The first thing that you need to know is that I have the greatest sister in the entire world. Sorry if you thought that you did. I’m sure your sister is perfectly adequate, but I promise you that mine is better.
Once when we were a younger we went to a market in New Mexico, and our parents bought us yarn dolls. This was long enough ago that I really don’t remember anything about that market. In fact, when I press my memory, I’m only marginally certain that we were in New Mexico. What I definitely remember is that my sister picked her doll first, and she picked the only pink one, leaving me with a yellow one. She has since told me that she thought there was another pink doll for me to have. I’m unsure if I believe her.
The significance of this story is that it is the first and last time that I can remember where my sister put herself before me. The important exception to this rule involves food. She is not willing to compromise when it comes to food. If I want to have pizza for dinner, but my sister has eaten pizza sometime in the last century, then the conversation is over. We’re not having pizza.
But aside from the doll and the food, my sister is the best.
My sister was 350 miles away and a sophomore in college when I took AP US History in eleventh grade. Every night before I had a test, I would call her up and read her the questions on my study guide. She would stay on the phone with me for as long as I needed, and she would answer the questions to perfection so that I could do well on my test without ever actually opening the book. It is because of her lessons that I will never forget that J.C. Calhoun was the War Hawk who wanted Canada.
On one particular bad day when my eighteen-year-old self was feeling exceptionally anti-social, I stood in Barnes and Noble in Des Moines and called my sister in Chicago, and asked her to walk to her nearest Barnes and Noble and ask an employee in what section I could find Sloane Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake. And she did it. She called me back shortly and explained that, although Crosley’s book is a collection of essays, it is kept in the humor section.
She makes me handmade cards for my half birthdays. I think that speaks for itself.
The second thing that you need to know is that I hate her. I didn’t always hate her. I visited her in California a few weeks ago for the Fourth of July, and it was then that I realized that she has everything that I want. It was shortly after I had this realization that I started to hate her.
Her apartment is way too small for her things. In fact, her room is the scariest place I have ever seen—and that’s saying something coming from me. But it is hers. It’s painted the color that she chose, and she has decorated it with all kinds of trinkets and pictures from the places she has been and the things she has done. Really, aside from the terrifying messy part of it, it’s quite cool.
She also has tons of stuff. Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly have my fair share of stuff, but my sister is no stuff-slacker, either. However, unlike me, who is constantly being separated from her stuff, my sister has most all of her stuff at her disposal 365 days a year. Also unlike me, my sister is able to buy her own stuff because she has a job that pays.
Essentially, it was while visiting my sister that I realized that while I’m trying to piece my life together, my sister has already done so and done so successfully. Such is the advantage of being a few years older. Such is the advantage of being the best. She’s always a couple of steps ahead.
Someday I will be like her. I will have a room with pictures and stuff that I purchased on my own. I will have a life that I have made. But, for now, someday seems forever in the distance. And until that someday seems a little bit closer, I will continue to hate her.