Tuesday, October 31, 2006

surrogate sis

I consider myself a pretty damn good big sister. Some of you may protest that perhaps conning my sis into taking on a position as my Personal Assistant may not exactly be the nicest thing a sister could do, but that's one minor transgression in a sea of good deeds. Besides, she's poor, and I'm paying her.

My sister and I are only thirteen months apart. Our closeness in age caused no small amount of vicious fighting throughout our entire childhood and adolescence. Who stole whose clothes, who lost their virginity in the other one's bed, who hogs the phone and the internet, who ate all the ice cream, etc. There was screaming, things were thrown, we were often left with scratch marks and bruises after being pulled off of each other.

Even when I moved away to college, we still couldn't spend more than a weekend in the same house without screaming at each other. I didn't come home very often after my freshman year, and although she was still living at home she wasn't around much when I was there. We rarely talked and when we did it was for a practical purpose. I guess we didn't really think we had much in common.

Then Katrina hit. To make a long story short, she stayed with me for two months, living on an air mattress in my dining room. We had to learn to act like grown-ups, to be polite to each other, to support each other through a time that was stressful for all of us. I got her a job at the place where I was waitressing and shared my car with her until she could get a new one, she cleaned up after herself and tried her best to be polite and considerate in close quarters. We helped each other out and tried hard to get along, because it was the only thing to do.

We're so much closer now. She moved back to my parents' house for about six months, but is now living back in Baton Rouge, right down the street from me. We do stuff together and hang out with some of the same people. Her boyfriend and mine are friends. When she dropped by the Halloween party I went to on Saturday, I brought her around to everybody asking if they'd met "my beautiful sister." She calls me for my opinion on whether she should skip class because it's raining, or give away her shift to go hang out with her boyfriend. I call her to feed my rabbit or get my oil changed when I have way too much to do. We depend on each other. We're nice to each other. I like it.

So today, a good friend of mine's younger sibling needs her big sister. Her sis, unfortunately, lives in Alabama and isn't here to give her baby sister a hug to help her through her first big breakup. So I called her up, and I'm taking her to dinner tonight, just like I would for my own dear sister. Because that's what big sisters are for.

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