With respect to my brothers, I've read that having a sister makes you a better person. 'Better' how? Well it's supposed to make you kinder, more human. I have two sisters so by logic I should be extra super duper nice. When I tell stories about Australia, about home, about my life I often find myself starting with their names, their weird habits, their funny stories, their evolutions from fellow confused children to somewhat grown up but no less confused people.
We fought like banshees when we were younger, my sister Bas and I. She was always trying to "ruin my life" by wearing the same outfit as me and I was always making her cry because I wouldn't let her wear the same outfit as me. My face was a clenched fist that would explode 'MUUUUM!' I'd scream stretched out so the single vowel took on five different tones of injustice - 'BAS. IS. ALWAYS. COPYING. ME!' Is there anything more comical than the seeming injustice imposed upon children and the passion with which they seek to right those wrongs? Bas would say I was always. excluding. her. and my dad would say don'texcludeyoursister! and I would say yes dad as if putting the word don't in front of her complaint changed everything.
Things were different with my youngest sister. She has always been the baby and my memories, our memories, of her are set apart from the bickering and bitter I'M.NEVER.TALKING.TO.YOU.AGAIN! fights (that would come later, during the teenage years). With Gel it was almost like playing house. I was just shy of five when she was born and I remember being at the hospital to visit this pink fleshed martian sister of mine. Too fragile to play with, to innocent to fight with, too young yet to be our equal. We had to learn how to be softer and quieter and kinder around her.
All four of us 'older kids' have grown up, growing her up but I have never and will probably never stop calling her my baby sister. People ask me how old she is when I say that and I am forced to remember sheepishly that she is almost twenty. I know for certain when I am eighty and she seventy-five I will still speak fondly of her to the other old bats at the nursing home referring to her in a tone reserved for puppies and infants as my baby sister.
There is a fierce adoration, competition and loyalty bred between me and my sisters. I imagine there is some similar invisible spider's web connecting my twin brothers. Living away from them the web stretches but never breaks. After fourteen months my baby sister and I are in the same country and in a few short days we'll be excluding everybody else by talking in a language only we understand, it will be her and I on the same side of the skype screen. And we'll skype Bas (Hi Bas!) who I'll be seeing in only a few short months. August is here already and I can count the months I have left on one hand. Months and weeks more of this life before the two best things in the world - home and family.