jealous. As a child, I did not understand the loss of my brother and the joy of a new child filling that empty space. I only saw a whiny brat who always got her way and was no fun at all.
For many years that is the only relationship I had with her. My sister was a pain in the ass. I guess we played together some because we had no one else most of the time. We moved around so much, it was hard to form friendships with other people. Everyone in our lives was transient, so we learned to rely on one another whether we liked it or not. We had cousins and one or two famly friends, but we didn’t even see them as much as we needed. My sister and I formed a love-hate relationship that lasted well into adulthood.
She was a very different person than me. She was actually sunny. She liked to play outside, she was friendly and enjoyed meeting people. She was a sneaky little shit who lived to make my life miserable, too. I hated being outdoors. I still do actually. I wanted to be alone for the most part. I grew tired of meeting new people and struggling to make friends and fit in many many years before most people ever do. We had some things in common though. Neither of us knew when to shut-up. Mouthy little bitches, you know?
She did know not to mouth off to our mother though, I’ll give her that. She mouthed off and smarted off and belligerently vocalized to all kinds of other people. Usually people much larger than herself. She never had enough ass to back up her mouth. I was involved in so many fights as a kid trying to defend my sister. Other, bigger kids wanted a piece of her so badly. But she was my responsibility. I was the only one who could kick her butt. My mother would have killed me dead if I had let anyone else beat her up. So, I got my ass handed to me many times by bigger kids. I think she remembers me as the victorious one. Sometimes I was. But not as often as I wasn’t.
We are all growed up now. We have very different lives. We have very different personalities. I think anyone meeting the two of us separately would never guess we are siblings. But we have also learned to be friends. Eventually all those years of having no one else to count on formed a bond while we weren’t looking. We survived some tough times together. We lived through some extreme shit. When you emerge from the other side, the person who knows what you’ve been through and who has been through the same crap is your comrade. I guess it might be like the people who bond after surviving a war or a plane crash together. Those other survivors are your companions, brother in arms. Except, we are siblings too, so the bond is even stronger. Survivors and family.