Today I came to the conclusion that my sister is trying to destroy me. Now I’m not saying she is being purposefully malicious or even vengeful but I think she must get some kind of sick kick out of watching me have nervous breakdowns (ruining my life). Even letting her proof read this (for my own safety before I release it into the ether lest it come back to hurt me) has proven that point because she hasn’t stop laughing at all of my misfortune.
Let me rewind a little and give you a few scenarios to get the context for this conclusion.
When my sister Andrea was 2 years old she wandered away from Mother and me in a giant Westfield shopping centre. I, the ever dutiful and obedient child, was staying close to mum as she had explicitly ordered and Andrea was next to me. We were in a shoe store perusing the aisles of footwear when before we even had a chance to blink Andrea was gone!
The series of events that ensued were akin to a high-stakes hostage situation movie where I expected Bruce Willis to turn up at any moment and save us all. The entire shopping centre had to go into lock down as both security and the police were called. Nobody was allowed to leave until the missing girl was found. The next few hours were the most concentrated display of stress and emotional turmoil that I had ever experienced. (I was only 4 after all. To this day it’s still one of the scariest things to ever happen to me.) My mother was trying to keep it together while searching every nook and cranny of that shopping centre and I was sitting numbly with my grandmother wondering how we were going to tell dad that we had lost Andrea. Luckily for us tragedy was averted when the head of security appeared as if from the mists of Avalon with Andrea trailing beside him, a dazed expression on her tiny, chubby face. She was in her diapers, with her pants around her ankles, grinning as she shuffled slowly towards us with a roll of toilet paper grasped in her tiny chubby hands like a trophy. That image will forever be seared into my memory. If we weren’t all so traumatised it would actually have been a hilarious sight. Turns out she had needed to use the bathroom and instead of asking mum to take her like any logical person would do she thought she would just wander off on her own. The only problem was that her tiny brain hadn’t been able to process that once she had pushed the doors to enter the bathrooms she would then need to PULL the door to get back out. She was nowhere near tall enough to grab that door handle and definitely did not possess the upper body strength that would be required to actually pull it open. So she sat there. In the toilets. With her pants down. Holding a roll of toilet paper. Finally security thought to check all the bathrooms and found her in a state of shock, clutching that toilet paper for dear life.
Flash forward to the winter of 2006, my sister and I are 12 and 14 years old respectively. Our family was living in Europe at the time and we decided to take a ski trip to Bulgaria. It was the first time my sister or I had seen snow having grown up in Sydney Australia. We had definitely never skied before. Andrea and I took lessons on the first day while my mother sledded around with my baby brother and dad took to the more advanced slopes as he was a strong skier. After a day of lessons Andrea concluded that she was invincible and was ready to take on the big slopes. I on the other had would have much rather rolled around in the snow with my baby brother in the safety of the baby slopes, but because I was responsible for sticking with my sister I had to go on the big slopes with her. I had a full-fledged nervous breakdown at the start of our first ski run while Andrea reveled in being allowed to ski with the grown-ups. I eventually managed calm down as my survival instincts kicked in and I somehow got to the bottom with a combination of skiing, falling over and sliding on my butt half way down the mountain.The next few days I gained some confidence but nowhere near the level that Andrea had accumulated. At this stage I’m pretty sure she thought she was ready for the Olympics and I was dead weight holding her back from her true potential and calling in life.
We were just resting after having lunch when Andrea caught sight of an alleged slope a few 100 metres away. She said she wanted to go down that one. I told her no because we didn’t know where it led. She was hell bent. Her tenacity only further enraged me and I basically forbade her to go. Naturally this means that she did the exact opposite and started trudging toward this unknown slope. I thought she was bluffing so I turned around and started walking back to where our parents were. I walked for 5 minutes when I noticed that she had in fact, not followed me and had disappeared. Panic immediately set it. I ran to my parents telling them that Andrea had walked off and that I didn’t know where she was. I was in so much trouble. With a serious case of Deja-Vu the security people on the ski field were called. They said as she hadn’t been missing for even an hour yet that there wasn’t much they could do. I instantly hated them and started mentally plotting their demise. SHE COULD BE DEAD IF WE WAITED AN HOUR! Luckily for me, the tragedy I was constructing in my head about avenging my sister’s death was avoided because one of the rangers agreed to go searching with dad but not before dad gave me the biggest smack across the face in recorded history for letting Andrea walk off. I had a red palm print for the rest of the day. I sat half sulking-half terrified of losing Andrea for the next hour. Then like a mirage she appeared, trudging towards us with her skis over her shoulder. She was dehydrated and exhausted. According to her she had gone down what she thought was a regular ski run but after 20 minutes of heading down realised that there was no one else around her and she was completely alone surrounded by forest. Something in her brain finally clicked and she decided to turn around. The only problem was that she had gone about 2 and a half kilometres down so it took her almost an hour to hike her way back whilst carrying a pair of heavy skis. At one stage she had started eating snow cos she was so thirsty. My resourceful sister.
According to the Snow Patrol (that’s what they’re called right? Maybe not) she had gone down the 10km path that leads all the way down the side of the mountain and back into the town! And the most tragic part of it all? My sister didn’t even get slapped once! I still had that red palm print on my face well into that evening at dinner.
The final scenario in this epic tale of my sister’s attempted destruction of me comes after our most recent ski trip about 6 months ago. I invited my sister along to a weekend away at Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains of Australia. That was my first mistake. There were about 20 of us from my office and as I am an uncoordinated buffalo and she is the athletic one in the family I thought she should come along. The irony behind this is not lost on me. I made her promise that a repeat of Bulgaria would not occur. We were talked into going on an “intermediate” run by the rest of the group which actually turned out to be a vertical cliff of ice. As soon as I attempted to start this run I slipped and fell. Hard. The next 20 minutes consisted of me reliving every terrifying thing that has ever happened to me as I sat paralysed about 50 metres form the start of the slope. Andrea and the rest of the group whizzed past me as I sat in all my self-pitying, beginnings-of-a-nervous-breakdown shame. I told them I would catch up but after several attempts at standing up realised that it was futile. I literally clawed my way back up to the top of the slope and was taken by a ranger back to the ski lift to go back down to base. That’s when Andrea took a seemingly innocent tumble on a particularly icy patch of snow. We all thought she was ok since this wasn’t the first or the worst of our falls that day, but it became apparent that she had injured herself when her leg buckled and she couldn’t get her skis back on. She had torn her ACL, the main ligament that holds your knee in place.
I took on the noble task of calling our parents to tell them of the accident. Naturally their first response was “why had I let it happen?” They acted as if I had summoned that icy patch into existence for the sole purpose of injuring Andrea.
Last week she finally had the knee surgery to reconstruct her ACL and she is now bed-ridden for the next several weeks as she recovers.
Now I’m not saying that she brought this on herself but I am saying that maybe if she had acknowledged that I am an infinite purveyor of wisdom and that I was correct in telling her not to run off (SEVERAL times) that maybe she wouldn’t have found herself in this position now. At the very least I wouldn’t have gotten slapped numerous times throughout my life.
She is sitting next to me as we speak, huffing in mock-disapproval but really conceding to the accuracy of my sanctimonious statement. I am pretty sure that due to all of these events I have been seriously traumatised for life and will either be too afraid to ever have children or will keep them sealed in a bubble for their entire adolescent lives.
In retrospect she may have succeeded in destroying me after all.