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The Bond of Sisterhood

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We woke up in paradise. The bright rays were beaming through the windows, seagulls were flocking, and the waves were crashing on the shore. Anxious to soak in the Florida sun, Emily and I scrambled through our disheveled room, threw on bathing suits and raced down to the beach. Surprisingly, our grandma was standing next to some kayaks and talking to two men.

She proceeded to say, “Are you guys ready to get on one of these things?”

Without hesitation, I nominated Emily and me to go first. Having been by each other’s sides in times of terror, anticipation, and joy, such as racing down the steep, snowy slopes of a black diamond and soaring through the skies over the Gulf of Mexico, I thought she would be the perfect partner. It took a couple minutes to coax Emily into agreeing, due to her fear of sharks, which I have never understood because it is unlikely to encounter a shark. In addition, my parents were also worried about casting us out to sea when neither of us were experienced kayakers. They made sure to review how far we could go, how to maneuver the kayak, and what to do in an emergency. Before we knew it, we were drifting out into the unknown.

“Enjoy this relaxing time!” Grandma added.

It did not take long for Emily and me to realize it was anything but relaxing. Despite our conscious efforts to control the kayak, it was floating unmanageably farther and farther out into the ocean, to the point that we could not see our parents, grandparents, and cousins watching us from shore. I failed to anticipate the muscle strength required to operate a kayak, and to my disadvantage, my partner did, too. If anything, having Emily with me made me have to paddle harder.

“Em, can you actually try to row?” I said.

“I am trying!” she yelled.

Getting more and more aggravated with how little Emily was contributing, I yelled, “At this rate, we will end up in the middle of the ocean and not be able to get back to shore!”

“Kate, do you think sharks are in these waters?”

“Probably. They attack people close to shore, so I can imagine them being out here.” I said angrily.

There was a short silence as the boat began to sway.

“What was that?” Emily asked.

“I have no-”

“Get me back on shore right now!” she yelled in a panic, and she began flailing her arms back and forth, almost hitting me with the oar.

“Well, it’s going to take awhile, because you can’t-”

“We’re going to die!”
Tears started streaming down her face as she helplessly began paddling. After a minute of screaming and crying, she yelled, “Why are you laughing?! Was it you who made the boat rock?”

As she went into a state of panic, I could not control my laughter. I completely underestimated the severity of her shark phobia.


“Oh my God. Don’t talk to me. Just wait until we get off this boat.” Emily said in a traumatized, yet determined, voice.

When I finally caught my breath, I said, “Good luck getting us back.”

After half an hour of countless pulls, excruciating pain, and undeniable tension, we made it back to shore. Immediately, Emily jumped off of the kayak and stomped through the sand with a look on her face that read “if you’re smart you won’t say anything to me.” She was mad, beyond mad. She was furious. I had never seen Emily that angry before. I was nervous about the status of our relationship after our kayak escapade.

As I thought about it, I felt terrible. We were each other’s cheerleaders, consolers, and go-to gals. Occasional arguments would arise over borrowing clothes without asking, or over deciding who gets to use the computer, but unlike this argument, nothing has come close to jeopardizing the bond we share. In the moment, my actions had been justified. She barely tried to paddle, and when she did, it was not useful; therefore, I decided scaring her would be a good way to get back at her. However, looking back made me realize my actions were unwarranted. I was aware of her vulnerability and the extremity of her fear of sharks, yet I took advantage of it . Our fights were usually resolved in a matter of minutes, but on this day, it was not until hours later that she finally accepted my apology.

Today, the relationship Emily and I share could not be stronger; however, the situation still remains fresh in her mind. I learned a valuable lesson. Not everyone likes a practical joke, making it essential to be cautious of other people’s feelings. The key is to learn from mistakes and realize that a strong bond shared between two people, especially the one between my sister and me, is not worth risking. Erica E. Goode wrote, “Sibling relationships outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They also flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust.” Despite everything that can happen, nothing can cause a divide between two loving sisters.





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