Monday, June 7, 2010

Two Different Faces

I just finished reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, and really enjoyed it. The book follows the lives of two sisters, Pearl and May, through life and love. When I finished the book I started thinking about the relationship I have with my siste. My oldest sister moved out when I was 10 yrs old. I didn't really get to know her until my mid 20's. But Susan and I were like two peas in a pod. She is only 11 months older than me. I began drawing several parallels between Pearl and May and Susan and me.
One known for her beauty, one known for her wit and smarts. I was in the shadows, always a step back. She was the favoured one. She was the one who got to play sports, she had all the popular boys chase her, won the beauty pagaents.
I am not sure how she felt about me. I was the baby -the little bambino with all the dark hair.  Being the older one, she got the new bigger room when our older sister moved away. I was thrilled the day she moved out of our room,and yet I would crawl into her bed everytime I had a bad dream (that was most nights). She hated that and would only give the very edge of the bed to sleep on. I didn't care, I felt so safe there beside her. I loved to share our clothes, Susan hated me going into her closet or borrowing her pretty things.
I am sure Susan had some complaints about me. Petty jealouslies even. I was shocked when she voiced the complaint about my first boyfriend in university. "He has blond hair!. Ann never dates a guy with blond hair! She is trying to find a guy that looks like my Todd!" I was shocked and surprised to hear these words. No I didn't want a boy that looked like her man. And the relationship with the blond lasted a very, very short time. And yes, I do prefer brunettes, which I never realised until that moment.
Although we would fight, no argue or squabble sounds more like it, we were best friends. Defending each other to the ends of the earth. Laugh and play until Mom would yell "you two, go to sleep". We worked at the same jobs. We would play tricks on our friends by switching the phone back and forth from me to her (no one could tell can tell our voices apart). We were known as "the Smith girls". The first time I knew how much she loved me was when she put my name down for Miss Congenality in the local pagaent (She was the only one who put my name down). And then when she offered to help us be parents -finding us a clinic, offering to help with the costs. She is one of my biggest encouragers and supporters.
Although we live in different countries, nothing can break the bond between us. When we are together, it is like we were never separated and we pick up where left off.
I could go on and on about all the trouble we used to get into together, the many nights of playing kick the can in the neighbors yard, the rivalries and little things she has done to show me how much she loves me but then I would have to write a book.


  1. Hi Ann, I feel like I should comment to let you know that I found your blog and added it to my reader - posts like this make me feel like an intruder, but I suppose you can expect intruders with a public blog. This post is beautiful and reminds me of my relationship with my sister. It also makes me realize how much I think Nora wishes she had been part of your "Smith girls" clique... she often tells us about people saying that Roy and Laurel Anne only had 3 kids.

  2. Two different faces...but in tight places...we think and we act as one. Sisters...Sisters...

  3. The first time I heard that, I was shocked because my life would not be complete without Nora and Neil. Sadly, I didn't even really get to know either of my older sibs until I became an adult and now distance and busy lives separate us too too much.
    Glad you liked the post and so appreciate your comments. I think you would really enjoy Shanghai Girls. It's a great summer read.
    I'll work hard on getting up to see Nora, you and all the Clark clan.

  4. Tammy, that is one of my favorite songs.