My sister: Are we going to go see Harry Potter together?
Me: Um, DUH.
My sister and I have a complicated relationship. It is not the typical sisterly bond, full of sharing clothes and whispering secrets and giggling over boys although, let's face it, when have I EVER giggled over boys? She was born four years after me but, because of a learning disability and my propensity to act like a 50-year-old as a child (I'm aging backwards), the age gap always seems bigger.
We are completely different. While I'm reserved and would never approach a stranger, Mindy would approach anyone, didn't matter who, and BOOM instant BFFs. I always envied this quality, since it takes me so long to warm up to people, but her ability also scared me. What if someone took advantage of her? She's so trusting and kids, hell, ADULTS, can be cruel. I saw evidence of that time and time again. And time and time again, I'd yell at the offender or kick him in the balls (true story) or hit him in the head with a dictionary (also true story) because fuck them, you know?
The time came, however, when I couldn't kick the world in the balls anymore, not without getting arrested anyway, but believe me, I've often wished I could. Mindy has always had it harder than me. Always. I never had to try hard in school. I was lazy, I never studied, and I still managed good grades, but my sister didn't have that luxury. And not only that, she had to put up with dickhead kids making fun of her, kids that would send her home so upset over something they'd said to her.
Once she came home from school and picked a fight with me, over nothing really, and, completely bewildered, I was all, "what is UP with you?" and that's when she burst into tears, yell-cried, "why are kids so mean to me?" and broke my heart into a billion tiny pieces. It breaks all over again whenever I think of that moment. I can see us there, standing in my parents' kitchen, her, red-faced and crying and me, fists balled at my sides, so helpless, white-hot rage coursing through my veins with nowhere to go. Since I could no longer kick the offenders in the balls, especially since most of them didn't even HAVE balls, all I could do was hug her and tell her it would be alright, hoping that I wasn't a liar. I wish I could time travel, go back to that moment, and tell that little girl that she is better than all those stupid kids, better than me, better than everyone. She deserves to hear that, then and now and always.
That's not to say we didn't fight because OH DID WE FIGHT. We used to get in epic battles over the silliest things. The remote. The recliner. My possessions that would somehow sneak from my room into hers. We once ripped her door off of its hinges during a fierce argument over...I don't know what. She broke an umbrella over my head. I cracked a porcelain alligator over hers. She once poured a glass of water in my lap because I had stolen her seat when she went to the bathroom.
It took a while for this to sink in, but one day I realized that Mindy fights with me and my mom and my dad because she can't fight the rest of the world all the time. She can fight with us and we'll still be there. We'll still love her.
There's an episode of Sports Night where Dana's brother does something stupid, I can't remember exactly what, but I want to say it had something to do with taking steroids. And Dana is PISSED, rightly so, because dude, that's stupid. And as she's ranting and raving, Casey tells her to calm down. He tells her that everyone, coaches and parents and fans alike, is going to be coming down hard on her brother for what he did, and that he needs someone to be on his side. No matter what.
I try to be that person for my sister, but it took me a long time to get there. If she's acting like a shit (which happens a lot, right, Mindy?) or getting bent out of shape about something silly, I take a deep breath and distract her from whatever's bothering her. I tell a stupid joke and try to make her laugh instead of yell or roll her eyes instead of cry. This is not to say I'm perfect. I still snap at her when I should be gentler. But I'm learning. And when she's fighting the world and the world fights back, I try to be on her side, even if I'm the only one.
There are very few movies my sister and I both like, but we always see Harry Potter together, ever since The Sorcerer's Stone. I buy tickets early for a showing on the Friday it opens and pick her up on the way home from work. We usually go out to dinner beforehand, but not a big dinner since we have to save room for popcorn. So it should go without saying that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part the first) is the fall movie I'm most excited about. Harry Potter is always the movie I'm most excited about. There's a magic there for my sister and I that has nothing to do with the movies and I'm more than a little upset that there are only two of them left. But then again, I suppose we'll still have the DVDs.