Monday, September 22, 2008

Three Sisters

This, right here, is what I miss more than anything else about Seattle. Sure, the ferries are nice. So are the peekaboo mountains and the crashing waves of Puget Sound. The long off-leash walks with my dog in Lincoln Park. The creamy chowder (Manhattan-style is bullshit). The used book stores. The coffee. (I don't even bother ordering lattes outside of Seattle. No foam can compare to Vivace's. None.)

But what I miss most is having my sisters nearby, all of whom live in Seattle.

I was born without sisters and I envied my cousins, a family of four girls, all of them impressively teenaged and willowy and everything I was sure I would never be.

I had two older brothers, and it should be noted that for brothers they were pretty wonderful. They even found ways to incorporate me into their games. I remember a complex Lego war that lasted between them for months, and I wanted to be included even though I had no interest in simulating battle. They helped me build a baby out of Lego pieces and then made me different outfits for my baby so I could play beside them.

But I still wanted a sister. When my mom met my step-dad and became pregnant, I prayed every night that it would be a girl. I have never worked as hard for anything as I did for that sister. I had nightmares that it would come out a boy, and in these nightmare he was around three, and he wore saltwater sandals, and even though he was younger than me he would find ways to torment me in order to win points with his older brothers, who would naturally be more admirable to him than I ever could be because they were boys.

But God was merciful and I was granted baby Ruth.

Still, I never had an older sister. Sometimes my cousin Andrea would come over and I would follow her around worshipfully, but she had her own life to live.

But many years later I met the man who would become my husband, and he had a sister, and as soon as I met her I claimed her as my own. Mary's only one year older than me, and I manage to be almost as bossy and controlling of her as I am of Ruth, but somehow she puts up with it and lets me call her my big sister. She's also the only item of our pre-nup: No matter what happens between Michael and me, I get to keep Mary.

(That's us, vacationing in Key West together in 2002. Goodness, we're pasty.)

So I had a little sister and a big sister, but still, I wanted more. I wanted a twin. And then I met Suzanne after we were both cast in a play at the University of Washington. She played my overpowering mother; I played her ugly, anguished child. How could we not become friends for life after that? She moved to New York a few years after I did, and I directed her first solo show, which has had crazy longevity. The shot below is from opening night of Yoga Bitch in London.

I'll be honest. I'm writing this post, in part, because I'm now back in New York and reflecting on what I left behind in Seattle. But there's also this uncomfortable fact: H&M has come to Seattle. And I'm happy for you, Seattle. Really, I am. But each of my sisters visit me in New York fairly regularly, and I'm concerned that while they like seeing me, and while the city has some merits of its own, it's really H&M that brings them back.

So I'm thinking that now's the time to ratchet up the violins good and loud, so that maybe you'll still find time to come see your big/little/twin sister in New York.


Kurt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SM said...

This is me now. For reals.
I miss you, too!

Meri in Macedonia said...

Wow, you captured perfectly what I am missing the most! Sure, it would be great to have a Route 44 Vanilla Dr Pepper on a hot July afternoon, but there is nothing like those 6-hour deep talks or shallow giggle-fests with the sisters!