Family Matters

These summer nights

I am seventeen years old.

My hair is very long, and its natural chestnut brown fights a never-ending battle against the bottle red I desperately want to be.

My sister is fifteen years old.

She also has long hair, much thicker than mine, into which the sun has burnt beautiful blond streaks, evenly, so that it reflects both a silver and gold shine under the street lamps, at night.

It is the last week of May, and the time of day is so late that it is now in fact early, and I am not sleeping.  I haven’t slept properly is many weeks.

To keep the insomnia madness at bay, I am reading in bed, curled tightly around myself, like a croissant.  My bedroom door slowly opens, and Jessi tiptoes into my room.  She is wearing tight jeans and a man’s dress shirt, oversized on her tiny frame.

Tonight her hair sits tucked under a stained trucker hat that she insists on wearing, and indeed loving.

She looks stunning.

“Let’s go for a drive,” she says, as she crawls over my blankets to lie down next to me.  I close my book and turn over, facing her.

“Where do you want to go?” I ask.

“I don’t care.”  Jessi pauses as she snuggles down into one of my pillows.  She rubs her face aggressively into it, like a cat.  “How about the airport?”

“Sure,” I say.  The airport is a good choice.  It means highway speeds and the opportunity to gawk at the perverse grandeur of the wealthiest neighbourhood in Vancouver.

I sit up and put on my glasses; lean over and pick up the sweater lying on the floor next to the bed.

“What are you reading?” Jessi asks.  She gets up and walks over to my closet, absentmindedly flipping through shirts and skirts.

“Dracula,” I respond.  After I put on my sweater, I pick up the book and offer it to her.  She shakes her head.

“Is it good?”

“Yes,” I tell her.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes,” I say.  Come on, let’s go get the spare set of keys.”

The warm, wet air whips around the car as we trace the lines of the Fraser River.  Jessi has her feet pressed up against the glove box, her knees scrunched up under her chin.  Tiffany blasts from the CD player and she and I sing as loud as we can, belting out the lyrics with a zealous, almost manic energy.

“OHHHHH, I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW.”

I know the words much better than she.  She mumbles her way through the bits she is unsure of, only to sing twice as loud during the chorus. I call that “pulling a Mr. Bean.”

“It’s not that I don’t know the lyrics,” she tells me as she shifts herself around in her seat, tilting her face up, so she can meet the rushing night winds and the rushing night, head on.  “I just like mine better.”

She cracks herself up.

It is in these moments that I feel what can only be described as complete love for my sister.  I want to wrap up my soul with hers and drive on, keep moving past the trees, mountains, water, and stars, until we might float up and away.  Away from our earthly bodies, gravity-bound, held down.

Growing up, our mother would always tell us the story of how when we were small, she visited a psychic with a friend.  The first thing the woman told her during her reading was that she had borne twin girls.  When my mother told her no, the woman was confused.  Instead of continuing with the reading, the woman reiterated her previous statement.  In response, my mother stated that she had three girls.  Her two younger daughters, born two years apart, almost two years to the day, who were birthed at the same hospital, on the same floor, in the same room, assisted by the same doctor.  The psychic nodded and smiled. She now understood.  These were her twins of which she had spoken. 

We were her twins. 

One of us had just waited a little longer to come out and play.

As we pull up to the international departures drop-off, I look over at my twin, a girl sewn up in a beauty intricate and rare, bronze skin, eyes of onyx, fingernails of jade, and all I want to do is tell her that I love her.

She looks at me, smiling, her voice feverish.

“I never want to go to school again,” she says.  “I wish we could just do this forever.”

I put the car in first gear; slowly ease my right foot off of the clutch, while gently lowering my right onto the gas.  I look at her and smile back.

“Where to next?”

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20 thoughts on “These summer nights

  1. I just finished Dracula, and I loved it! I am also a brunette desperately trying to be ginger becsuse it’s awesome. And I have a little sister I love so dearly three years, and this story makes me miss her being a bedroom away instead of over a hundred. Beautiful post!

    1. Isn’t it a great book? I’ve always loved it. :)

      Gingers are definitely awesome, but of late, I’ve really started to re-embrace my dark roots (no pun intended!)

      And thank you so much. It’s so awesome to hear about other sisterly bonds.

  2. I haven’t commented in some time now but I’ve truly continued to enjoy you and your posts.
    Growing up with two older brothers, I cannot say I know the closeness of which you speak about a sister. Sometimes I wish I had had that experience. However being the youngest, and only girl, taught me many other things; it taught me determination, a special way of communication, imagination. But I never had the companionship of those I talk to with sisters.
    I admire how much you love her and pray your relationship grows ever deeper!

    1. Dearest Rachel, your comments always make me smile! My sisters truly are two of the most important people in my life and I couldn’t imagine where I would be without them. It sounds like you too have a special relationship with your brothers. :)

      Thank you for your kinds words. Wishing you the best for the week! (Also – that photo of you is just stunning!)

  3. I don’t have a sister, only a brother who’s 5 years younger. Somehow, I envy you. My brother and I, we’re not super close, we often fight and tease each other a lot. I guess that’s how we show our affections to each other, in a twisted sort of way. Maybe it’s the age gap or something. It’s great to see siblings who deeply care for each other and don’t just fight or tease each other a lot. I mean, really bond. Unlike my brother and I, lol. But I love him, even if he’s a pain in the ass (most of the time). :D

    1. What a lovely comment! Although I would be remiss to say that I have never fought with my sister (or sisters!) We are all fiery individuals, and certainly have had our share of rows over time.

      I think it’s obvious that you and your bro care about each other, and your relationship will probably evolve and deepen over time – I know mine has!

      Thanks again for stopping by and your kind words. :)

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