Jumping ahead in time here, but this is a special day.
Today, April 10th, is my sister's birthday. She is 53.
She abused me.
She is the polar opposite of me: dark haired, dark eyed, dark skinned. She was the Aries to my Pisces, the sun to my moon. She was always angry, always on the verge of exploding in a volcanic rage, always crackling like red cellophane in the hot summer wind. She cried the day I was born, angry that I was not a boy, not the little brother she wanted. When I was five years old, she kicked me in the stomach hard enough to drop me to the floor, all of the breath knocked out of me. From then on, she slapped me, kicked me, shoved me, pushed me into walls, left bruises. She told me every day how ugly I was, how stupid I was, how worthless, how I'd never be a success at anything, would never have a boyfriend. She screamed in my face until she was hoarse: screamed at ear splitting volumes that she hated me, HATED me. And if I ever dared yell back, how dare I defend myself? How dare I show her the anger she'd always shown me? How dare I exist in the same space as her? One morning, she finished yelling at me for some infraction or other and left for school. I shouted "BITCH!" after her in a tearful rage, sick of not being allowed to say anything back to her. She wheeled around, came back into the house and screamed at me some more. I was forbidden to defend myself from her rage.
I was not the only target for her inexplicable rage. The whole fucking world was. She hated everyone: my mom, her teachers, her classmates, everyone. No one was immune, not even the people she claimed were her friends. She glommed onto the ones who came from money, doling out her sob story about how her mom abused her and didn't love her. At home, she talked about these same friends with a smirk: how stupid they were, how ugly and gullible and utterly inferior. She had no feelings for anyone. She was a sociopath, interested in only what people could give her.
I could hear her screaming at her computer from five houses away if it dared go on the fritz. She once exploded in a rage at a teenage girl who thought my sister was under 18 and therefore not allowed to use the jacuzzi. My sister stomped up to her shrieking: "I AM TWENTY FOUR YOU FUCKING LITTLE BITCH!" I was humiliated. She talked too loudly in public, trying to draw attention to herself, as if she expected the masses around her to stand up with their fists in the air and yell "Yes! You are righteous! You are clearly our superior and should be crowned the Queen of Everything!" She was embarrassing as hell with her loud mouth and her mullet hairdo and her dumpy clothes. Her classmates hated her, and their little brothers and sisters were MY classmates. Once, at a friends house after school, the older sister turned to HER friend and said "That's Linda's little sister." They looked at me with identical expressions of pity and disgust. I understood completely. My sister was a joke, a bully, a pretentious twat, an arrogant, condescending, toxic bitch.
She stayed in college most of her life, obtaining degree after degree, taking class after class, boasting about her achievements, believing that her education made her superior to almost everyone. She sneered at my retail jobs. But by the age of 22 she had stopped physically abusing me. I'd grown taller than her and bigger boned. During a brief period of unemployment, she moved back in with my mother and I. Getting ready for work one morning when I was 17, I made the mistake of waking her up. She launched herself off of her makeshift bed in a white rage, screaming at me that I'd fucking woken her up, I was a fucking bitch and she hated me. She shoved me back into a wall...and I grabbed her face, and shoved her back, and drove her head into the same wall she'd just shoved me into.
She was comically shocked. "Don't you fucking hit me!" she screamed. I hit her again, and again, and again. I clawed at her face while she screamed. I ripped at her hair. I put every ounce of muscle and resentment into it. I didn't say a word while she screamed and cussed and tried to fight back, but she couldn't. I beat her. Finally, I drove her to the floor, crying and frantic and still absolutely, violently enraged. She ran into my mom's room and locked the door. I went to the bathroom to clean myself off. She reappeared in a couple of minutes, holding the phone. "YOUR MOTHER wants to talk to you!" she screamed, holding the receiver out.
I took it.
My mom asked what happened. I calmly told her the truth. Linda, my older sister, had tried to beat me up. Again. So I beat her up right back. The end. My mom came home that night and kicked my sister out of the house. She told her it was her own fault, that she'd had it coming, that she should have expected this to happen, how long did she think I was going to put up with her shit? My sister, raging and crying and screaming that it wasn't fair, that it wasn't her fault, that she had done nothing wrong, left. I didn't see her again for several long years.
When we met again, I was 25 and she was 31. We'd moved back to California and at first, we appeared to be on the mend. She let us stay with her until we got back on our feet. She drove us places and helped us out. For almost a year, she was truly a sister and a daughter, a part of the family.
Then one day, she called me stupid.
I looked right at her and said: "I. Am NOT. Stupid."
She immediately apologized and retracted her statement. Maybe she was afraid I was going to hit her again.
God this is exhausting. I can't even tell you how much this hurts to write. I'm sitting here shaking. I'm 47 years old and live 4,000 miles away from my sister and will never see her again, but right now she's here. Screaming at me. I can hear her in my head. I know I always will.
She never hit me again, but for the fifteen years I lived in California, just three doors down from her, she found ways to abuse me. She made fun of everything I liked. She literally crowed when she got an article published in a teaching manual, but turned her nose up when I too found some success as a writer, my articles published here and there in various magazines. Every accomplishment of mine was met with stony faced indifference and a flat intonation of "Cool, great, that's neat."
She met a guy online when she was in her forties. Fat, bald and unambitious, she made fun of him constantly, sneering at his Midwestern, Republican values, his conservative views, his depression, his smoking, his mother's cooking, his father's money, his whitebread existence. Eventually, she married him. Man, she couldn't wait to tell my mother and I she was getting married. My mother was twice divorced and I was still single, so she really believed that she had succeeded where we had failed. We were happy for her. I actually felt a little sorry for her husband to be. I'm sure he didn't think he could do any better, and I'm sure she'd convinced him of the same thing.
She brought Adam over to our home for occasional duty visits, during which she giggled and ignored us and made sure we heard her talking about how much money Adam was making at his new job, how successful all of their "professional" friends were and how surely Adam could get a part time job at Borders, because - after all - I worked there, and if they'd hire me, they'd obviously hire anyone! She considered herself, as a preschool teacher with degrees falling out of her fat asshole, to be a success. Her husband had a degree in computer something-or-other. They both considered themselves to be "cutting edge" and "professional elites" with doctors and lawyers included in their circle of friends. I never saw any of their friends come around. They were exclusively online. She refused to use Facebook because it was for "everyone" now and no longer cool and exclusive.
Once she was married and an expert at being a wife, she confided to my mother that "she and Adam" were "worried" about me. They didn't know how I was going to support myself once mom was gone. I wasn't married, I worked retail, obviously I was a complete and total loser at life because I was still living with mommy. And they sure weren't going to support me once mom kicked the proverbial bucket. She made it clear to my mother that I was not welcome in their home in the event of her death, that they were not going to support my single, inferior moocher self. My mother defended me, telling dear old sis that I was the one who paid the rent and bills and that I was no more living off of mommy than she was living off of hubby, her From Old Money Hubby who'd bought her a house and allowed her to quit her job so she could fuck off all day.
Eventually, I lost my job when the company I'd worked for for 14 years went bankrupt and liquidated. I knew I had to do something with my life. I decided to go back to school. I also decided to move away, as far away as I could get from my poisonous, narcissistic, abusive sister. I was tired of being her punching bag. I was tired of her using me as her excuse, tired of her showing me to her husband as the reason why she was always so angry. Fuck her, I decided. She had her chance and she blew it.
I moved four thousand miles from the west coast to the east coast and went back to school. I made the Dean's List. I graduated with honors. I got a job on my first interview. I made sure she knew all of this. Her husband announced he was intending to attend a work seminar in our new city and would be flying out to stay with us, uninvited. At which point I told both of them: "No. We moved here to get the hell away from you both." And then I dropped her. I let her know she was no longer welcome in my life. I didn't want her to visit, or stay in touch. I wanted her to sit there, in her new house that she'd made her new husband buy for her, and think about her hypocrisy - she who had quit her job and married for money and counted on being taken care of for the rest of her life, the way she accused my mom of taking care of me.
So happy 53rd birthday, Big Sister. You succeeded in everything - your brilliant education, your marriage, your expensive house. But you're a truly rotten, soulless, joyless person with no family. You alienated your only mother and sister. We were never good enough for you, now you're not good enough for us. Because you are a cunt. And no amount of money or education will ever buy you a personality or a soul, or friends. You may have that husband of your fooled, but for how long? How long before you turn your anger on him, because I'm not there anymore? How long before your husband and his family and your neighbors and your prestigious friends find out what you really are and you find yourself alone again? And who will you blame then?