My sister is a few years older a fact I never fail to drive home when her birthday hits—like those two years really matter. It’s not as if I’m not right behind her riding that same banana peel. Anyway, we had a contentious relationship growing up, like siblings do, I suppose. That’s not to say we never managed to have fun—between the bouts of bitch-slapping, hair-pulling, name-calling, crying and threats to ‘tell dad’ there were many a time we were co-conspirators in some failed scheme to outwit, outlast and outplay our parent’s uncanny intuition. Little did we know it wasn’t so much their intuition at play, as it was the memories of the crap they tried to pull on their own parents. Every generation believes they’ll re-invent the wheel.
So, much to our dismay, we shared a room. Sadly, we were long past our childhood days of shared secrets and that old double bed where we slept back to back each in patterned nightgowns, our long hair rolled in sponge curlers usually on the eve of a special occasion, or holiday. Alas, the warm fuzzies of sisterly consolation was replaced by potent stages of teen-angst. The year I didn’t care if I was killed by an avalanche of dirty clothes, was the year she flew into a tizzy at the sight of a tee shirt hanging off a door knob. When I finally grasped the usefulness of hangars, she decided tossing clothes on the floor had its merits. We drifted on this way for a bit, and though our sisterly affections could be called crotchety at best, it wasn’t entirely acrimonious until the night my sister tacked up a poster of The Bay City Rollers (and yes, these people exist).
For weeks those five dorks with their hairless chests, high-water plaid bell-bottoms and acne made my life a misery. Their pimply faces were the last thing I saw when I went to bed and the first thing I woke up to. I did try to suggest Sis move the Teen Beat centerfold pic to a less prominent place like maybe the trash. After all, her highness had relegated my drool-worthy poster of Bruce Springsteen to the inside of my closet door. Yet, I was expected to live with her sad choice of manhood everyday for the rest of my life, or until another unfortunate band of goons took her fancy. Her dictate was totally unreasonable, and I decided I wasn’t going to put up with the injustice of the situation anymore.
Had I known the dire consequences my actions would precipitate…
I would have done it sooner!
So, with malice in my heart, I applied my jumbo pink eraser to the clownish face of guitarist, Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood. Now, at the time, I did have mixed feelings about erasing his face…No, nope, that’s total BS. I enjoyed it so much, I put a hole through the poster. Satisfied with my handy-work, I waited for the eruption. It wasn’t long in coming either. I’ll be honest; her reaction was waaay worse than I expected. Between the f-bombs, threats on my life and (gasp) a menacing vow to shred my beloved Springsteen poster, she dismantled her side of the room. She removed the bed, her dresser, nightstand, clothes and hauled them down to the unfinished basement. That afternoon she created a lair amongst the aluminum shelves overflowing with ice-skates, snow-mobile boots, fishing gear, cross-country skis, holiday paraphernalia–all eerily illuminated by one lone light bulb swinging overhead. It had all the coziness of a Black Ops interrogation facility, but without the charm.
However, despite the dismal atmosphere, she was freakishly happy, and no one stopped her since the parents were at work. However, our mother, whom we dubbed Worst Case Scenario Suzie (that’s another story) cajoled, pleaded and threatened my sister with bodily harm, as well as dire consequences of ill health to no avail. Sis remained unmoved. If she died of pneumonia so be it—she vowed to never share another room with me…EVER! Our dad’s reaction was less explosive; he shrugged and went back to reading the paper. Eventually, he took pity on Sis and built a bedroom for her where she could smoke her cigarettes and listen to her music with impunity. Well, not total impunity. Our baby brother was a bit of a Narc—but that too, is another story.
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