A letter to my sister on her birthday

Dear Maria,

It feels like yesterday when we’d fight and argue over cereal boxes. I liked the coco pops, it came in a yellow box that had a cheeky looking monkey and you liked frosties – it was the one in a blue box with a tiger. Secretly you also loved coco pops. But, you were older and according to mum you knew better. Or should’ve known better than to argue with a child; so I got the coco pops.

But you see, sometimes the people over at Kellogg’s were not fair in the packing. The cereals came in a pack of 8, mini boxes of course, and they were side by side; so each side had four. It was pretty simple for us; I, the kid, got the side with the coco pops: you had to deal with the normal cornflakes and maybe rice crispies, ocassionally. And it was all because mum said. And we both know when mum said it was final not even dad could intervene. Now those guys over at Kellogg’s maybe knew of this arrangement and more times than not they would pack both coco pops and Frosties on the same side and so by law, I owned Frosties. You hated this, you tried to contest it, but you had a curse – the big sister. First born. And so with that, the world did not care. Mum did not care. I did not care. Besides it was not my fault that you did not enjoy all the trappings of an only child for the 3 years you had free reign.

I only let you win when it came to weetabix, god knows I hated it, that and porridge. Also there’s that incident where Beth, the help at that time, accidentally put her hand in my weetabix. She didn’t want to admit it and mum blew up a storm. You know how her voice gets high pitched and you can see her squinting behind her glasses? I was maybe four but I knew better. So I ate it, all of it. But hey, I didn’t get sick so maybe she was right or maybe she also scared the germs into sterility.

Most of our childhood was a competition, okay maybe not so much. I always won. So most of (y)our childhood was unfair, I guess I learnt quick that nothing is handed to you until you throw a tantrum and play on mum’s good side. And I can still do that, even now, with the beard and whisky bruised voice. Did I tell you about the first time I told her I drink? You should’ve seen her face, it’s not the same face she has now when she offers to buy a cold one or asks me for a bottle of red. Christmas she says. Lol. You taught her reds I’m guessing? Don’t spoil mum,  not yet.

Look at me drifting, where were we? Ah yes, me, winning. I can’t say I am sorry for being the little brother. You must have known that it was bound to happen. That’s what little brothers do, they come all cute and cuddly. Smiling at all and nary making cooing sounds and steal your limelight. Also I was a baby so by default I got all the attention and you got the chores. But all that notwithstanding, you were still big siz and once in a while I let you have a coco pop.

But then you caught on fast, realized that I’m better off as an ally. Dad was alright in getting things done but mum had veto powers. One word from her and things would go back to the store even with no refund. Like that time I got chocolate behind her back after she had clearly said no and she took it and kept it in a cupboard until it expired. I don’t even remember what brand it was but I don’t see them anymore, all I remember is it was orange flavored. Sigh. I don’t recall you calling a cease fire I just remember you asking me to ask mum for things. Like if you wanted wimpy instead of pizza or pizza instead of wimpy. You knew it didn’t matter to me as long as I could have a milkshake with my order. Also when you wanted that bubble gum flavored toothpaste we’d eat at night pretending to brush you’d tell me to ‘talk’ to mum.

Then we grew up and each took to their own. You’ve always been the extroverted being, people don’t miss you in a room. You fill it with laughter and sometimes it gets too much it suffocates me and I walk out. When we’re in the same room I’m not me anymore I am your quiet brother. Why is he quiet? Is he sick? It gets boring hearing that. No offence though. I’m the quiet one in this relationship, pensive and always thinking. I’ve embraced that, here, with words is where that part of you comes out in me. So it’s cool. Emotionally I am distant, but you’re my sister and you can’t break up with me. I think you might have tried though, just a hunch. And when I barely react to the many times you say or text “I love you” or when I respond with “cool” or “sawa” or stand there with my arms to my side when you hug me and opt for a fist bump it’s assuring to know your enthusiasm never dies. And the beauty in it all is even if I don’t say the stuff you say you know I don’t have to. I’m there when I’m needed and that’s what counts yes?

Also there’s this thing where everywhere I go people say you’re the spitting image of me. Or is it that I’m the spitting image of you? Semantics. You have no idea how many times I’ve gone to some place and a random person asked “Are you Maria’s Bro?” And I’d just smile and nod because most of the times they were hot, really hot ladies. Like the one at 360. Then I would deal with the “Oh my God mnafanana” and I’d have to hold back my snappy remarks. And purse my lips and flash a cute face and act like I had no idea we looked alike. Like they’re telling me the latest gossip or just broken news and now my life has changed lol. Then I figure it’s just excitement. Seeing someone they’ve only heard about, and you know the way you hype it like I’m some celeb somewhere. Kind of like what mum does with her church friends. She playing though, one day I will show up with half a bottle of Jack D in one hand and a pierced nose. I kid. About the nose. God knows I always have a whisky somewhere lying around. But I guess it’s a good thing. Having people believing in you’re than you believe in yourself is a blessing. And on that note let me sneak in Rachel too. You guys are the bomb. Lunch on Maria’s tab but we can all pretend it’s on me. Hehe

And today is your birthday. I’m afraid if I keep writing you will spend the whole day reading and not have any fun. So have a good one siz.

Your Bro.

image
See the coco pops next to the frosties? It was never my fault.
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