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Sharing the Spotlight
We were born at the same time, in the same place, from the same mother. We cried together, scared and hungry for attention. We got one arm each, wrapped around us tightly. You were sick for a while, and you had to be taken to another hospital for about month. I’m not sure, but I probably missed you.
We shared the same jar of baby food at the same time. We slept in the same room and gurgled baby talk until we fell asleep. In the afternoons when she was busy, our mom would place us together in a crib to keep each other company. When I was thirsty for adventure, I’d climb on your back, using you as a stool, and plop happily down to the soft floor. Thanks for that.
I like to look at that baby picture where we’re wearing the same clothes, but mine are in pink and yours are blue. You let me fall asleep on your shoulder. We weren’t old enough to realize how close we were. You wrinkle your nose at the thought now, but deep down, I know you still care.
As we grew older, we’d share birthday parties, yet we’d invite our own friends. The “Happy Birthday” song was sung to me first because I was born ten seconds before you. I was allowed to tear off the shiny paper to my presents first, eagerly throwing it behind me to reveal my surprises. I got to squeeze my eyes shut, wish for that stuffed
animal and blow out all five of my candles before you. Now you get to have your turn, Bubby.
Then, everything changed. In the middle of sixth grade, we had to move to Germany. Remember when you broke your leg skiing there? It was our first time on a pair of skis, five years ago. I remember seeing you crying in pain, and I have never been more afraid. I wanted to hug you, but I had to sit in the waiting room by myself. When you’re hurt, I get hurt too.
What about the time we went on a gondola in Venice two years ago? It was pouring rain but we were all so happy. All you ate there was pizza, your favorite food. And in Paris, we shared the experience of visiting the Louvre. The Mona Lisa wasn’t as exciting as I imagined it to be. But Holland was beautiful- thousands of colorful flowers surrounding us. You hated visiting the cheese factory there because you don’t like cheese. But I enjoyed tasting so many kinds of it while studying the people’s culture.
We were surprised to find out that the drinking age in Germany is sixteen. Do you remember walking through our village in the crisp air of autumn, down to the local fair? The smell of white and red bratwurst drifted heavily in the air, and we breathed it in like sweet perfume. German neighbors and family sat with each other, chattering happily over mugs of beer and plates of bratwurst. We didn’t like the noisy crowds.
Now we’re sixteen, back in the land where we were born together. You got your license before I did. That was your birthday present. Nana and Papa were proud of you. They even let you drive all of us around in the car mom and dad bought for us to share. In our first year in the states, we had the same Indian Chemistry teacher: you remember, right?
She had an accent and our peers, rude and confused, could not understand what she was saying. But we didn’t have that problem. We grew accustomed to thick accents and different languages. So, in her classroom, we felt right at home.
And, since we’ve matured, we’ve tried to make our individuality recognized. You made new friends at your job and at Civil Air Patrol. I made mine in marching band. You grew six inches taller than me and now I look up to you. We’ve forgotten a lot of German, but you’re in Spanish and I’m taking French. We didn’t even celebrate our birthday at the same place. But I was thinking; maybe we could celebrate our 17th birthday together? And next year, I’ll let you blow out your candles first.