This past Wednesday was my sister Sheri’s birthday. (I call her Sheki—long story. Happy Belated Birthday, Sheki!)
Sheri is two years older than me, and although we don’t see each other that often, when we do get together, we spend half the time laughing. It’s like no one gets the little “inside jokes” that she and I totally get. We sit there laughing, and everyone else looks at us like we’re crazy. It’s wonderful.
When we were growing up, though, our relationship wasn’t quite so friendly all the time. We sort-of had a love/hate relationship—which I’m sure is quite common in siblings who are so close in age.
We fought a lot because (as we were often told), we were very different from each other. Sheri was very careful with her possessions; I was very laid-back and—well—careless with stuff. Sheri was the painter/draw-er artist type; I was the writer. Sheri, being the older of the two of us, wanted to have authority over me. I didn’t like being told what to do. You can see it was a match made in heaven.
But despite all our bickering that I’m sure took place, I can only remember one time when the fight turned physical.
I was about 10 years old and, at the time, totally addicted to Atari video games. (My favorite games were Demon Attack and Dragonfire.) So I played all the time. And I mean ALL THE TIME. There was probably a permanent divot on the ground where I sat by the tv in our basement as I played.
So one day, Sheri got sick and tired of it. She came downstairs and demanded that I surrender my joystick so that she could play Atari. I said the 10-year-old equivalent of “hell no!” And she said in no uncertain terms that she was my older sister, and that I had to listen to her. I refused. The more I refused, the madder she got, and the madder she got, the madder I got. Pretty soon we started hitting each other.
Back and forth we slapped each other, and then I got in a really good hit. And by really good hit, I mean a really bad hit. She was holding her eye and crying out in pain. I panicked. Oh my God, what did I do?
Mom and Dad got involved, and they took Sheri to the hospital. Luckily, it wasn’t anything too major. As it turns out, I had smacked her so hard in her eye that her contact lens had gone way back in her eye, and they had to flush it out. I was just grateful that I didn’t hurt her worse than that.
I don’t remember fighting with Sheri too much after that. Maybe it was that we were both getting older and not getting into childish fights as much any more. Or maybe it was that we both realized we never wanted to get in a fight like that again.
Whatever the case, I know that when I saw my sister being rushed off to the hospital, I realized that I really did care about her, and I never wanted to see her get hurt.
And I still feel like that today. And I realize that I am lucky to have a sister who can now laugh about the fact that one time, I hit her hard enough to send her to the hospital.