It took a while to become best friends with my sister. Our youth was filled with hair pulling, door slamming and many middle fingers. Granted, I was (and still am) an annoying little sister, but she was (and still is) a bitch. Don’t think she’s gonna read this and feel bad. She knows she’s a bitch, we talk about it a lot, because we talk at least four times a day. Plus she already read this.
Of all her traits, I think her bitch factor is the most endearing, important, and critical part of her fiber. It has saved my ass several times and has gotten me to the front of many lines.
I’ve always admired my sister. She has so many qualities I lack. She’s brave. She’s not emotional. She’s pragmatic. She’s unapologetic. She just does and doesn’t need to consult anyone or get opinions, because frankly, she doesn’t care what your opinion is. If she makes a bad decision, she always finds a way to fix it without anyone else’s help. I have to get a poll, call everyone in my phone, consult a therapist, and then get a test market together before I act, because I don’t ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Granted if you hurt me, or someone I love, you can guarantee I’ll send you a letter or write about it publically someday.
I forgive too easily. She never forgives. I am warm and friendly. I’ll let anyone in. She’s cold and standoffish. She only lets a few in.
My sister volunteers for everything and speaks so infrequently of herself that people around her don’t even know what she does for a living, or that she has a full-time job. She works her ass off. She runs marathons and races and has hundreds of medals, but only talks about it when she’s encouraging others to run. She’s humble, but she’s also annoyingly loud-like deafening. She steals microphones at weddings and will sing, even though she can’t carry a tune. I can sing. She can’t. She thinks that her loudness makes her funny. She’s not funny. Like maybe once in a while, she’ll say something funny, but most of her comedy is physical or a result of an embarrassing situation that I’m the star of. She thinks it’s hysterical that I get myself into humiliating situations. She’s always been a rebel, I’ve always been afraid to rebel, but want so badly to get into a bar fight.
Under all her toughness, there’s a soft vulnerable spot that only a few have seen.
We’ve come a long way together, and as I look back on all we’ve been through and all that is ahead, I can point to the things that made us grow closer, helped us understand and appreciate our differences and made us love each other deeper than can be explained. Some of these things have literally made us pee our pants too...
Kelly, since you can’t remember a damn thing, this list will be good for posterity and accuracy as we grow old and I become your caretaker. I’ve written it like I’m talking to you, so when I read aloud you’ll understand you were there as one of the main characters, but not the funny character, the bitch character.
SWEARING ON A STUMP
We won’t name names, but remember when “what’s her face” was beating you up in the snow because she wanted your saucer? I felt helpless. I wish I would have been brave enough to tackle her in the snow, but instead I climbed up on a giant stump and shouted out every cuss word in the book until mom came and spanked the crap out of me. At least “what’s her face” stopped kicking the shit out of you. This is when I learned words could change the world, especially dirty words. I also learned that I have uncontrollable rage when it comes to someone hurting people I love; especially my fucking sister!
THE PENIS LIGHT SWITCH
There it was in Mrs. Kempf’s den- the penis light switch; an outline of a naked man, with the switch taking the place of his anatomy. We both saw it on the wall. We couldn’t believe it. How could this 178 year old woman we mooch stale cookies off of have a penis light switch?! Did she buy it? Was it a gift? Did her church friends think it was funny? Why did she put it in such a prevalent spot; such a high-traffic room? Whatever her reasons, we made more visits to Mrs. Kempf’s. This is when I learned, we have a sick sense of humor and I laugh with you like no one else on Earth, especially about penis stuff, and farts, and boogers, and periods, and boobs, and anything that twelve year olds think is funny.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
You would hop the fence and run to Tammy Johnson’s with me trialing behind. It was 4 p.m., time to raid the jar of Hershey kisses in the kitchen, lick them, and smear chocolate all over our faces while the theme song for the Addams Family played. This is when I learned, we didn’t have to have a reason to do something insane together, and that no matter what, we’re up for anything that starts traditions.
R-E-A-D-Y (That spells READY!)
Our song: “R-E-A-D-Y, that spells READY! We’re ready.” Mom and dad said they would come tuck us in. We would lay for what seemed like hours and eventually developed the READY song to let those jerks know we were ready to get tucked in. I don’t recall them ever owning up to their end of the deal. I do however remember getting tired of singing the damn READY song and then you suggesting I tickle your arm while we wait. The deal was I would tickle your arm until mom and dad came to tuck us in, and then it would be my turn. The problem was they never came and I never got my arm tickled. The even bigger problem was this happened every night. This is when I learned, you are a crafty bitch and I am a sucker.
Why we watched Poltergeist at such a young age, I’ll never know. What I do know is that we had those horrifying life-size clowns, a closet right next to my bed, and a window above my head with a satanic possessed tree right outside. After begging, crying, and pleading with you to switch beds, you finally succumbed, with the condition that I tickle your arm every night. This is when I learned you really would do anything to make me shut up, but there would always be fine print applied.
KICK YOUR BUTT BECKY
Where is she?! For one summer, we shared a wonderful friend; Kick Your Butt Becky. She would run and her legs were so long, they would kick up and nearly hit her butt. We played spaceship rock. We stole neighbor’s flowers. We watched Mommy Dearest and you puked in the green bowl. We made maps and went on treasure hunts around the neighborhood and then she was gone. We’re still looking for her. This is when I learned, we could share friends; that you would have best friends and I would have best friends, but being sisters was God’s gift to us. Friends have come and gone as our friendship has grown stronger.
THE KAYAK RESCUE
What do you do when you’re in a raft with your sister and you get wedged perfectly between two boulders with raging rapids pouring in? If you’re me, you sit and cry and pray and hope someone comes to rescue you. If you’re you, you pin yourself up against the rock and the current, and bail the boat out. A kayaker eventually rescued us, but my participation is still shameful. This is when I learned you are the strongest person I know and that nothing happens in life if you sit on your ass and cry when the water starts to rise.
SLEEPING WITH A WEDDING DRESS
You broke my toasting glasses on the day of my wedding. I accidentally used your wedding dress as a comforter, after too many glasses of wine, on the night before yours. This is when I learned that no matter what, every single slip up makes for a good story; as long as we forgive each other.
Never have I seen you cry with as much joy and surprise as when Kate was born. This is when I learned that I’m right about how you feel, even when you’re too stubborn to admit or show it.
OPENING THE CURTAINS
IT’S NOT FARTS
So, it wasn’t farts, it was an appendicitis and maybe I didn’t wear underwear that day. Either way, you dropped everything and came to the ER (not with underwear). You are always the one that plans, prepares, shows up, and does the practical thing; so I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU DIDN’T BRING ME SOME GOD DAMN UNDERWEAR?! This is when I learned, that it really IS important to wear underwear every day. I didn’t learn anything from you in this situation. Not. A. Thing.
There’s more, Kelly, but we’ll save that for the book…
I thank God for my sister. With one look we understand. We have a language of our own. We have busy lives, but we talk at least a few times a day. It usually starts with, "Whattaya got?" And then one of us says, "Nothing". Then there is big pause and someone chimes in with, "Well, I still have that zit on my nose." or "We finally got a goddamn Starbucks in this town." or "I can't stand stink bugs." or "Can anyone in your house pick up a damn thing?" or "I'll tell you right now, I'm done with work." or "You're not gonna believe this one..."
Whatever we talk about doesn't really matter. All I know is that God gave me a sister and I don't know what I'd do without her.
Love you Smelly Kelly.