We don’t talk much, but I know she’d take a bullet for me.
I was reminded of her today, when I saw two siblings at the supermarket. One of them grabbed a toy off the shelf and was totally into it. Admiring it. The other one snatched it from her hands and ran down the aisle, passed the Ritz crackers.
My sister, otherwise known as The Queen of the Nile. I call her that, because during her high school reign she won the homecoming and prom queen titles. She was into that kind of stuff. I was not. So it was natural for me as a younger sister to make fun of my older sibling.
When we were children, we were close. I have pictures to that effect so I know it must be true. But during middle school, high school, and college it was the normal dysfunctional relationship. We weren’t really friends, but we weren’t enemies either. We were just acquaintances in the same blood type.
However, there were moments growing up when I knew she wasn’t just my acquaintance.
I can’t remember if I was in fifth or sixth grade, but I know it was around that time when it happened.
As I mentioned before, my parents were extremely strict. They were Latinos. We lived in a rough neighborhood. We were girls. They had reason to be strict. So in this strict Latino fashion, we never went to sleepovers or to places without someone from the family taking us and bringing us back. That’s just how my parents rolled.
So when my sister asked to go to the movies with some friends on her own, they weren’t really warming up to the idea. She was the responsible one, so eventually they caved in, on one condition. She needed to take me. The younger sister who’d probably report on anything and everything, like a good covert spy. My sister needed to be careful. She needed to make sure we got back by curfew. Those were the conditions and she agreed.
She was Richie Cunningham, so they were confident it would happen.
So off we went on our very first trip to the movies. We were careful. We stayed away from the bad alleyways and from suspect characters on our way to her friend’s house. Once they finished putting on their Maybelline mascara, and frosty pink lip gloss we made our way to the bus stop.
We walked up the hill and saw the bus coming in the opposite direction. We raced to catch the light. It was still red and we were hoping the bus driver saw us screaming and waving our hands in the air.
The bus began to pull away from the curb, but the driver stepped on the brakes as the signal light turned red. We waited. Anxiously. Our signal light finally turned from red to green. We stepped off the curb and began running across the street when it happened.
A green car came racing through the intersection, right at us.
I must have blacked out because the next thing I knew I was face down in the middle of the intersection with my one of Adidas tennis shoes hanging out in the middle of the cross walk. When I got up and looked around, I realized what had happened.
We had gotten hit by a car. But I really shouldn’t say we. My sister’s friend, had gotten hit. My sister for some reason had managed to avoid it, and in the process had managed to push me away from the incident. I didn’t know she was that strong. It must have been all the adrenaline, because I flew pretty far.
In the end her friend was all right. She ended up getting a cast for her arm, and plenty of ice every where else. But no crazy internal damage, which was a miracle. As she was getting treated in the ambulance, she joked around a bit and said that our parents would probably not let us go to the movies again.
But they did.
In the end I realized that even though we weren’t friends and we weren’t close, we had our moments. She’d probably take a bullet for me and definitely a speeding car.
My sister … Queen of the Nile.