My Favorite Color

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“No, your favorite color is blue!” I screamed with the shrillness of an air horn.

My face flushed and my eyebrows furrowed together in anger. My classmate stood in front of me, staring as though I’d already punched him. His eyes were wide in fear, and immediately apologies streamed from his mouth.

“I’m so sorry, I – what did I do?” His voice trembled; he really didn’t know.
What would she do?

The image of my sister appeared in my mind. Her black hair fell to her chin, her bangs halfway to her wide brown eyes. A smile illuminated her face, a calming expression that reminded me of her belief that “violence is never the answer.” I lowered my fists. My heartbeat slowed. The only attack I made that day was through my eyes: I glared at him, willing myself to look as intimidating as my pudgy face would allow.

“My sister’s favorite color is blue. She is always right. So blue is the best color. Your favorite color is blue.”

With that, I stalked off, proud, but guilty at the same time.

Wasn’t this the answer?

To my younger counterpart, love could very well manifest itself into violence. The attachment I had to my sister was a good enough excuse for me to assault anyone who dared to disagree with her. But my love was corrupted; it had been implanted in envy.

Every day I came home to a wall filled with certificates, almost all belonging to my sister. Just one of my awards – a Student of the Month notice – was of any comparison, but what did it matter? She had a dozen of those.
Every day my parents complimented her on a job well done, no matter how small, and I’d watch, suddenly feeling as though I wasn’t even worth being in the same room.
Every day I seemed to be reprimanded for something, whether it was refusing to do my homework or a frowny face on my teacher’s daily report.

And it stung. It stung to be the burnt seed while someone so close to me had already matured into a radiant flower.

Even my elementary school teachers, who had known me for months, called me “Gloria” out of habit. I wasn’t good enough as myself – I had to be her.
“Look!” I’d smile. “I’m you!”
I’d parade around in her clothes, which dragged on the floor, and imitate her voice. She’d chase me around the house, pretending to be angry, but those times were soon lost.

The more I found my sister’s identity, the more I lost mine. No matter how much I yearned to yell “shut up” or to fling rice across the room, “Grace” faded.
She was gone, but, somehow, her shortcomings stayed. But no matter how poor my math skills were, or how often I talked back to my superiors, I told myself I was a prototype; I was still working out the kinks. I’d be like my sister someday.

Everyone saw how uncomfortable I was, and they told me to stop; so did my sister.

“Stop copying me!” she’d yell. “You’ll never be like me!” The times of innocence were gone. She had grown up.

At first, I paid it no mind. No one gets it.

But slowly, I learned what their words meant. Copycat, retard, freak.

What was I doing wrong? I loathed myself as me, but everyone loathed me as my sister.

For a time, I was neither. I became silent. Apathetic. I no longer partook in the activities I initially relished; my spirit had been extinguished by my peers’ remarks. At least I wasn’t a “copycat” anymore.
Despite my stagnation, the world continued. The crowds did not slow down in the streets. The clouds did not stop moving in the sky. If I did not keep up, I would be left behind.

As others went about their lives, I set out on a journey of self-discovery; I needed to prove my worth to myself. When no one was home, I raided the drawers, attempting to find something worthwhile of mine. An old project, a diary, anything.
And one day, underneath a pile of papers, crammed between two shelves, I found something even greater: a dusty notebook. Its cover was wrapped in light-blue cloth, decorated in multi-colored paper stars. The title proclaimed, “G is for Gloria: A Novella.”

Curiosity was a given. I opened my sister’s book, caressing it as though it were a newborn. Chapter after chapter, her words flowed as smoothly as a forest stream.
Then Chapter 3 came, and it was as if the river had come to a raging waterfall.

There I was on the page. A picture of me as a toddler. It was about me.

My eyes were like ravenous beasts. My mind failed to process anything I had read, but the last sentence, in a line of its own, told me to pay rapt attention.

“It’s always nice to have a little sister.”

I didn’t need to read the rest. Slowly, shakily, I returned the book to its spot. To my seven-year-old mind, my sister had just said, “I love you. I don’t care if you make mistakes. I love you.”
Her eight words filled me with confidence on the first day of third grade; if my sister loved me, anyone could. Before long, I was surrounded by people who provided me with a new canvas. They encouraged me, even laughed at my terrible puns. My energy returned, and spunk coursed through my veins. I no longer needed to be Gloria; Grace was back, and she was not leaving anytime soon.
Even now, the pangs of jealousy return, but I have learned to transform my envy into admiration, something that will push me harder rather than weigh me down. Now I know my sister is a person to love, not an item to obsess over. I make my own decisions, and it’s okay if they’re the same or the opposite of hers; I govern my own life.

After all, I even have my own favorite color.

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