Let me introduce you to Ani, the only sister I have, and I happen to think she is one too many.
She is my version from hell, only I can't say it to her face... Not out of fear of hurting her feelings, mind you, but out of fear for my poor limbs; she packs quite a punch.
Ani and I have eight years between us, though at most times I wish it was more like eight miles. So, in order to refine her ways, let me send this public letter:
Darling Hellion of mine,
I remember the times when you were a baby and fast asleep like a cherub, after a long night of wailing and caterwauling, keeping our household, and a couple of others down the road, awake and cursing. Some nights I had to clamp huge pillows around my ears and try to sleep, dreaming of the day I could slowly strangle you, hands or rope, optional.
I remember the time when I would come in racing through the door to hug Mom and would step in a little mess because, m'lady, you hadn't thought of using the facilities provided to you, which I thought were better than the rest of us had to put up with. After all, your facilities came with your personal cleaner, the aforesaid Mom of mine.
I remember the time when all Mom's friends came in with armloads of presents for you and I saw this most amazing shade of green tinge my face in the mirror for two days after that. I remember all our relatives, previously members of my cheerleading team, drooling, fawning and swooning all over you even before you were two minutes old. Not even old enough for a bowl of Maggi, hmph!
I remember Mom lavishing attention on you and me slinking off to a corner, after being told that Her Majesty needs more of her than I do. After all, I am the 'elder one'. This became a dreaded phrase and I hoped it would stay far away from my ears, but I hoped in vain. Ironically, my name means 'hope', funny huh?
In short, my favourite demon, I remember being asked to share everything that had been mine for eight wonderful, exclusive years. Even Papa! And I had a hard time coming to terms with that.
But I also remember seeing you swathed in cloth and feeling I would protect you -- from mosquitoes to monsters. You were so tiny and defenceless. Shh! I wouldn't admit to that in front of witnesses, but you can count on it still.
I hated it when you broke every toy or doll I prized beyond life itself. And it touched me no end when you gave me all your prized possessions.
I did not like sharing Mom and Papa with you because it felt like a loss of proportions that I cannot voice. But I also gained a love that is unconditional and loyalty that will stay with me through thick and thin, success and failure.
I hated it when you screamed for attention and folks poured out of the woodwork, just to comfort you. Later I realised, you saw the tears I hid from others and you wiped them for me.
I thought I would need more attention from everyone that counts in our lives -- I realised your safety and well-being are more important to me than all the attention in the world.
Our wars are legendary in the family, but I swear I will bloody noses if someone so much as looks at you cross-eyed. I can call you the rudest epithets I can come up with and believe me, I can be quite imaginative. But no one else has the right to chastise you for any reason 'cause I know what I say to you comes from my responsibility to you and the desire to see you do well, rather than hurt you.
You are my worst responsibility but I love you anyway. And it took me quite some time to realise that without you being the way you are, I wouldn't be the person I am.
PS: But I still HATE your singing and nothing will change my mind on that!
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