Suburban Snapshots

This One Will Make My Mom Cry

Friday, January 27, 2012

Growing up, I was not The Hot Sister. I wasn't The Fun One, or even The Popular One. At different stages in adolescence I was probably The Smart One, The Tall One, and then I think around senior year I was The Probably Gay One. But I have a hot sister who also happened to be fun and smart, triple-threat bitch that she is, and let me tell you how that went well into my — well, my right now, as it turns out.

Because we're 5 years apart, Shannon and I were never in the same schools at the same time. I went through middle and high school mostly unnoticed, did my average work ("Smart, but lazy.") cut my hair in weird, unflattering ways, had my small group of friends. In high school I had unrequited crushes on a string of gay friends, spent weekends trying to get rides to the diner where we'd sit and spend sixty-five cents on coffees and stink the place up with clove cigarettes while our waitress glared at us knowing her tip wouldn't come close to paying rent on the space we were taking up. I wasn't adventurous then and I'm not today. I had no idea that people in high school actually did drugs and had sex, despite their daily dry-humping sessions against hallway lockers.

It seemed to me that Shannon would blink in the direction of any number of crushes and fifteen minutes later they'd be sitting on our couch cuddling over Taco Supremes that you know she didn't pay for.

In my memory, my sisters were never home. Steph, who's a year or so older than Shannon, got a car and I don't think I've seen her since. Together they had an entourage — a huge collection of BMX guys who'd congregate wherever bikes could go and do all the things I didn't think people did until college. They both have the kinds of stories that parents never, ever, ever want to hear from their kids and I kind of envy that.

When I moved to Boston I brought a photo of the three of us and kept it on desks at all of my short-lived jobs. Inevitably, any twenty-something male that worked with me would look it over, point Shannon out, and in a way that says, "Things with my girlfriend are totally casual..." ask, "Who's that?" After three straight years of this I considered telling them that she came with the frame.

All three of us are in our thirties now, we all have kids, one or two husbands apiece, saggier boobs and live states apart. Shannon is still fun, Steph still never gets out of her car, and I'm still not especially spontaneous (though I've definitely improved my hairstyle and my husband isn't gay). When we get together our faces ache from laughing and someone might pee a little.

I still notice how men react to Shannon — that my nearly six foot frame becomes practically invisible in the presence of her five-foot-two vortex of adorable — but now that we've all grown into ourselves, it just makes me proud to be her sister.

Photo above is hella old, but I bet you can figure out who's who.

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