My Best FriendFriendship is fragile, and sometimes there are horrifying moments. I remember the time Rebecca almost drowned. Soaking in the sun while laying across a lawn chair, I saw an empty floatie just lying on top of the water. Underneath the floatie was a small head of dark brown hair. I screamed and pointed. My aunt, in her jeans, jumped in the pool and picked my sister out of the water. We rushed over to my then two-year-old sister who announced with a big grin that she had fallen out of her floatie. Laughing and smothering her with kisses, there was a shared sense of relief. That little fishy survived and continues to survive throughout the crazy things that she and I have done together. With only three years standing between us, we are best friends.
Being best friends has not prevented me from taking advantage of her from time to time. I guess a desire for superiority just comes with being the older sister. When we were younger, we used to play a lot of imaginary games. One of my favorites was called “Queen.” It involved building me a throne and having Rebecca wait on me as my servant. We would stack the olive green couch cushions on top of each other, pile my parents’ pillows on top of that, and add all the blankets we could find. The throne faced the television, and when I had grown tired of making her plump my pillows and tell me endless made-up gossip, I would pick a movie. She had to sit on the floor because there were no cushions left on the couch. After the movie was over, part of her job was to put back all the pillows. However, as the gracious Queen, I usually helped her put back the heavier pillows.
While I have definitely taken advantage of Rebecca, I also admire her. She has a bigger vocabulary than I will ever have. As a third grader, she would show off her vocabulary using words like “lackadaisical.” I had no idea what that meant. I would pretend that I knew, rather than letting her show me up. The other day, the subject of her vocabulary came up, but I couldn’t remember the word “lackadaisical.” So, I asked Rebecca, “What was that word that you used to say, and I would pretend I knew, but really didn’t?” She knew what I was talking about right away. The two of us are so close that we can laugh about the past, and many of our memories are intertwined.
Rebecca and I have spent endless hours playing dress up and pretending to be stowaways on a ship, living on a houseboat, and camping on the prairie. Many of these ideas came from books that I had read. In one of our favorite books, All of a Kind Family, the two youngest sisters sneak candy into their room and eat it under the covers after bedtime. One night, Rebecca wanted to copy that idea from the book, so I agreed. Later, we had to cover the wrappers in wads of tissues so that no one would know that we had taken candy into our room. I went along with Rebecca’s scheme just to make her happy.
While we still spend lots of time together, we no longer share a room. We each want our own space. When we did share a room, I was always coming up with schemes to split it up. I think that after hearing my plan, my parents decided that it was necessary for us to have separate rooms. The plan was to divide the bubble gum pink room up with masking tape. If either of us went on the other person’s side, she had to pay the other person an entire nickel. We slept on a white, Pottery Barn bunk bed, and because I slept up top, my side of the room would have included the ladder, the door, the closet, and the dresser. I reasoned that I should get the dresser because it was in my room in the last house that we had lived in. Also, the closet door handles matched the color of the room, which I picked, so obviously I deserved the closet, too. I generously gave Rebecca the nightstand.
Today, our rooms look very different. My room is light periwinkle. Her room is lime green, which is emphasized by her neon pink curtains. On my walls hang Norman Rockwell and John Singer Sargent posters. Rebecca’s walls show off dozens of pictures of pandas. The doorknobs on her closet still match the old paint, and they stand out against all new, bright colors.
Rooms are not the only things we have shared. The Torah portion that Rebecca will read on the day that she becomes a Bat Mitzvah is the same one that I read three years earlier. Given that there are fifty-four different torah portions, this is rather uncanny. I offered to teach her the Hebrew, but she claimed that my doing so would be too much of a hassle. I know the real reason; she wants to be her own person, and I love her for it.
[TABLE OF CONTENTS, LHS CLASS OF 2009 EDITION]
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