Sisters

Everybody says your sister is supposed to be your best friend. I think that is a load of tosh.

I love my sister. Of course. I don’t want anything bad to happen to her. I just want the best for her and I want her to do well and be successful.

But we don’t get along very well, my sister and I.

I know she looks up to me. I am not being arrogant here. What I say to her really matters, she listens to my advice and tries to follow it. I see her following in my footsteps and she would never admit it in a million years but I know it.

She turns to me when she needs help, and nowadays, what with being married and living far away and having a tonne of new responsibilities and a job, I cannot always be there for her, I know she feels the bite of that.

Being a sister is being in a complicated relationship. Many sisters have it easy, they get along and find it so easy to express emotions to each other. My sister and I don’t. We never tell each other we love each other. But we show it in the way we begrudgingly make each other a cup of tea. Or in the way my sister tidies up the room we used to share when she knows I am coming home. Or in the way I will give her my jacket even though we quarrel abominably about giving each other our clothes.

My sister and I tell each other we hate each other. But I don’t hate her. She annoys me greatly and I know I annoy her like hell too but we don’t hate each other.

I might give my sister a cup of tea and she will smile at me and say, ‘I hate you.’

As children we got along relatively well. We played lots of imaginary games together and devoured the same books. I wouldn’t say we were inspired by the same people. In our early teens we had similar tastes in dress and music, but hers took a darker turn. We are similar, but also very very different. How can that be possible? I don’t know. People say we look nothing like each other. Together we can be quite

My sister is struggling in the early throes of adulthood. She can’t relinquish the child within her and she wears adulthood like an uncomfortable gown that her mother forced her to wear. She is unconfident and hesitant, but oh so desperate to be where she thinks she ought to be.

Her aspirations are low, much like mine were at that age. Her associates are weaklings whose words are louder than their actions, and she projects their opinions disguised as her own. And it breaks my heart when she does that because she thinks she is so right and everybody else is so wrong and she is just mindlessly crashing through life and one day, like me, she will wake up with so many regrets.

Silly little girl.

But I know my sister. She can be feisty and fiery. She can be confident. She just doesn’t know how. And she is spaced out and needs a lot of prompting. She will come to me to prod her every step of the way in everything that she does. She needs to be handheld and it is frustrating, given that she is nineteen years old.

But I love her.

A secret part of me might be jealous of her. I don’t know why. I certainly wouldn’t want to be her, but I might be a little jealous of what she could become. Maybe? I don’t know.

I am an insecure person. I push myself and push myself to my furthest limits because I don’t want anybody to surpass me. I am in competition with everybody, even my husband. Some would say it is unhealthy. Who knows.

Do you have a sister? What is your relationship with her like?

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All Families have Problems

Here is a fact: All families have problems.

The problem is, though, that problem is that I think I am emotionally – I am full of emotions. Things affect me more than they should, and I somehow become burdened with all my family’s problems and I can’t solve them but they just pile up in my brain and suddenly it is like the world is ending.

An emotional sponge, as it were. A hole in which all the bad feelings trickle into like shower water in a drain. And it just eats away at my system. Munch munch munch.

My mum says I am making it sound worse than it is. But to me it is worse. Than it is. My stomach constricts horrendously and I feel like I want to vomit my organs out. I get anxiety when men raise their voices. I don’t know why. It makes me terrified. I think it has something to do with the past abuse.

Also when my father used to have temper tantrums back in the day and throw things. He has curbed that. And is still trying to. He is only a human with weaknesses as we all are. But whenever a man raises his voice I am suddenly trapped and frightened.

Like today my husband yelled at his brother. I never hear my husband shout. He does not shout at me. He is only ever kind to me. Unless he is angry, in which case he is silent towards me. But today he shouted and I felt horrible even though he wasn’t shouting at me.

But the fact remains that all families have problems. And it isn’t always so bleak but it feels that way with mine. I feel very little happiness. From them. And I try to pour loads in but the end result is shrugging indifference. And bad moods hang around. And some people are unfair and there is very little compromise and it is just one person holding it all together and people don’t know how to communicate.

Some families are dysfunctional. I don’t think mine is. But they do fight a lot. And horrible words are flung around like nobody’s business.

But.

All families have problems.

It is normal.

 

 

Right?

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Sisters

‘I really like your watch Len can you give it to me?’

‘Um, no, it’s mine.’

‘You’re so selfish! I hate you.’

 

‘Ellie, honestly, you can borrow it sometimes maybe, but you can’t have it.’

‘Borrow it?! Huh. Like you’re ever here for me to borrow it.’

It’s true, I’m not, mostly because I always have to study/work, so I don’t see my real family much, even though they live like five minutes away. Is that horrible? I don’t know. I feel guilty now.

‘Ok’

‘You never let me borrow anything.’

‘Huh?! That’s not true, you wear all my clothes and ruin them with stains. Don’t even go there.’

‘You’re wearing my shoes right now, so you should give me your watch.’

‘YOU’RE WEARING MY SHOES TOO!!?!?!?’

-pause-

‘AND my jeans, Ellie, and that long T-shirt? Mine.’

‘So? I still want your watch.’

Actual real conversation I had with my sister this weekend.

 

First World Problems

“I’m coolldd!” my sister chattered after a shower, as she walked into the bedroom we used to share, a towel draped around her shoulders and reaching her wet knees.

She carried on complaining as she got into her clothes, her movements rickety and exaggerated.

I rolled my eyes.

“First world problems” I murmured.

She didn’t like that.

“Ok but it’s a genuine problem” she argued, “and so what if I’m not starving to death, I’m cold and I’m allowed to express it!”

“So get into bed then,” I said meanly, “other people can’t just get into their nice comfy beds with clean sheets and get warm, but you can!”

“I don’t want to get into bed.”

“Then stop complaining.”

 

We carried on like this (as we do), back and forth, back and forth. It wasn’t serious. It was lighthearted with an underlay of years of sisterly resentment.

Later on, after I’d scrubbed a few things and my sister ceremoniously broomed the kitchen floor, she was sitting on her bed and me on mine.

“I have the worst headache,” I told her.

“First world problems.” she was quick to say, folding her legs and scrolling down her phone. She glanced smugly up at me, as I got up to go to the bathroom.

“I know, right?” I said, “Thank goodness that’s the heaviest of my problems today.”

“At least you have a head!” she called out, as I shut the bathroom door.

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Naughty School Boy

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The Naughty School Children. By: Theophile Emmanuel Duverger

 

 

“Didn’t you iron your uniform?” I called out to my thirteen year old brother, as he dashed into the room and reached under the sofa to bring out two packets of crisps (good hiding place, bro), which he stuffed into his school bag before rushing to the door.

He paused when I said that, looking guilty, staring at the door as though wishing it would gulp him in and away from this interrogation.

Then he said,”Oh, yeah!” really quickly and without looking at me, before swooshing out, his un-ironed blazer whipping behind him.

My mum’s voice, from the kitchen, “WHY DIDN’T YOU IRON YOUR UNIFORM!?”

“Sorry”

“You’re LATE!”

“I know. Sorry!”

SLAM.

That was the front door.

 

On The Street

“They do three chocolates for a pound.”

“What? A pound?”

“Yeah you get three chocolates and you only pay a pound”

The little chubby boy scratched his head, and then cocked it to the side.

“Really? A pound? Where?”

My brother, tall and skinny and slight of frame, pointed somewhere to the left.

“Round the corner there,” he said. He shrugged his shoulders. His knees were jittering from side to side, he was keen to get his three chocolates for a pound.

“OK. You go and get me some, and I will wait here.”

“I’m going to get myself three chocolates from the shops.” My little brother glanced sheepishly at our house, then, “You wait here and play, okay?”

Then he was off, his long legs pumping, his fingers held together, straight over open palms as they sliced the air, trainers flying over the pavement. He was a whizzing blur past our window and he vanished in a flash.

When he came back into the house a few minutes later, panting, he told us a car crashed into a fence as he was walking past it, narrowly missing him.

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