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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Moment in Time.”

Ok, so I’m bending the rules a little bit. This isn’t the last photo I took and I didn’t even take it but it’s the most recent one with the best story.

It’s a photo of my sister and me while we were on holiday in Jamaica last year. It was taken at the Trident Resort in Portland. I did a blog post about this portion of the trip (you can read it here).

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When this photo was taken, we’d been on holiday for nearly three weeks, sharing hotel rooms, boat cabins, car trips, plane rides, food, drink and general personal space. We hadn’t spent that much time together since I still lived at home, maybe since I was 15 or 16 and she was 8 or 9. Actually, strike that. We’ve never spent that much time together. Even when we lived in the same house, we still had school to go to and different friends to hang out with. So to say it was a test of our relationship would be putting it mildly.

That being said, we had surprisingly few rocky points on the trip. We fought in Trinidad and didn’t speak for about a day (alcohol was involved). There was a tense moment when we checked into a hotel she’d picked that turned out to be crap, which she then admitted she’d never even checked out online and had picked solely based on nostalgia (although, to be fair, I did look at it online and it looked OK). But all up, things went pretty smoothly for such an intensely involved holiday.

Some context as to why this might be surprising. My sister was born 6.5 years after me. I was just getting used to being an only child when she rocked up and ruined the monopoly I had on my mother’s time and attention. As the younger sister, she annoyed me as only younger siblings can. When I was about 15 or 16, my family moved to a new house about a 15 – 20min walk away and I decided to stay in the old one… by myself… aside from my pot-head older step-brother and the occasional tenant. At 18, my mother sent me back to Australia to finish my studies and she didn’t follow with my sister until 3 or 4 years later.

So, not only were we separated by age but also by distance. We don’t have as many of the shared memories most sisters share. In fact, our childhoods were quite different. My mum always used to say, ‘Be nice to her, you’ll want to be her friend someday’. Well, mum was right (dammit, she usually is). When my sister moved back to Australia, she was around 15. By the time she was 17, she’d morphed into quite an interesting young woman, someone I wanted to get to know better. I asked myself how does one gain a teenager’s trust and respect?

Now this may cause some controversy but, in my case, by buying them alcohol when they can’t buy it themselves (18 is the drinking age here). We started going out together, with us getting her into clubs with her fake ID (poor role model, I know, but don’t worry she was already corrupted and doing this stuff with her friends). Eventually, she turned 18 and everything was no longer illicit and exciting but, by then, the relationship was forged in a furnace of drunken confessions and D&Ms (deep and meaningfuls, for the unsure and concerned). We were sister buds, the best kind of buds (most of the time) and although we still have our tiffs from time to time, we’re close enough to get over them (eventually).

We did have one major setback about six months before her 21st birthday. My partner and me had a holiday in the US and she asked me to bring her Lays chips, which we couldn’t get anymore. I failed in this task; my suitcase was too full and I couldn’t fit them in. I tried to appease her with makeup an aunt had given me, quite expensive and cool stuff, much of which would have suited her better than me. My sister, who has been know to be quite sensitive, stormed out of the room, defriended me on Facebook and didn’t speak to me for six months… until I won her back with a sisterly scrap book I put together for her 21st birthday. Which I may or may not have gate crashed as, technically, she still wasn’t talking to me then.

So yes… we’ve come a long way and our relationship is always changing and developing. She’s my ‘big little sis’ in many ways, if that makes sense to anyone except us. And, to me, this photo shows just how far we’ve come, from being two total strangers to sisters who can spend 3.5 weeks together and still enjoy one another’s company. 

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