I’m an excellent big sister–always have been, just ask Tara. Tara. My dusky hued beauty. I wanted a brother, for reasons I can no longer remember. I’m sure they were silly reasons, as I was just a five year old who believed no two people could have the same name; for fuck’s sake, I thought the news anchor Bill Harris was related to my mom’s best friend Deanna Harris. I also believed Fred Rogers was a tiny man who lived within the guts of our Curtis Mathis. I lost my shit when I saw Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood playing on my babysitter’s television. For realz.
Tara didn’t speak much as a toddler. Not because she couldn’t; it was a choice that frustrated our mom and dad. “What do you want, Tara? What does she want, Kindra?” Common questions in our house. Lucky us for all, I knew my sister from the start. I loved her from the start. I never did anything petty, like blame her for eating the soft margarine straight out of the tub with her hands, or anything dangerous, like stuffing her into a clothes dryer. I only told her ridiculous stories, and manipulated the gullible girl by explaining to her that because I was so much bigger, I required more food than my own Happy Meal supplied. P.S. She always gave me two of her Chicken McNuggets. I regret nothing.
I told the best lie to my sister when we were both in elementary school–she was in kindergarten, and I was in sixth grade. At the time, we lived in Lapeer on three acres of land that had a thick wood, and an algae green swamp at the bottom of our sloped backyard. One day, I didn’t go to school because I was ill. When Tara returned home from a.m. kindergarten, she asked me what I did all day. Without hesitation, I began to weave my tale. I told her I had sneaked out of our bedroom window and went down to the swamp, where a lone killer whale lived. I befriended the whale (which is not a whale, but the largest member of the dolphin family) and he let me ride on his back all day long. I never told her I was kidding. I let her figure it out for herself. It took a while. I can’t watch Free Willy without laughing my motherfucking ass off.
My second favorite lie was the one about Pinwheel Man. I told Tara that the vacant white house in our neighborhood was actually the home of an angry old man who didn’t like children walking past his house. If he caught a kid walking past after dark, he’d come running out, arms wildly spinning to chase the little assholes down. If he caught you, he’d chop you up with his crazy pinwheel arms.
Tara has always been an excellent little sister to me, despite all the shit I told her when we were kids. When my family learned I was pregnant at seventeen, Tara was the only one who didn’t make me feel dirty. We love one another endlessly. I will always be Sissy to her, and knowing that makes my heart smile.