I’m sitting at the table in my sister’s dining room. There is a real feast before me; steak with mushroom sauce, rustic home-made chips, a side of salad. A half-empty bottle of beer sits sweating beside my plate. I feel spoiled. I am slightly tipsy.
Sophie and I are locked in conversation, discussing various aspects of our past, sharing our stories, comparing our experiences. I have always felt comfortable confiding in my younger sister. I feel comfortable now. We eat and we drink and we talk. I tell her more about myself than I am willing to admit to most people. I am not afraid. I know she loves me.
We finish our meals and carry our plates to the kitchen. Sophie offers me another drink, but I know I’ve had enough. I stand in the doorway and watch my sister rinsing the plates and placing them in the doorway, and as I watch I remember...
We’re standing on the back lawn and it’s raining. We’ve been playing pole tennis, but now we’re just hanging around talking. For some reason we’re not worried about getting wet. We’re having fun. Sophie’s pupils have dilated in the fading light and she looks cute, like a cartoon character. I kind of want to hug her, but I don’t.
“Who’s your best friend?” I ask. I am hopeful.
“Andrea,” she says. “Why?”
I’m not sure what to say. Her answer was not what I wanted to hear. I’d thought that we’d been sharing a moment. I’d thought that she’d known exactly what I was thinking. I’m so lonely here. I hate Tauranga, I hate it. I have no friends anymore, my little sister is all I have now.
“You’re my best friend,” I tell her. I don’t care that I sound like a total nerd. I just need her to know.
My little sister
It's been 14 years, and I still feel that way.