Sibling Rivalry

Dani Jensen

My sister, Victoria, has always been the star of the family. Top of her class since the day she was born. The President of half the clubs at our high school, founding member of the other half. Come graduation, the administration had to ask her to step down as class President so that someone else would have a chance to give a speech. She agreed with all the grace and charm that was expected of her and, a year older than me, left a towering shadow for me to shine under.I replicated her high school career perfectly–better in some aspects. The only thing Victoria did that I did not manage was to get caught kissing Julian Banksy, or anyone for that matter. When she brought the quarterback home for dinner, I couldn’t see why she liked him. He had brutish shoulders and a square chin tickled by peach fuzz. He laughed too loud spoke to quietly, and called her “Vicky,” something she always hated before and since. Julian was my age and in my french class. He couldn’t even pronounce his numbers right. Mom liked him, I could tell, but Victoria and I weren’t stirred.I think the only reason she liked him was because she was supposed to. He completed her Disney-channel-villain life. She had the valedictorian spot, the would-have-been class Presidency, captain of the cheerleaders, equestrian dream jockey, and the quarterback boyfriend to make her popularity unimpeachable. The lower echelon of high school girls, the nerds and the pariahs, the low ranking sluts, hated her as much as they hated me. We were an empire of cool, a duo of irrefutable high school dominance, mistresses of culture, class, and education. But the truth is: I never had much interest in boys.I only ever cared about my best friend, Amy Routhier, who let me braid her wonderful black hair after school.I At Victoria’s graduation party, the whole neighborhood turned up, the whole family. But when I graduated with a 4.0, valedictorian, wrote a speech that was later published for its originality, and bahis siteleri there was no one at my party but my parents and my three best friends. And all of them could only talk about Victoria who had just returned from her first year at Harvard studying medicine. That was when I realized that it didn’t matter how smart I was or how pretty or what I did. So long as Victoria did it before me none of my accomplishments mattered. My parents rolled their eyes when I was accepted to Harvard med school but my sister squealed like a sorority sister in shared or feigned excitement. She had always seemed, at least on the outside, to value our sisterhood. When I saw her room at school for the first time, she had a picture of us in a heart shaped frame that proclaimed “sisters for life” in sickening sequins: two nearly identical blondes smiling perfectly at the camera. I could never tell, not then, if my sister resented me for following her the way I did or if she actually felt the friendship with me that she professed to the world. Victoria is a practiced woman, a performance of correct social graces. Though she detested theater, she could have been the greatest actor of them all. Or perhaps she was genuine and sweet to everyone because she is genuinely sweet.I found that living at school, far away from our parents, was easier than I had imagined. For the first year, I hardly saw my sister. I made my own friends. I scored my own grades. I took an interest in English literature and the French language as a supplement to pre-med. I thought, for once, that I had distanced myself from my sister. I even met a girl.Alex was short haired and butch–she liked to be described that way. She wore beaters and baggy ripped jeans. She never wore underwear. She never wore makeup. I’d never met a lesbian before.For her rough outlook on life and what I took to be her immature tendency towards boyishness, she was intelligent, bright, aware. She was a student of English and canlı bahis siteleri philosophy but had enough sense to pursue biology instead. She wrote poems about rocks and stones and cicadas, all the things that I missed. She taught me about rebellion and rock music, modern art and what it meant to be alive.She took me back to her dorm room one evening to change her shirt. Her breasts tumbled out of their restraints perfect and shapely. I was sitting on her bed, watching her do it. They were small, crested by tight brown nipples. I tried not to stare.”I’ve never been with a boy,” I said then. Something possessed me to say it. I wanted to make conversation to break the awkwardness of seeing her body. I don’t know why I thought confession would make it better.She thought that I wanted to be with a boy then, she promised to help me. She called me her straight friend after that.Eventually, she did help me meet a boy. He looked like Julian Banksy with his broad shoulders and tight muscled arms. She said she knew I would like him. I let him take me to his dorm. Alex watched me go with him from the quad, smiling, waving, and congratulating herself. I went because it made her happy.When the boy closed the doors his hands came on me. He took off my clothes and showed me his penis. I could see myself in his mirror, my blonde locks covering the ends of my nipples. He brushed the hair away and put his mouth on them. I kept looking at myself in his mirror, looking at how close my bare thighs were to his penis. His penis was long and curved upwards, thick and hairy. He told me to suck on it.I did. It tasted like sweat and salt. The hair tasted like oily string. When he was inside of me it felt like he was trying to push me off the bed.When he was finished he told me I could stay the night. He told me I had to meet his friends. I wasn’t sure what that meant. Was I supposed to see their penises too? I didn’t ever want to see another one again. I didn’t want canlı bahis to fuck him again. So I left.Then, Alex wanted me to meet her new girlfriend for lunch.”Bring your new boyfriend,” she said.I told her it didn’t work out.At lunch, I had the tavern burger. It was the same thing Alex ordered while we waited for her girlfriend. When she arrived, she was blonde and beautiful and looked a lot like me.”This is Victoria,” said Alex, introducing me to my own sister.When the confusion had cleared away and our food had arrived, I was, for the first time, angry with my sister. I knew it wasn’t her fault for getting there before me, I knew it probably wasn’t her fault that we both turned out the same way. But in this, I was first. I knew that I had no interest in men since high school, though, in reflection I didn’t realize this fully until we had lunch with Alex.By then, I don’t think Victoria had realized that our lives were a competition of firsts. But to me, it was a race of who would be the first to come out to our parents. And of course, whether she knew it or not, Victoria won.She called Mom up from her dorm room one night with Alex and I waiting in the room for moral support.”Mom, I need to tell you something and there is someone for you to meet.”That was the first time I ever held Alex’s hand. She knew she would be put on the phone and she told me she needed the support of her “straight best friend” to get her through it.”Yes, it’s someone I’m dating.”I could hear Alex holding her breath, wondering if Victoria would go through with it.”Mom, I’m gay,” Victoria said and Alex let out her breath and squeezed my hand. She was happy. They were happy.I knew then that I could never tell my parents about me or my jealousy would be exposed. I knew that I had to show myself for who I was to my sister, to my parents, and to Alex, but I couldn’t do it the way my sister did. I could think of only one way to accomplish these goals, only one way to finally set myself apart from my sister, only one way to exact my revenge–and I realized that it was revenge, revenge for every year that I had sulked in Victoria’s shadow, every moment of my existence that wasn’t in my sister’s limelight.

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