My sister and I have been partners in crime since day one. I was born and washed off and stuck in a bassinet and she was by my side, helping out mom 24-7, forming an immense bond with me even then.
We did everything together. We shared clothes, we hid from the neighbor’s cat, we played twisted games like Hospital Morgue and Jail. We shared birthday parties and sometimes presents (much to our disappointment) as our birthdays were four years and ten days apart. We didn’t have a video camera so we spent countless summer days recording books on tape, taking turns reading pages and doing voices, and ringing my mom’s little brass bell when it was time to turn the page.
My sister was always the pulled-together one. She was a writer for as long as I can remember, telling me and Granny stories that she made up on the fly that were awesome even at age 5. She always seemed to have a plan, to know what to do even in the worst situation. Sure we messed up stuff, like the time we tried to help mom by washing the dishes, but sadly had not yet learned that you can’t put regular dish soap in the detergent cup. We learned our lesson the hard way as we swept the sea of foamy bubbles out the back door before mom got home from work. But without my sister I would not have known to steer my bike towards the big garbage cans at the base of the hill when I had not yet learned to use the brakes and nearly rode right into traffic.
It was Lisa who taught me to ride my bike, actually. She made sure I did finally learn properly, so no more near accidents would happen. It was Lisa who taught me how to read and how to add. When I got older it was Lisa who told me about the disgusting business of periods and why being a girl was scary but it was all okay. When I had a nightmare, I ran to my sister’s room. If I fell down and got hurt, Lisa was always there to explain to my mom how I was injured in the first place while I just wailed and clutched my scraped knee/elbow/face.
We both went through our awkward teen years, but thankfully our cranky attitudes never applied towards each other. We still made time to do our hair and makeup, and pose Sears-portrait style with the toilet. We still quoted “The Jerk” and “Better Off Dead” endlessly. When Lisa got her first car I was the first passenger, and we drove that Chevette to the Monmouth Mall, laughing hysterically at “Here Comes Another One” by Monty Python blaring from the rickety cassette player. I’m not sure if it was that same day, but it was Lisa who failed to save me from choking on a piece of ice I was eating from my Taco Bell cup. We were laughing about something dumb, and a big chunk of ice slid right into my throat. I froze and pointed to my throat, panicked! Lisa pulled the chevette over in front of an all boys Christian Academy and we ran out of the car, she limply grabbed me around my midsection in an attempt to Heimlich me. It didn’t work and I fell to the ground, resolved that either I was going to die or the ice would melt, so I was going to wait it out. As I did so, Lisa ran in circles around me, flailing and screaming in my face,”Tricia!! I don’t know what to DOOO!!”. This of course, made us both laugh and eased the panic of my last moments on earth. I lay smirking and shaking with laughter in the grass, feeling relief as the ice finally melted and I would live to movie-quote another day.
Today is Lisa’s birthday, so I just want you to know dear sister, that you are still my partner in crime, no matter how much bullshit life has thrown us lately. You are and always will be the best friend I’ve ever had, and even though you couldn’t dislodge that deadly iceberg from my throat that day, your efforts made all the difference. We are going to have a lot more adventures together as we get old and senile, and it’s going to be great.
I love you Lisa! Happy birthday!!