You are the youngest daughter of our mother’s first marriage, and I am the only child of her second one. We are separated by 15 years. We share only roughly 25% of our DNA, something one of our other sisters has always underlined. Any introduction she ever gave to someone about me was prefaced with “this is my half-sister”.
But never you. Despite the odds against us not having a close relationship, the distance (both in many years and many miles), we forged one.
My first memory involving you is me, at three or four, standing on the doorstep of your first apartment, pretending to be an Avon lady.
“Avon calling!” I chirped, holding your discarded handbag in chubby hands, ready for you to sample and purchase my invisible wares.
Your red lipsticked mouth parted in a white smile that dazzled me, the same smile that still dazzles me to this day, and you pretended to not recognize me. You said you did not need any Avon and feigned closing the door. I panicked, dropping the old purse, crying “It’s me, I’m just Wachelle! It’s me!” You laughed, scooped me in your arms, and let me in on the joke.
And that’s been the theme of our relationship, you letting me in. You always let me in, though we dwell on opposite sides of the spectrum in nearly every respect. Though you are effervescent and magnetic, and I am misanthropic and peevish. Though you throw open hotel room drapes at sunrise, and I huddle under the covers cursing all light dwellers.
My best memories, the ones I would list if asked to pinpoint the times I’ve felt most loved, are primarily of you.
You, with no questions asked, writing a large check when I needed a fresh start. You, holding my hair back while I puked in the toilet in the early morning hours of my 21st birthday, commenting nostalgically that you used to change my diapers. You, giving the same gummy grin as me, as we shout Journey lyrics at the top of our lungs on some dive bar’s stage. You, with tears in your eyes, watching me try on wedding dresses. You, upon learning I was going through something difficult and painful and real, booking a next day flight and traveling over a thousand miles to be there with me. You, when I needed to hear it most, saying that I am the best gift Mom ever gave you.
So the trivial numbers of me and you are: 25% shared DNA. 2 different fathers. 15 years and 1000 miles apart. But you and me, we are more than numbers and definitions and simple blood tests could ever explain. We are sisters, just sisters. No preface. No clarification. And you are my best friend.