Smiling Alone

My little sister is beautiful.

When we were little, I told her her blond hair wouldn't stay for long. In just a few years, a boring brown would cover her golden glow just like mine had. She wasn't allowed to be that pretty. I told her it wouldn't last.

It did.

As kids, she would march around in my clothes, and I would laugh at her, thinking she was a dumb girl: interested in fashion. She would be the kind who obsessed about boys, and gossip behind people's backs, and be the stereotypical blond b*tch. I didn't know what it felt like to be a little sister. I didn't understand the concept of walking in someone else's shoes because you wanted to understand them. I knew I never wanted to be like her. She cared too much about how she looked, and she talked too much. She was mean to all the pets she owned. She strangled them in love, and I was always the one to tell her not to squeeze too hard.

I told her she was a tyrant. She blinked at me and covered her tears. She didn't say anything. Moments later she forgave me, and she told me her dream was to buy all the cats in the all the animal shelters so that every cat would have a home. 

For her birthday, she asked for stuffed animals. I thought she was lazy, so I bought her dance classes. She didn't use them for years. She said she'd never like dancing.

To fill her time, she became the little boy Daddy always wanted. I felt a twinge of regret, when she walked onto the softball field in her little dusty uniform, and Daddy had tears in his eyes. Only she could make him melt.

Then suddenly she was inviting boys home, and they would play catch in our backyard. I told her she was too young to fall in love, so what was the point? I was envious of how casual she was with them. She spoke their language, she played their game. I was afraid to look them in the eyes.

I watched her in awe from the porch, as she would slug the ball around, and nail the boys with water balloons. Everything came so naturally to her. It gave me hope.

I worked up the courage, and brought home my first boyfriend. I was annoyed she kept staring at us. I realize now how badly she wanted someone to stare at her that way. But I could never know that, because I thought she had everything.

I saw her walk into a room, and snap heads. She was in 6th grade at the time, and had the stance of confidence you would trust with your life. 

She was nervous, and joined a group of girls her age. She became part of them without a ripple, and when there was doubt, they all turned to her for an answer. She was a leader in her soul.

Later, I talked to some of her friends. They all seemed stupid to me. They didn't seem to have opinions, or much common sense. I told her she should pick better friends. In reality, she was just way ahead of the game, and I never realized I'd been talking to the best all along.

As she went through middle school, and then high school, she was resillient. It was like she was made of air. There was no way to bring her down. Even if momentarily submerged, she always bubbled to the top. She didn't take herself too seriously. She also took the blame most times. I suppose she had to, when I was the stuborn one. But she didn't mind, because as soon as we made up, she was allowed to hug me, and thats all she wanted.

She was always such a people person. I never understood how she could form a group so fast. I told her she was too codependant and needed to learn to survive things on her own. During this time I noticed she never cried in front of me. Mom told me it was because she was too proud. But then I heard her crying to her friends. She formed a family she could rely on, because my shoulder was too jagged to cry on. 

Then I began to notice it everywhere. She was a nurturer. She took something rough, and melted it with soft. She took people by the hand, and walked along their path of life until the could see the light. She was too sweet to ever be the b*tch I was sure she would be.

Once, I saw her waiting alone on a dark bench. I knew she felt alone, because her shoe was tapping, like it did whenever she felt the world of solitude. But she was smiling. It occured to me most people don't smile when there's no one to impress. Especially her, so swamped in teenage friends. But she found a reason to glow inside, all the time, because she wanted to.

I finally drove her to her long owed dance class. She said she'd hate it. I told her trying new things was good, and it was a form of self expression. She complained as she trudged through the door, and only walked onto the dance floor after I promised to do it with her.

She loved it, like I knew she would.  She was hot, and I think she had always been a little afraid of her body. I know she missed the days when she could look like a boy. She never outright said it, but I knew she hated when boys stared at her chest, because she took it to mean she wasn't one of them anymore.

So as I danced with her, I showed her how to be proud. How to love every inch of her body.

After the class, I saw her lingering by the doors, watching the teacher let loose to music. There was desire in her eyes. 

I pulled her from the studio, and drove her home. She suprized me when she admitted to me she loved it. I didn't know it, but I had witnessed her see the girl she would marry, for the first time.

I remember crying at her wedding. My baby sister would always be a fourth grader to me. She looked awkward as she walked down the isle in a dress. She was too spirited to be conformed into stiff motion ensured by long skirts. So she desided to fly. I've never seen anyone so overflowing in positive energy.

It was empty after she moved away. There was a cheery glow missing from my life. I missed her soft smile. I missed her face light up, and highlight all her peculiar freckles.

When she came to visit, she was bloated with pregnancy. I laughed with her and her partner. My heart melted just a little when they walked down the street holding hands.

A bearded guy behind me mumbled something about a three-way with a hot pregnant chick. My body was doused in boiling rage.

That was MY SISTER. Who the hell did he think he was, thinking he could take advantage of the most amazing girl in the world. His lazy stagger and full of himself attitude was poison, and too lowly to even singe the presence of her.

I never hit anyone so hard with words.

She turned. She knew I wasn't behind her and she came back. But not to talk to me. To talk to the scumbag trying to blow me off.

I thought she was going to jump in on my side and shut him up for good. But she pulled him aside. She guided him down the street out of earshot, and I didn't hear what made him laugh as he disappeared around the corner with a smile, and she returned. 

She smiled with a twinkle in her eye, and wouldn't tell me how she'd managed to melt the dam fellow with humor. But I couldn't hide my admiration. I knew he would never forget the girl who blew him mind, and changed his way of seeing women for the rest of his life.

I think about the fellow often. I know his world as been rocked, and I wish there was a sister out there for every egofilled guy. I wish there was a soft soothing voice to melt all the harsh cold anger in the world, and I wish there were more hearts that loved so unconditionally, because the world misses them.

But I am most of all grateful. She shaped my world most of all.

The End

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