Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Short story- Fields of Gold

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Fiction

This is something I wrote years ago, back in college or maybe school. The obvious inspiration for it was Georgette Heyer, I’m not a fan of romantic fiction or chicklit but Heyer’s ability to paint complete pictures of the era she wrote about blew me away. And the women in the stories had a personality for once, they may have swooned and needed rescuing sometimes, but a lot of times, they were the ones in control, an obviously stark contrast to your typical “girly” novel. I suppose this was my attempt to write something similar, and was inspired by a painting of a ship my aunt had made. Hopefully, its not as bad as I think it is. I mean, I know its pretty bad, but it must have some sort of saving grace to it. I hope.

She’s admiring the hat in the shop window when she hears a snatch of conversation from two women passing her by, and all she catches is “ship” and “returning today.” Her heartbeat quickens, and she turns to her aunt and chaperone, murmurs a faint excuse about the headache. Aunt  seems to believe it, considering that her young ward’s gone pale, her cheeks flushed and her eyes bright. They settle in the chaise, and once they’re home, she retires to her bedroom under the pretense of resting.

Once she’s in the sanctuary of her own room however, she gives in to the trembling excitement she’d been fighting in her aunt’s company, and rummages through a box of odds and ends, coming at last to the small miniature of him that he’d had made specially for her before he left. She remembered stealing away secretly at Almack’s with her friends, curious and wondering if he was going to propose, only to have her world crash down around her.

“Please don’t go,” she begged, tears in her eyes. “Please Matthew, if you love me at all, you won’t go!”

“I’ll be fine darling, I will,” he said reassuringly. “I just have to see to some business, that’s all. I’ll be back before you even know I’m gone.”

“No,” she said, shaking her head vigorously. “It won’t-Matthew, I can’t help but feel something terrible will happen if you leave!”

“As long as we love each other, that is all that matters,” he said firmly. “Our love is all that matters.”

“No it’s not Matthew, don’t give me that,” she said fiercely. “Do not insult me by speaking to me as if I were just out of the schoolroom! What if the worst should happen? What am I to do without you?”  Her voice broke and she whispered, “How am I to live without you?”

“You won’t have to,” he whispered, gripping her hands tightly. He slid off the ring on his finger, the signet ring he wore, and slipped it on hers. “I’ll come back and we shall be married. That’s a promise.”

She’s startled out of her nostalgic musings by a knock on her door, and hastily calls for her maid to enter. The girl herself is all agog, speaking in hushed whispers and confirming what she had suspected; the ships had returned.

Her heart sings with joy, and she wonders when he would call upon her. There is to be a soiree that night, and while she had initially thought of declining on account of the headache, she now commands the maid to bring forth her best dress-no not that one, the pale blue silk!-(He told her once that she reminded him of a field of bluebells he’d once stumbled upon) and her heart flutters with excitement at the thought of seeing him again.

At the soiree, she makes a fetching figure, with her hair gathered in a chignon knot, decorated with small gemstones, ringlets escaping to frame her face. Her pale neck is accented by a gold chain necklace of dark rubies accenting her painted red lips.As she exchanges pleasantries with friends and suitors, her eye constantly on the door. His partner enters, and makes his way over to her with a strained smile. Her heart sinks and she excuses herself from her present company to go meet him.

“My brother sends a message,” he says quietly, without any preamble. “He-He can not return at the moment. He begs you to wait, and to remember his promise.”

Her eyes start to sting with tears, and she manages to nod in affirmation, swallowing the lump in her throat and accepting his offer to stand up with her at the next dance. That night, she’s the perfect example of a lady, but when she gets home, she flings herself on the bed and sobs her eyes out, her maid hovering anxiously over her, wondering how much longer she must wait.

**********

It’s been five years when he returns. She’s at home, reading in the library when her butler comes to her frazzled, saying some gentleman insists on seeing her and wishes to leave his name undisclosed. Her curiosity aroused, she asks to let him in, ignoring the fusty old man’s disapproving gaze as he nods in acquiescence to her command. If she wanted to fear decorum and propriety, she would not have worried so little of the gossip whispered about her in her youth. When he strides in, she feels like she’s that young girl again, out to her first Assembly, seeing the big, handsome looking man walk in and own the room with his mere presence, swept away on a whirlwind romance lasting years. He smiles at her, his eyes crinkling up the way they used to, and says, “I made you a promise didn’t I?”

At that moment, a little boy rushes in, calling, “Mama, Mama, there’s a ghost in my bedroom!” She sees the look in his eyes, the betrayal, introduces her son to him, not knowing how to introduce him, the man who’d almost ruined her. Indeed, he must have thought the grand house to belong to her brother, for surely, if she had carried out her plans to set up an establishment with a governess (all before she found a reason to favour marriage of course) she would never have lived in such a lavish fashion, despite her vast inheritance, or her brother’s doting nature.

Her son reassured of the lack of spirits in his bedroom by his mother and kissed goodnight, is escorted out by the maid, leaving her alone with him. Neither of them speaks; there’s nothing to say.

“You know how it is for an unmarried woman Matthew,” she finally says. “We carried out our romance for two years, wanting to wait for the right time. And you left and never returned and they began to talk, and-they gossiped about us Matthew. Said you’d jilted me. They said you’d died. I had to ,I was facing a life alone, though I seldom cared for the gossips- my husband loves me.”

“But you don’t love him?” he asks, hope shining in his eyes.

She looks down, unable to answer. “He will be returning from White’s soon,” she finally says. “If you wish to see him-“

The butler enters, announces her husband’s presence, and she immediately goes to him, her eyes pleading that he remains civil. He is as blunt and rough as Matthew was-had been- sweet and gentle.

“The man who jilted you eh?” he says, looking Matthew up and down. “I owe you my thanks. I wouldn’t have such a lovely wife if it weren’t for you.”

“Her loveliness is surpassed by her intelligence and good humor. At least in my eyes,” Matthew replies disdainfully.

“It was what drew me to her in the first place,” Michael retorts, and she can’t help but gaze at him adoringly.

Matthew sees it, and he knows how she felt when he’d left her so long ago. She quickly looks at him, a look of longing in her eyes, wanting what could have been. Then she goes to a small box lying on a bookshelf, seemingly ornamental. It’s a pretty trinket, black and the lid carved into a peacock, with gems decorating its fan of wings. What lies inside though, was once more precious than this box. She opens it, and retrieving something approaches him. “This belongs to you,” she says quietly.

“Keep it,” he says, choking out the words. “It was a gift. Like my love.”

“You left me!” she bursts out, angry. “You left me.”

“My dear, it’s late,” Michael interrupts. “You should go to bed. Leave us gentlemen to our talk. Would you like a cigar Matthew?”

“I thank you, but I must beg your leave,” he says quietly. “You have a lovely home, and a lovelier family.”

Once he’s gone, Michael takes her in his arms, not saying anything as she sobs out her grief. He leads her to the armchair, getting her a glass of brandy, sitting there on the floor looking up at her, holding her hand as she weeps. When her tears are dried up, he says, “Will you leave me thus? Say nay, say for shame, to save thee from the blame of all my grief and grame! “

She can’t help smiling, and clasps the hand resting loosely in her lap. She married him out of necessity, and he, out of infatuation. He asked for her hand knowing she loved another, and stayed with her for all these years.

He rests his head in her lap, and speaks, so low she barely hears him, words unfamiliar on his tongue, “I could not live without you.”

Her hand rests on his hair, slowly stroking it. She looks at the ring she’s still holding in her hand, once a promise, and now, remnants of the child she used to be. She remembers how Matthew used to look at her, love and devotion shining in his eyes. Sees the same look intensified in Michael’s intent gaze. “You won’t have to,” she says simply.

2010

Posted: February 9, 2013 in Fiction

I’m trying out something new. I’m finally brave enough to venture sharing some- note, SOME- of the more tolerable fiction I’ve written in the past. I pretty much dropped it like a hot potato when I figured out that a) I suck and b) I really love journalism and blogging. So here you go, the grand ole fiction experiment.

This little fellow here though, he’s brand new. Just wrote him right now because I’d been upset earlier about a friend whose sister was beaten by her boyfriend for all three years of their relationship. The woman is seriously traumatized because she was scared the boy would spread rumours about her. Sick, no?

Why do you like me?

You don’t give me any attitude and you’re simple. Plus you’re cute.

Later, much later, he was more honest.

I had a feeling that you were the easy sort. I figured you were just acting like a Catholic schoolgirl, and even if you weren’t, I knew I could easily coax you into bed by saying I loved you.

At least he was clear about his intentions. Much later. Made it obvious that he wasn’t interested in a relationship. She just wasn’t his type, and that’s not a crime, two people just aren’t made for each other sometimes.

You think I’d ever date a girl who my friends know I fool around with? That I’d introduce such a girl to my mother?

He never did get used to her, after all. She was always too blunt, too straight-forward. Never pretended, never kept secrets, always up front about everything.

Did you just slap me? Did you seriously just- what the FUCK?!

Listen, it’s your fault. You think I was going to let you stand there cussing at me, and let you get away with it? That I won’t react if you use rude language with me?

She was too clingy, too needy. All those daddy issues worked themselves out in epic kinks, but unfortunately, it made her desperate for male attention, male validation. And the more it was denied to her, the more she sought it. The clingier, needier she got. And her hot temper didn’t help matters either.

That hurts! *sobs*

Look, you shoved me okay? You can’t just shove someone and not expect to be punched in return.

*continues sobbing*

Oh come on baby. You know I didn’t mean it. I’ll be nicer to you, promise. It’s your fault, you know I get angry easily. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I’d hit you so hard. I don’t know my own strength.

She hisses in pain suddenly and leans forward on her chair, remembering the sting of nails digging into her back, marks left by teeth that had her sleeping on her stomach for days.

Absent-mindedly, her fingers brush her left eye, remembering how it had purpled, bruised, so many times.

Her thigh twinges in pained memory of a cricket bat smacked into her, fortunately missing her knee, but still making her limp for most of the next week.

She wakes up in the middle of the night, sweating and tears running down her cheeks, the nightmares all too real.

No, stop I don’t want to. Ugh, no, I’m not in the mood. Stop it, get away. Please stop. No, let go! Stop it, please stop you’re scaring me, I don’t want this, stop it just stop, please!

The year ended. So did they. Life went on. Or did it?

Never forget. Never forgive. That’s always been her policy in life. Some things though, she wishes she could forget. Some memories, you can never escape.

Haunted.

Billie Joe Armstrong croons from the speakers about wanting to wake up after September ends.

She wonders if she’s ever going to wake up from 2010.

I have a little 5-year old niece who loves spending time with me. Since I’m the youngest, all the children in the family like me more, plus, lets face it, my immaturity appeals to them. My niece randomly wants me to tell her stories, and as all little girls do, prefers stories about princesses. I don’t particularly like any of the princess stories out there, so I make up my own. Naturally, they’re not particularly conventional stories. For example, our favorite catchphrase is me asking her, “What does a real princess do?!” My niece responds with, “A real princess doesn’t wait for a prince to save her, she kicks butt on her own.” When I ask, “When the prince gets there, what does she do?” My niece replies with, “She dusts off her hands and says, dude, what took you so long?”

This is one of the stories I’ve told her, and among her favorites.

The Little Princess Who Wanted To Be A Doctor

Once upon a time, there was a little princess who lived in a far-off kingdom. Now this little princess wasn’t very beautiful, or very ugly. She was pleasant to look at, but wasn’t extraordinarily pretty. She had dark hair and dark eyes, and her skin wasn’t pure and fair, as beautiful princesses were supposed to be. She had an olive complexion, and normal looking lips, not ruby-red lips. She wasn’t particularly fond of singing, and she didn’t play any musical instruments with dazzling expertise, even though she enjoyed playing the piano and the cello. She was of average height, and had a 28 inch waist, instead of 24 like princesses were supposed to have. She didn’t wear tightening corsets to pinch her figure smaller either, nor did she eat a slice of bread and one lettuce leaf per day, as princesses are supposed to so they’ll look beautiful. She ate creamy pasta and meats with gravy, and in the evening, she’d play out in the garden with her handmaidens, and come back with her not-very-white cheeks flushed from exertion, instead of looking pale and delicate as princesses are supposed to.

Now even though this princess wasn’t as beautiful as she was supposed to be, everyone liked her because she was very smart. She loved to read, and she could spend hours holed up in the royal library, poring away at her father’s texts on politics, law, religion, philosophy, and many other tomes that a princess has no business to be reading. When people gifted her the sorts of books princesses are supposed to read, like books about enchanted castles with fair-haired damsels in distress that are saved by a dashing prince, she would use the book to light the fireplace in her room, because she disliked such books.

The princess was very kind too. She always wanted to help people, and to see them happy and unharmed. She loved animals, and could often be found down in the kitchens with a new stray animal she’d adopted every single day. She loved spending time in her father’s stables with his horses, and she didn’t just ride the horses, she would also rub them down afterward and feed them and take care of them, getting grubby in the process, though a princess had no place doing such manly work. Her favorite pet was a fierce wolf-dog, who guarded her and played with her all the time, even though everyone knows a princess is only supposed to keep a parrot or a kitten as a pet.

Now as this princess grew up, the time came for her to graduate high school. When she graduated, the people asked her what she would do next. All princesses are supposed to marry after the tenth grade. That’s why their fathers send them to school, even though its such a burden as girls do not earn like boys do, and their fathers have to spend more money on them. But instead of saying she would get married, the princess gravely replied, “I’m going to go to med school.”

Naturally, this created a huge uproar. All the kingdom was in pandemonium. How could a mere girl even think of becoming a doctor? Careers were for men, because they were big and strong and hardened by the world, not by soft, sensitive girls, who were too emotional and lacking sensibility, and would often be irrational. A girl’s primary function was to marry, keep a good home for her husband, be thankful and loving to him for providing her with a stable life, and bear him children, and keep his house clean, and cook for him, and sew for him, and wash his clothes, and polish his shoes, and be devoted to him, as if he was a god for her, and to unflinchingly offer her body to him, as marriage meant that he could do anything he wanted to her.

The king was furious. How dare a female child embarrass him thusly, he roared. How dare a girl speak of a career! The shame! The horror! As a girl, the princess was supposed to uphold the family honour, not trample upon it in the mud!

The princess listened to her father’s raging calmly, sipping her tea, and then went to bed. The next day, before her father rose, she awakened, put on her finest dress, perched a new pair of spectacles on her nose, and went to the biggest college in the kingdom. When the headmaster met with her, she explained to him that she wanted to study in his college. The headmaster  laughed and laughed and laughed, until he saw she was serious. Then he sternly explained to the princess that a girl had no place in a college, and that the princess shouldn’t be shaming her father in such a disgraceful way by speaking of such unladylike things.

This was the response the princess got in all 20 colleges in the kingdom’s capital, where she lived. Then, just as she was wondering if she should go to the other cities of the kingdom, her handmaiden told her of another college that the princess had forgotten about. Instead of a headmaster, the college had a headmistress, which was why no one liked that college. The king had only allowed the headmistress to run the college because she was not married, and everyone felt sorry for her, as marriage is the prime reason for a girl’s existence. But no one ever wanted to study there, as the shame of studying at a college run by a woman was too much for the male students of the kingdom. Only really poor boys, or boys who were expelled from other universities, or who were not smart or strong or rich enough to go to the good colleges attended that college.

When the princess met the headmistress, and explained that she wanted to study in the medical field, the headmistress couldn’t believe her ears. But when she saw that the princess was serious, she agreed to do so, on the condition that the princess would protect the college from shutting down as a result of her father’s rage, which the princess agreed to.

So, the princess started studying in the college. All the male students were rude to her, and would try to pinch her bottom or her chest, because they all thought she was an immoral girl for shaming her father and daring to study. But the princess had learned to fence in the royal castle, and she was allowed to carry a sword as the headmistress understood that she would be bullied, so the boys quickly learned to stay clear of the princess’s wrath. When they didn’t, the princess would challenge them to a duel in public, and as men are strong and brave, they could not refuse, but could never win, due to the princess’s skill in swordplay.

As the years passed, the male students learned to respect the princess, because she was the brightest, most eager student. When any student would dare mock her for dishonoring her father, ten swords would draw before the princess’s own sword in her defense. This also stopped quickly, as those ten well-meaning boys faced the princess’s wrath for daring to fight her battles for her, even if they did it out of respect for the princess.

But when the princess graduated, no one was willing to let her work in their hospitals. They all told her that if a girl worked for them, not only would it look bad for the hospital, but as girls are incapable of doing anything but cooking, cleaning, keeping house, and taking care of children, then they would have more patients dying because girls are inept, and the princess wouldn’t treat them properly like a clever, intelligent male doctor would.

However, as with her college, there was one hospital that was run by a woman. This woman had been very pretty in her youth, but her father died in a hunting accident, so no one wanted to marry her, as she would not have a dowry without a father to provide it, and a lack of dowry is a matter of great shame for a girl, since she is not being given away as a present, but rather, sold off to whoever is willing. So because of that, the king allowed the woman to run the hospital since everyone felt sorry for her, but like the princess’s college, no one really worked there unless they were refused entry everywhere else.

This woman also agreed to let the princess work at her hospital, because the princess had the highest test scores, and had graduated with distinction, and had always been top of her class. And so, the princess started practicing as a doctor. She loved helping people in this way, even though a lot of patients would often refuse to be treated by her since she was a woman. But because mostly poor patients came there, they didn’t have much of a choice. Sometimes, the woman who ran the hospital would lie and say there were no other doctors, so the princess would have a chance to work, and this way, the patients had no other way to get healed.

As the princess kept working, the poor patients of the hospital spread word of what a good doctor she was. Then, more and more people would come and ask for her to treat them, because everyone told them how she saved so many lives. As word spread, the nobility also heard of this woman who was a doctor, and at first, they came to the hospital only to laugh at her, as if she was some poor animal stolen from its natural habitat and locked away in a zoo. But when they saw how patiently she’d treat them, even when they pretended to have an ailment just for the chance of seeing her, they also started coming to her for healing. The bigger hospitals that had refused to let the princess work were alarmed, as they were losing their rich patients, whose donations and agreement to pay the outrageous bills of the fancy hospitals were what kept them running. Eventually, they had to beg the princess to work for them, just so their profits wouldn’t suffer. But the princess refused to work for them, since they had refused her when she needed a job.

As more and more rich patients came to her, they also made donations to the hospital as gratitude. Then the hospital grew larger and had better facilities. The woman running the hospital was very happy, and everyone respected her a lot, because she was the only one who had recognized the princess’s potential where everyone had failed. Because of this, the woman and the princess told everyone that the princess wouldn’t have been such a good doctor, if it hadn’t been for the headmistress who’d let the princess study at her college. Then the grateful nobility made donations to the college as well, and sent their sons to study there, and no one pitied the headmistress anymore, but instead, respected her for running such a good college.

Then, as little girls who had been born at the time of the princess’s high school graduation grew up, they told their parents they wanted to be just like the princess who was a doctor. Because that princess was so respected, those little girls were allowed to study beyond high school, because their parents wanted their little girls to be respected and admired just as the princess was. But the princess was still not married, and all her suitors were rejected, because they only wanted to marry her as her father, the king, would pay a handsome dowry. When the parents of those little girls saw that the princess rejected suitors seeking dowry, they also did the same for their daughters. This meant their daughters married men they loved and who respected those girls and saw them as equals, not as damsels in distress, so the parents knew their little girl would be happy, and they did not have to spend their whole lives working themselves to death for the sake of a daughter’s dowry. Nor was having too many female children considered a burden, as girls would study and go on to become doctors, artists, writers, engineers, scientists, etc. and work hard and contribute to the family’s income.

No one knows what happened to the princess, or whether she married or spent her life alone. But one thing is for sure, whether she had a man by her side or not, the princess spent her life happily, working at what she loved to do i.e. helping people by healing them. She opened up many schools, colleges, hospitals, animal hospitals, etc. for people as well, specially for girls. She was never too proud to grub about in the stables as in her youth, or run through the fields with her wolf-dog and her puppies. She was never beautiful like a princess should be, or quiet like a princess should be. She wasn’t soft-spoken like a princess should be, and she had strong opinions on serious issues, which princesses aren’t supposed to do. She was neat enough, but not fastidious and anal about keeping the house clean as princesses are meant to be. She didn’t really like cooking, and preferred take-out, which a princess must never do. She always spoke her mind, and never talked like she wasn’t that smart, like a good princess should do, so no one is alienated by an intelligent girl. She worked hard, helped people, and died happily, with or without a man by her side. Everyone mourned the loss of their unconventional princess, and erected a monument to her in the kingdom’s capital, so that no one would forget the little princess who dared to dishonor her father, and thus, changed the lives of all the little girls that came after her, and might have died without ever marrying, but still died with a smile on her lips, the smile that one gives when they know that they have lived a full, contented life.

The End.

Valentine’s was a tough time for me this year not cause of the sappy reasons but cause a week earlier, I’d gone through some seriously shitty things. I was miserable and alienated and lonely, and here was this holiday of, for lack of a better word, fucing togetherness shoving itself in my face every chance it got. I had two options; wallow in self-pity or do something about it. I chose the latter, and decided to make my favorite sister my Valentine. Pathetic I know, but I adore my sister. Most days, she’s the only one I like in my family. Anyway, I got her a lot of cheesy presents, and one of them was this story. I told her once that one day, I’ll write a book based on the title and she hated it despite my constant explanations of how the title is supposed to be ironic and shit, so I decided to write the short version of this for her. Anyway, the little girl story format is something an old friend made up for me when I was torturing him on Skype to tell me a story and its one that I’ve grown fond of. So without further ado…

My Sister, The Enemy:

I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see,

I sought my God but my God eluded me,

I sought my sister, and I found all three.

For the better part of my life, I have no memory of my sister. My memories make it clear that somewhere in the blurry haze that is my life, she was there, somewhere in the background. But I have no memory of her.

But that’s the thing about people that matter. You don’t know they’re there, because you take them for granted, assuming they will always be there, a vague, comforting presence in the background as you battle it out with the Fates to carve out your place in the world.

**********
If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child. 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl that lived in a little village with her parents and brothers and sisters. And because this little girl was the youngest, therefore, she was always petted and cosseted by everyone, and generally spoiled like a little princess. While her siblings would often get scolded for misbehaving, often it would happen that the little girl would not, with her father protesting that no one was allowed to scold his little girl. And the little girl was very happy in her own little world, with her siblings and parents and school-friends.

As time passed, the little girl’s eldest sister was married off, and she was left with a sister she hardly knew, and a brother that was more a boy that lived in her house, rather than a sibling that she’d have any kind of relationship with. Now the little girl’s second-eldest sister was left with the responsibility of two young siblings to take care of. She had always had her older sister to do that for her, but now, the responsibility fell on her. And therefore, the little girl clung to her newly-discovered sister, having no one else to turn to.

My sister taught me everything I really need to know, and she was only in sixth grade at the time.

As time passed, the little girl grew to be good friends with the sister she’d just discovered, and was happier than ever. But, all good things must end eventually, and for the little girl, this came as she started to grow up. One day, as the little girl watched one of her favorite TV shows, the little girl’s newly discovered sister banned her from the TV, telling their parents that the little girl was watching a frightening show that children couldn’t watch. That night, the little girl was furious at her sister, and cried herself to sleep. Thinking she’d had a nightmare, the little girl’s newly discovered sister tried to help, telling her to close her eyes and pretend she was a powerful witch that no one  could defeat, not even the monsters in her dreams. Angered further, the little girl, for the first time since she’d discovered her other sister, turned away from her own sibling.

The little girl had many friends, people that she was quite fond of, even if they weren’t the kind of people adults would approve of. One day, her newly discovered sister found out about some unsavoury friends that the little girl had, and told her elder married sister, who told their mom, thus angering the little girl, who was furious. As the youngest, the little girl had always done what she wanted, and such interference greatly angered her. For days and days, she didn’t talk to her newly discovered sister, who tried to make her see that such bad people were not her friends at all, but the little girl didn’t want to listen to any of it.

A toast once heard:  “To my big sister, who never found her second Easter egg until I’d found my first.” 

Another time, as the little girl read a book for adults, her newly-discovered sister confiscated the book, telling her that some things were not meant to be seen until the proper time. The little girl was livid with rage, as always, but her newly discovered sister stuck by her decision, insisting that one day, the little girl would be glad to be reading things at the right time when she could fully understand them.

As the little girl grew up, the time came for her to go to college, and the newly discovered sister once again meddled, convincing the family that the little girl should not be allowed to pursue what she wanted to study as it was not beneficial for her. Against her better judgment, the little girl was forced to study something else, angered at her sister for interfering in her matters once again.

As the years passed, the little girl changed, and became a different person, an angry person embittered by her own self-destructive tendencies and all the evil she saw around her. And as she clashed more and more with her newly discovered sister, she grew angrier and angrier, despite the newly discovered sister’s attempts to save her little sister. And finally, one day, the little girl had had enough. She told her sister that she couldn’t tolerate her anymore, or their family, and thus, the little girl left her parents and her family and her home and went off into the world alone, where no one would constantly interfere in her matters.

And now, dear sister, I must leave this house or the retreating army will make me a prisoner in it by filling up the road I am directed to take.

Now that the little girl was alone, she had to somehow make her own way into the world. Luckily for her, she was armed with an education, and found a place to work easily enough, a place which let her speak about all the evils around her, and attempt to change such evils, and try to make a difference in the world, and she remembered how years ago, her newly discovered sister had forced her to change paths, leading her to this point in her life, when she was doing what she was meant to do, what she loved to do, and she fleetingly wondered if this would be the case if the little girl had been allowed her own way, but she quickly squashed the thought, because her newly discovered sister and family was what she was running from.

And though the little girl didn’t have her family anymore, she did have her friends, people she cared for dearly, and even though they were all caught up in their own lives, the little girl knew she had people she could count on. But one day, the little girl’s dearest friend quarreled with her, and told the little girl that he couldn’t tolerate her anymore and ended their friendship. And the little girl cried bitter tears, unable to comprehend that her closest friend was no longer her friend, and fleetingly remembered how her newly discovered sister had warned her against her friends, against this particular friend the most, but as always, she squashed such thoughts.

I know some sisters who only see each other on Mother’s Day and some who will never speak again. But most are like my sister and me- linked by volatile love, best friends who make other best friends ever so slightly less best.

Now as the little girl tried to make her own life, and tried to help people, she made enemies with people, powerful, evil people, who didn’t like how the little girl was trying to dismantle their empires and conspiracies and well-manipulated plans. Thus, the little girl was constantly in danger, and was hurt and beaten and attacked and at risk of losing her life. Though the little girl insisted on fighting for the greater good, there were times when she was frightened and unable to cope with the dangers around her. At such times, the little girl would close her eyes and pretend to be a powerful witch whom no one could defeat, just like in her favorite stories, squashing the memory of how she’d learned this trick in the first place.

There can be no situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not administer some comfort to me.

And as the years passed by, the little girl learned many things, and read many books, learning all about the world and people and great empires of the past, and was able to learn and understand, because now, though still the little girl, she had matured, and had the capacity to understand such lofty ideas, things she couldn’t have been able to comprehend as a child, and squashed the thought of how it was a good thing she hadn’t read such things when she was young.

The mildest, drowsiest sister has been known to turn tiger if her sibling is in trouble.

As time passed by, the little girl, though being successful and beloved by the people she helped, became unbearably lonely. As friends got their own lives, and co-workers grew jealous and hostile due to the little girl’s success, the little girl realized that she didn’t have anyone to share in her joys and fears and achievements and failures, no one to stand beside her, and the thought of that greatly saddened the little girl. One day, unable to cope, the little girl bade the people that loved her farewell, and once again, set out in the world, trying to find some peace for herself.

Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.

And as the little girl traveled the world, she met many different people, good and bad, strange and unique, and made many friends and acquaintances, and saw many new and wondrous things. But though all the things she saw were fascinating , she still couldn’t find any peace. And one day, as the little girl walked on, she found herself surrounded by familiar hills and flowers that she had somehow seen before, and she realized she was back home in her village. Unable to cope with the idea of facing her family, who she’d run away from, the little girl took a detour, walking higher up in the hills so she could be alone. And as the little girl sat there, all alone, she contemplated her life, and all that she’d done, and all the decisions that had led her to this point, when she had everything but was still so lonely and unhappy. But then, the little girl realized there was someone sitting beside her, and she turned to see who it was, and found it to be a grizzled, older version of her newly discovered sister. That was when the little girl saw her mistake, because all this time she’d thought that she was alone, and had to take on life without anyone to support her or watch over her, but she had been wrong, because if not in body, then in spirit, there had always been someone by her side, ready to support her, encourage her, protect her from any mistakes she might make and ensure that she had a good life filled with success and happiness. All this the little girl finally understood as she saw the one person that had always been by her side no matter what, the person that in her foolishness and childish pride, she had always seen as her sister, the enemy.

She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.