Fighting for Love

October 15, 2008
By Nicole Gut, Rolling Meadows, IL

Growing up with two older sisters has never been easy. These days, I constantly feel the pressure to do just as well as them at everything and follow in their footsteps. If I accomplish something, the deed has already either been done by one of them or is overlooked as unimportant because neither of them ever accomplished the feat. I am in a constant struggle to be better than them.

Back when I was in elementary school and in junior high, fighting my sisters to prove my point or get what I want seemed to be the only option. Actually, my sister Natalia and I were the ones who would mostly fight. We would scream at each other, hit each other, and do anything to “win” the fight.

Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t total savages. We were best friends, but our fights were never minor. They always escalated into something huge.

One night, our parents weren’t home because they went to Menards to buy some stuff that my dad needed. My oldest sister, Anita, was in charge. Everything started off fine. We had dinner and watched some TV. Later that night, Natalia decided that she wanted a peanut butter sandwich. This immediately infuriated me, as I had already planned to make peanut butter cookies in the morning and there was only enough peanut butter in the jar for one of us.

Natalia and I instantly started yelling at each other. She didn’t care about my cookies and I didn’t think she needed a sandwich. Of course, a fight broke out between us.

At this point in my life, I was already a couple inches taller than her even though she was four years older than me. I was holding the peanut butter just above her outreached hand when she jumped up to grab the jar. Being the bigger one, I immediately pounced on her to get the jar back. I grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around, shoving her up against the sink. She had never really been that strong and I easily held her down with one hand. With my other hand, I reached out and grabbed the hand that was holding the jar. I started banging Natalia’s hand against the counter to make the jar fall out. Just as I was doing this, my parents walked in the door and saw that I had Natalia pinned over the sink.

They broke up the fight and neither of us got the peanut butter. One would think that this would be enough to stop our brawls, but they only got worse. We were immature and we kept fighting.

Natalia was in the kitchen on a Friday afternoon making dinner for the family. When I saw that we were going to have fish, I gagged. I absolutely hated seafood. I tried to get around her to get to the refrigerator. I needed to find a substitute for dinner. She stopped me because she knew what I was doing. We started arguing.

“Why do you always have to be so picky?” she asked. “Just eat what’s put down in front of you!”

“You know that I don’t like fish,” I accused. “Why didn’t you ask anyone what they wanted for dinner? We could have…”

She ended up slapping me midway through my sentence and that’s when the fighting intensified.

Natalia was holding spinach leaves in a sieve after having just washed them. I was holding her other arm in both of my hands. Her skinny arm was so fragile. I wanted to snap her bone in half. I knew that I wouldn’t, but the power of being able to, made me feel strangely good. Out of nowhere, Natalia whipped the spinach leaves at me.

So there I was, standing in my kitchen, covered in spinach leaves. I shook myself off and stormed upstairs, not even bothering to help her clean up.

More time elapsed before we fought again. This time we were arguing about something pointless. I was smirking down at Natalia and sipping my glass of water. Natalia was glaring up at me and prattling on and on about how irresponsible I was.

“You are always so careless. Why are you so lazy?” she yelled.

I set my glass down, pretending to not care what she was saying. Natalia was so furious, that she took my glass and splashed me with the water that I hadn’t finished drinking.

I stood there, dripping, and I was mad.

I walked over to the screen door and called out to my parents, “Mom! Dad! Natalia splashed water on me!” I listened, but heard no response. I guess they didn’t really hear me so I turned around and stormed back into the kitchen. Natalia was bent over, wiping the water off of the floor. I took the cup and poured the remaining water and ice on her back.

I think we got in the most trouble after that one. I had to clean up the kitchen but I felt that the water splashing was totally worth it. Natalia and I were laughing about our brawl after about five minutes. We got over the whole thing very quickly.

When Natalia started her freshman year in college and Anita began her junior year, they both moved out. After they left, there were no fights. Since then, we haven’t had any. I’m so grateful to see my sisters when they call me or come home for the weekend that we don’t waste time fighting.

I try to spend as much time outside of my house as possible now. I work hard during the day at school and stay after to work on the school newspaper. I work on my homework when I get home, and talk with my parents. I usually have the entire upstairs to myself until my parents go up to bed. I get very lonely. I love my parents and all, but I find doing homework by myself difficult. There is no one really at my house that I can relate to. During the weekends, I hang out with my friends because I think that associating with people who go to school and work hard just like me is important for my sanity.

I miss not seeing my sisters everyday and not hanging out like we do when they come home for longer breaks. I wish we never got into such major fights and learned to talk things out the way we do now. Being an “only child” at home made me grow up fast and become very independent.

At the time of our fights, we never really learned much from them. We went on as if they had never happened. Now I can see that the fights made our relationship stronger. I know that if we ever fought, she would forgive me, and vice-versa. I just wish that we had realized that when we were kids. We would have saved ourselves and our parents a lot of grief.

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