My sister and I have a complicated, beautiful, complex relationship. Our parents got married (my dad, her mom) when we were 3 and 4. I moved in with them when I was thirteen, and my sis (let’s call her Suki) and I had to share a room. And a bed. We shared a bed until she was 18 and I was 17, and then she moved away for a year. By that point, we couldn’t stand each other. It took me years to be able to sleep in a bed without looking like I was in a coffin. We both slept perfectly still, arms crossed over our chests, in an attempt to not touch each other EVER.
We were best friends. And then we hated each other. And then we were best friends. Then in 2000, she moved in with me. She got pregnant. I couldn’t help her. I moved to NYC. She got married and had a baby. We didn’t talk for seven years.
Flash forward to now. Both of us have two kids. She’s still married. I’m single. She’s loud and boisterous and swears like a muther fucker and I’m a little more reserved. At least in person. My loudness comes out in my writing. She’s a voluptuous brunette. I have hair that ranges in color from blonde to deep auburn, depending on my mood. And she’s the one person in my life who has no problem telling me like it is, and I have no problem hearing it.
“You’re wearing that fucking watch again.” She said as she sat down at the table at Wolfgang’s. We were meeting for breakfast. I slid the sausage and gravy ‘appetizer’ over to her. “That watch is my nemesis.”
We’ve had this conversation before. She hates my gigantic watch, mostly because I time everything. Everything. Like, I have three alarms set and I'll time how long it actually takes the waitress to bring hazelnut coffee when she says "Just a sec!" Not because I'm mean or anal. I just like to know the actual amount of time it takes. (3minutes 37 seconds.) My sister thinks I need to relax a little bit.
Two seconds later, she said “Okay, tell me the truth. How are you and what happened with Biff?”
I told her the story. The whole story. Even the bits I hadn’t told anyone else. “It’s good he’s gone,” she said. “I know it was hard, but he’s not right for you. Not right now.” Then she eyed me suspiciously. “What else?”
“Well, you know how I had that application on my site to have someone fill out?”
She nodded. “The application to date you?”
“Yeah.” She stared at me. I said: “Someone filled it out.”
“Are you shitting me?”
“Did he pay the $5?” We laughed and I shook my head. I said I waived the fee because I knew he had a job and didn’t have to prove it.
“Well?” She asked. “What do you know about him?”
“A lot actually. It’s a friend of mine.” And then I told her the story. I liked that he filled out the application not only because he passed, but because he was sort of showing a sense of humor and acknowledging that he’s interested in me. And maybe that the list I have is important. And I like that. I like that a lot. I asked Suki if she thought it was too soon for me to start dating. I don’t remember her exact words but it went something like “Tanya, if you want to date, date. You learned so much from your marriage and then Biff. If you want to date this guy, then do it. But first we need to get you some new pants because you have some serious droopy ass in those jeans. I think you might want to go a size smaller.”
So we went to Old Navy and she grabbed an assortment of clothes for me to try on. I purchased all of them.
At home, she looked at my garden, told me how to care for it, what to cut down. She looked at my foot (which has been hurting) and rubbed it and told me I should probably check with my doctor about it. She told me to stay strong and by god take my fucking watch off.
I’ve learned over the years that my sister is a smart cookie. She has her issues. I have mine. We’re completely different and don’t really have a lot in common. What we do have is a history and love and time. So when she tells something, I stop and listen to her.
I don’t know.
Suki is savvy. She knows stuff. She’s fierce. She’s beautiful. And she’s the only person that can get me to take off my watch and chill out for a while. I’m trying at least. I take the watch off occasionally...
It's a start.