October 3, 2007
“The rose of the valley may wither,
The pleasures of youth pass away,
But friendship will blossom forever
While all other flowers decay”

2 years older, I was sometimes, Maria’s (my sister’s) bane of existence. I utilized my position effectively to manipulate her. Neither of us had the sister we yearned for. It was essential for Maria to be obedient and respectful, meanwhile she wanted someone to play with her unconditionally. Her desire to play games was shared by me, but I also had the wisdom to pretend reluctance and used playtime as a bargaining tool.

A frequent source of our disputes was over our favorite Barbie, Star. (Maria had named her Star because of her earrings, but I thought Star was a star of beauty) She’d beg to play Barbie’s with me, and I’d say
“Well I don’t know”
“Please Ana!”

“Okay only if I can be Star.”
“But it’s my turn,” she would protest desperately clinging to her last shred of hope and pride.
“Then I don’t feel like playing anymore,” I’d say. I would shrug and start walking away waiting for her to submit to my power, she always did.

I was a professional manipulator, and to her five-year old naiveté, it seemed as nothing could be done to thwart my power over her. I was older, bigger and smarter. What chance did she have? She envied me for my age and intelligence, thirsting to be older so she could finally triumph over me. It never occurred to her that as she aged, I too. Would grow older.

Star was a beautiful Hawaiian Barbie, but this detail seemed minute compared to her long shining blonde hair. Decorated with glitter, Star’s hair was Maria’s fantasy. Her cheeks so rosy, her lips like the ruby rainbow and her perfect deep blue water eyes. So sparkly like a diamond an her beautiful figure just like a model’s, I had always known that Maria longed to be her.

One day we had finally agreed to play, and I hadn’t attached any strings. Hope stirred, but as Maria grasped Star I snatched her away.” I should play Star you can’t do it right.”
“Well it’s my turn” Maria complained.
“How can the game be any fun if you’re Star? You’re too little to play her well.”
“You’re …” she hesitated trying to prove her intelligence with a perfect insult. “ You’re mean!
You never share like Mom and Dad say to, and ….” She faltered again, futilely grasping at words trying to prove her powers of manipulation. “ And I don’t want to play with you anymore!”

Aghast I wondered if those words had actually emerged from her mouth. What had she done? I watched her face mirror her astonishment. My eyes narrowed, and she watched me throw Star across the room to a thud against the wall. Her mouth opened in a piercing scream of shock and anger, as she froze for several minutes, horrified. I knew what she was thinking. Was Star doomed to die after she had facilitated Maria’s stronger destiny?

Mom dashed down the hall and she observed Star as my horrified eyes first looked down upon that tragic Barbie. I stood, unblinking as Mom lifted Star from the fated heater vent, which had despoiled Star’s hair. My eyes widened as I saw the melted clumps of what had previously appeared so luminous. Shock and sorrow gradually nurtured Maria’s first feelings of resentment and revenge. Star would not go without retribution. I turned to Maria as she leapt on scratching, biting, kicking, and me. Unfortunately, Star didn’t assist her in this area, and somehow I ended up on top-literately. I was sitting on her stomach as Mom re-entered the living room. Mom first broke up the squabble, and then bewildered asked
“What happened?”
“She did it!” Maria shouted, eagerly pointing her finger at my ashamed face. “She ruined Star and it’s all her fault and she needs time-out!”
“Maria calm down. Star isn’t ruined, see? I cut her hair. She’s all better now.” Maria frowned. Was Mom going to ignore the point that she had tried to accomplish through exaggeration? I and erred enormously. Punishment was needed here!
“She threw Star, Mom! She didn’t care.” Maria wanted to emphasize in her speech, that my action’s blatantly displayed the fact that she deserved to be Star always, but her vocabulary wasn’t up to it. She lapsed in silence.

I have no memory of anything else that happened. I only have a vague impression of indignation and shame. I do know that jealousy poured out of Maria, and hope that Mom would scold me harshly. While I was probably punished, I don’t remember. What I do remember is Maria playing with Star more often. And then we got a new Barbie, another source of contention.

I have always been Maria’s competitor, her motivator, and her source of jealousy. More recently, I have out that we’ve always been alike. Our jealousy is likely the only thing we shared equally for along time. It is what keeps us from bonding even if we are so similar in our determination, stubbornness and imagination. Remembering Star I now realize she was more of a sign of petty jealousy and competition. But my eyes, blurred by jealousy couldn’t see it. “Friendship makes prosperity more brilliant, and lightens adversity by dividing and sharing it” the quote from Cicero is dedicated to my sister for if we both had known, things would have probably been different.

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