It’s really hard to remember one particular fight that set off the chain of events that eventually led to where we are now, but there are a few that stick out. My sister and I were the only two girls in a single-parent home which psychologists will tell you is mine-field for relationship and attention issues. Ours was.
The first thing that I can remember us fighting about was, wait for it, the white cereal bowl. We used to eat from those tupperware bowls that eighties moms were so proud of and we had a set of blue, red, brown and white. We decided (probably as a result of a world that tells us that white is pure and right) that the white bowl was the best bowl, and every morning would rush to see who could eat out of it first, and if you were too late, well then there were tears. Sometimes we would even deliberately tip one another’s cereal out. We were that petty.
As we got older the fights got more physical. I had the secret weapon of finger nails, which she bit, so her defence was a full on helicopter-style arm punching frenzy whenever it got to that stage. I would pinch her until it bled, and she would determinedly swing her arms at me until I had to back away from her tiny fists. Many a fight ended in tears, and one ended with me kicking her in the groin. The pain on her face, and her look of betrayal is one I will never forget.
Another great one was when we were at a friendly stage and decided to swap rooms in our little house. We moved all of my stuff into her room, and got tired so took a break to play marbles. When we began to fight about the marbles, she left the room to go to the bathroom, and I locked the door. I was thus in a room doubly furnished, and she left outside the door/screaming through the window at me until my mum came home from work.
Thank god, that I went away to boarding school. It creates a space where you’re away from your family and can begin to appreciate the little things that they do that make your home. When my sister joined me at boarding school we took a turn for the better. Our dad was terrible at paying maintenance to my mum, and we were partners in our world of uncertainty. We would be the two sitting outside the principal’s office on the first day of school because our fees hadn’t been paid. When mum didn’t have money, I bought her school uniforms and when the money pot ran dryer still she made the sacrifice of going to a cheaper school so that I could finish matric on my scholarship.
When I left for university that friendship and mutual-respect grew greater still. She’s an amazing individual with a passion for life, wicked sense of humour and a great big party animal inside of her. We still fight now, mostly over my thoughts on the way she spends her money, and her thoughts that I’m too serious, but the fights are resolved quickly and laughter is normally the end result.
She’s my number one ballerina, my sisterling, and one of my greatest allies in this scary world. I love her so much and wish we hadn’t wasted all that time fighting over a tupperware bowl.