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Life ain't fair. Deal with it.

c. 1993

My sister is short, about half a foot below my 5'10", and that isn't too tall. She's cute, though, and full of a lot of bouncy energy. She has a long, thick mass of wavy black hair, usually done up in a pony tail or French braid. Her eyes are brown, and constantly twinkling with an inner light bred by her boundless capacity to have fun.

Katydid and I haven't always gotten along as well as we do today. Most siblings don't, though. You might say that our poor relationship led to the rapport we share now. At least, you'd say that if you subscribe to the belief that "absence makes the heart grow fonder." I wasn't so sure, but it was our recent separation (she went Back East to go to college) that did it. Rather, I think we always had the capacity to get along, but we thought we had to go along with the natural order of things - brothers and sisters have to fight. Thankfully, we've mostly grown out of that.

I think the first memory I have of my sister is one of her teaching me to read. She was four, and a year and a half older than I. I think she did it less because she wanted to, and more to stop me from pestering her to read to me all the time. You see, my mother had gotten sick of reading to Katydid and me a little while before, so had taught my sister to read to get us off of her back. Attention spans are a lot shorter when you're that young, so it took considerably less time for reading aloud to grow thin for my sis than my mom. It didn't get rid of me totally, however - I didn't want to read so much as I wanted to hang out with my big sister.

We hung out together a lot back then, and now that I think about it, we got along pretty well then, too. Oh sure, there were squabbles here and there, but those passed fairly quickly. Short attention spans apply to grudges, too, and we were no exception.

Sometimes we'd build huge web-like constructions in our rooms with old yarn, blankets, and whatever we could tie to them, and tie them to. This recreation was not only fun, but it also served to keep our parents out of our rooms. They couldn't fit through the small holes we left as escape hatches. These structures were impermanent, however. They got on mom's nerves after a while, and we'd be forced to cut them down, leaving our rooms feeling empty.

I suppose you could draw an analogy between that feeling and the feeling I got when our relationship soured.

It happened around third grade for me, fourth for her. That's when we found out "the way of the world" from our friends: "Why do you hang out with her? She's your sister!" Imagine great loathing and revulsion. We drifted apart. Soon, the squabbles were the only interaction we had; at least, the only prolonged interaction.

This kept up until high school. Early on, we'd concentrate on getting each other in trouble. After all, if we can't like each other, we must have to dislike each other. And what better way to show it than to completely destroy each other's trust? Just let a seemingly innocent little comment drop in front of the parents: "I thought you were spending the night at Tina's last night!" or "Where's Sean?" "Oh, he's out in the back yard with Roger. I thought he smelled like smoke!" Well, sometimes we weren't that subtle.

Later on, we settled slowly into a sort of grim (in)tolerance for each other. When she reached her senior year, and I my junior, our mainly separate lives intersected again as our friends became common. I think that's when I, at least, began to feel a glimmering of the old feelings we'd used to share. I started remembering the good times again - playing Star Trek on the huge trees in our front yard in Eugene; puppet shows we put on for our parents in the playroom; "nature hikes" we'd set off on, generally getting more "nature" on ourselves than in our heads.

So we started doing things together again. At first, we only went out with our mutual friends - to movies, cemeteries at night, late night poker games. Later, it was just the two of us - Cisco and Pancho, together again. Well, we were more like Jekyll and Hyde.

The summer before she went to Smith College was one of the best times of my life, and hers too, I would hope. It cemented our new found (or long-forgotten) relationship, I think just in time. A fact proven, in my eyes, by the amount we missed each other when she first went off on her own.

After that, we wrote, we called each other, we confided, we argued (but didn't fight), we joked, we commiserated. And on summer vacations, we hung out, though our time together was limited again. Still, that time was much more fulfilling, since we could be ourselves again. And now, looking at our relationship, from a distance, as well as from deep within, I think I can honestly say that I love her, not only as my kin, but also as my best friend.


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