Mom says she always knew she would have daughters. I was her first and I enjoyed three years of silence before she announced your arrival. According to family testimony, I was excited, but looking back this reaction was driven by my loneliness. I blame the Full House reruns I’d pay half my attention to as I played with my Mellisa & Doug kitchen set and my avid fixation on Parent Trap. It all furthered my delusions about what sisters are. The inevitable truth was that with another baby in the house, my routine of eating, sleeping, and playing got disrupted by obnoxious cries from someone who refused to play Monopoly correctly.
Mom says I’m her first real love. I remember hugging her goodnight as she told me this for the first time, filled with pride because this meant that I beat you and Dad and I won her. This win was crushed when she told me love comes in different forms. A hard thing to stomach at eight years old, when all the attention is already shifting to accommodate you.
Mom says to have a sister is to have a mirror. But it’s a mirror that warps, diluting your image making it easy to pick apart any flaw that we both carry. Because even breathing can be picked apart when we have the same blood and the same heart, it’s hard to admit I love someone who’s everything I hate and everything I want for myself. But even then, that love is as natural. As the punches are thrown at each other, as you pull handfuls of hair out of my head, the “I hate you” turns to “I don’t know how to talk to you”—arguing until I cry because I can’t scream anymore. The loneliness I feel without you is so simple compared to the hurt, comfort, and happiness I feel with you.
Mom says that we shouldn’t hurry growing up. Even though I hated how young I was, how fat my cheeks were with youth. Now I sit and beg for the scraps of my childhood. Imagining the days of innocence and museum trips. And guess what? I’d rather the feeling of you kicking at my door asking me to play than the sound of you stopping. I realized that now I sit outside your door wanting to feel loved, wanting to play. I feel guilty about the universes I created on pen and paper, the ones I never wrote you into. The same universes took me away from you, far away till you got bored with waiting, till you got bored with the same loneliness I had those three years. I wish you knew how proud of you I am. I wish you knew I wanted to spend more of my life with you. And I wish Mom wasn’t always right.