From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

My Sister, My Enemy, My Friend

If your sister is in a tearing hurry to go out and cannot catch your eye, she’s wearing your best sweater.

Pam Brown

It is eerily ironic that two people who share the same genetic makeup can be so drastically different while sustaining such a mutual dislike of one another. Sure, we have the same plain, straight brown hair, freckled noses and bright blue eyes. However, apart from that, it seems we are two complete and total opposites, two sparring discordant mortals absurdly sharing the same mother and father. Until a few years ago, I thought there existed only one phrase to adequately describe the situation of my sister and me: dumb luck. Now that we’ve both grown a little, I realize we are much more alike than anyone ever knew, and our relationship has transformed into a bond deeper than any I’ll ever know.

I guess it’s just the way we were raised. We were always very competitive. She was successful at everything she attempted, and I was always five years behind, hopelessly trying to catch up. I resented her for her excessive achievements: the way she always won the science fairs, the way she always received such glowing report cards, the way she always exhibited such poise and self-control in her sophisticated, mature demeanor. Wildness and obnoxiousness were my claims to fame, and my sister bitterly despised my annoying quest to be the constant center of attention. Growing up, we had more than our share of fights. She would give me bruises, then buy my silence with a Barbie doll. At night, I would sneak in and steal her stuffed animals. For thirteen years, we were literally enemies next door, every day providing a new and devious battle in our quest to conquer one another.

As I became a teenager, the gulf between us grew, and that tumultuous year that she was a high-school senior and I had just entered the seventh grade became the most arduous trial I’m sure my parents have ever endured. She was afflicted with near-adult conceit and I was tortured by post-child insecurity. Between the two of us, enough screaming and hair-pulling occurred to scar anyone for life. We both strived for the attention of our parents yet we both pushed it away, competing in a sport where neither of us knew the rules or even where the finish line was. To keep the peace, we became mutes in each other’s presence. Acknowledging the tension but savoring the silence, we tried to avoid each other altogether and became absorbed in other activities to stay away from home. We were like two warring armies building a wall to temporarily stave off battle.

I don’t really know exactly what happened that caused us to come together. There isn’t one particular incident or event that sparked our reconciliation, just a process that slowly unfolded as she developed a life away at college and I developed my own life in high school. Maybe it was that we both matured, or that we finally reached a point where five years didn’t make such a big difference in our ages. I’m not really sure, nor do I care. Ironically, now she’s the only one with whom I share all my secrets, all my insecurities and all my most fervent dreams. She laughs at my unwavering, silly, boy infatuations, and helped me cry over my first broken heart. We’ve spent many a night discussing life, expectations, our parents and even God. It turns out that although our actions are incredibly different, our thoughts are remarkably the same. We are both afraid of failure. We are both afraid to be alone.

My sister is neither the enemy nor simply just another human being. She is a woman, a loyal companion and ultimately a part of me. She knows my life better than any other person in this world, and she has accepted me, weaknesses and all. Sometimes we laugh at the way we used to act and reminisce about the evil pranks we used to play on each other. There is an intangible bond that binds us together. Unfortunately, we didn’t discover it until we lived apart. We are two souls sharing the same heart and forever holding hands.

Allison Thorp

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