Something about sisters
To you women, who are reading me today, let me begin by telling you: if you do not have a sister, then you are missing out on one of the best relationships a woman can have. A sister is not only a sister; for better or worse, she is a companion, a friend, a witness of your triumphs and losses.
My own sister came into my life when I was almost four. I can say now, with absolute certainty, that, as I recall from those days, we swung from deep love to bitter, implacable hatred in a matter of seconds. I don’t think there ever were any in-between feelings at the time. We would play together one minute and the next we would pull each other’s hair with all our strength.
As we grew older and I reached adolescence, we jumped into a kind of intimacy from which we never returned. Long nights lying in bed telling her about my latest crush, my first kiss, what it was that I was actually doing when I told mom and dad that I would be sleeping over at Barb’s. A new world was unfolding before us: me in the flesh, her through my eyes. This positive aspect is, however, outshined by the fact that I behaved just the opposite in public. I would take absolutely no notice of her whatsoever, I’d segregate her from my friends, pretend I didn’t see her when we left school, or even when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her walking right behind me and my friends on the way back from school. I would do this to her, my sister, the very same person who the same night would probably be sitting in bed with me, hearing all about my affairs, with sparkling eyes, attentively listening to me, dazzled.
It was only natural, I presume, just as much as the fact that there has always existed a tacit sense of competition between me and her. Being the elder sister, I have always felt compelled to act as her guardian and role model. So I felt proud whenever she would emulate my actions, just as long as her grades weren’t higher than mine, or her looks better, or her personality friendlier. Of course, I lost the battle many times, but for me it only meant I had to try harder.
Now, being grown-ups, battles continue and the same love-hate dichotomy persists. Only now, the wounds are more hurtful. The intimacy that once led us into closeness has made us vulnerable; she knows my weaknesses and I, hers, and oh, have we exploited them. But we keep forgiving each other, even the things we wouldn’t forgive to anyone else.
Sisterhood is such a funny bond, really. I don’t think my sister and I would have chosen each other as friends, had we not been born sisters — we are so different — . But we did share the same womb, after all, which is not a minor detail. In fact, it’s such a magical coincidence when one comes to think about it.