My little sister is getting married. True to her, it is happening in cyclone-like fashion. Move in after 2 months, engaged at a year, marrying 6 months after that. If it was anyone but her, I may be out of breath, especially in comparison to what may seem like my slow-and-steady tortoise like pace through similar choices. But, over the past year or so, I've had to come to accept that this is just who she is, how she operates, even if it seems foreign to me.
The main thing is that she is happy-- which she is.
I sometimes think that the differences between my sister and I were somehow created by everyone else's need to dichotomize us, rather than any inherent variability. The more automatic aspects of us are eerily alike- the way we speak, our sense of humour, our mannerisms, our smile, our clumsiness. But at a young age, my tendencies to voraciously read and hers to dress up in pouffy dresses for the most minimal of occasions were somehow magnified. I became the smart one. She became the pretty one.
Somehow everyone became invested in maintaining those categories. Despite the fact that we regularly become mistaken for twins, I was always more insecure, more critical when I looked in the mirror. Despite her almost constant appearance on the honour roll, she never considered going to university. I make practical decisions, she makes spontaneous ones. She spends money, I save. Despite being three years younger than me, she had boyfriends with cars before I did.
It sometimes feels like she got to make the mistakes I was always too scared to make.
We're living pretty different lives these days. After five years in a big city, including a few changes in direction, and a big heartbreak, she decided that a small town is where she wants to be. And so, she's back in our hometown, getting married, living in a big beautiful home, and likely to start a family very soon. I don't know where I'm going to be living by the end this year, let alone the year after that, although I will be in the city. My life may seem a lot more jet-setting, in some ways, with me about to embark on another cross-country zigzagging trip, with a end of the month conference in Las Vegas, but it is also a lot more modest, given that I have yet to move out of one-bedroom apartment territory. I'm with my big love, too, but despite being together for much longer that her and her fiancee, a wedding is still far in the future, with other practicalities getting in the way.
Despite the fork somewhere in our paths, though, there's still a thick rope stretching across that distance that neither of us want to, or could, shake. When she's hurting, her first instinct is still to hop a plane and fly my way. And for me, she'll always have the spirit of that 12 year old who called my 16-year old boyfriend to scold him for treating me badly.
She sometimes hurts me more than she realizes, not because of malice, but rather than she occasionally forgets that she needs to slip her feet into my shoes for an instant, as they do fit a lot differently. She did so recently, and it still feels more raw than I would like to admit. But I still couldn't help but tear up as she twirled around, beaming, clutching a bouquet in what will be her wedding dress outside the dressing room. Hurt goes away, after all-- but she won't.