Tomorrow afternoon notes boards a plane for Saskatchewan. Battleford Saskatchewan to be precise, home to my mother and marginally older sister. Growing up we were “the sisters” – born 10 months apart in the same year, two people who couldn’t have been more different. Family is complicated, two sisters born the same year, thrust into one whether they liked it or not proved excruciating. Leaving home eradicated “the sisters”, forget drifting apart – we bolted in opposite directions. Decades passed, barely speaking to each other, years of judgement and mistrust with sporadic sprinklings of obligatory niceties.
Can’t say why I dialed her number, we hadn’t spoken in several years. All I knew was suddenly it mattered. Suggestion I was about to meet my best friend would have produced a “shut the f**k up”. We had nothing in common, let alone hope of setting assumptions aside long enough to hear each others voice – couldn’t have been more mistaken if I tried. Our lives changed that day, we heard each other for the first time and liked what we saw.
I fly away with giddy anticipation, tomorrow promises precious time with my curiously peculiar sister. We’ll dance, call bullshit and howl at the moon. She’ll indulge my affinity for the stars, and I hers for wine and sewing dance costumes. We’ll bemoan lost time and embrace whatever trouble our proximity evokes. We won’t squander our time together, although I must remember to apologize in advance to her infinitely patient husband. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, know I’m well and having the time of my life.
Trouble doesn’t necessarily mean “trouble”, it can mean sit down and enjoy the ride, hold onto your hat because the wind is picking up, or holy crap – this is unexpected. Trouble can mean the start of a very good day; a bat shit crazy day of wild abandon – troublesome only for those who reluctantly find themselves in a ring side seat.
I knew it was trouble when I booked a flight to visit my sister in a few weeks. It isn’t that I’m trouble or she’s trouble; the truth is – we’re trouble. We don’t mean to raise our families eyebrows or make too much noise at 3 AM – we just do, we can’t help ourselves. We are polite middle aged women who inexplicably turn into giggling morons if left alone too long. We dance, call bullshit on each other and collapse on the floor in fits of laughter.
This may not sound like trouble, yet assure you it’s troublesome to those in our path; we become idiots for reasons only we understand. In all honesty, we can’t understand what happens; what’s important is – it doesn’t matter.
I’m the little sister by ten months – she wasn’t even walking when I was born. If I was oil, she was water; two people couldn’t have been more different. We started school the same year, were known as the “sisters” and secretly loathed each others presence. We were always fighting or competing; she – outgoing, me – painfully quiet and shy. We drifted apart to the point of not even speaking to each other for years.
I couldn’t pin point the moment our lives changed; the moment we opened our eyes and looked at each other again. All I know is she’s trouble; the kind of trouble that makes me feel young and stupid, the kind of trouble that leaves us feeling sheepish as we apologize for disturbances in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t know who’s crazier, nor does it matter. Life is over in the blink of an eye; pondering irrelevant details is a waste of time – I’m perfectly content knowing trouble’s name is “sister”. Somehow, a week with her makes all my troubles go away.