I'm not the sort of person who stands out in a crowd. I've got a certain camouflage, I think, that allows me to blend in and do what I like to do best (except for reading, writing, and eating chocolate): observe. If you invite me to your party, you won't find a group of people standing around laughing at my jokes. You definitely won't see me dancing on a table wearing nothing but a lampshade. In fact, you probably won't see me dancing at all. It's just not pretty. You'll probably see me standing on the edge of a group, trying to look like I belong at your party, trying to act nonchalant. Trying not to look like I'm avidly watching.
I'm not saying I'm a stalker. There is no malice or obscenity in my observation. I just find people fascinating creatures, every one of them, and watching provides me with great ideas for writing!
So I don't make friends easily. Most of my friends are people I've known since I was still wearing those tights with lace ruffles on the backside and something that looked like bloated shoelaces tied around my pigtails. I've added a few friends here and there since I grew out of ruffled tights and puffy hair ties, but it's never been an easy endeavor for me.
But you want to know who my best friend is? Really? (Aside from my husband, of course.) The person whose number is most often dialed? The person who makes me laugh most? The person who answers my questions and puts up with my faults? The one who knows me inside out? My sister Ilona.
Twenty years ago, if I had somehow spied into the future and seen myself typing these words, I would have fallen on the ground laughing. Ilona and I fought all the time. We're two years apart, and we CONSTANTLY begged our parents NOT to make us share a bedroom. We're polar opposites, you know. She tried on 14 outfits every morning before school, throwing each one on the floor in disgust (which led to an eventual accumulation that some guy in goggles planted a French flag on one February--weird). I wrote lists of the outfits I'd wear each week and had them ready (in order) in the closet. She loved to stay up late. I went to bed embarrassingly early. She took sadistic pleasure in tickle torturing me and trying to spit in my laughing mouth. I don't do sick stuff like that. We argued, yelled, pulled hair, "dug" each other (with fingernails in tender areas--I had a scar on the inside of my wrist for at least 8 years). I don't think we really liked each other until we were in high school--maybe?
But today, we're inseparable. I love to spend time with friends, and I adore spending time with my family, but I think there's something special about the bond between sisters, especially sisters who have a past as tumultous as ours.
I don't want to offend anyone here, and I am sorry to the rest of you who each thought YOU were my best friend. (It's like she's number one, and you're all tied for number two.) There's just nothing I can do about it.
So thank you, Ilona, for being my complement. For having all those parties just so that I could stand on the edge of the crowd and watch your crazy friends. And thanks for inviting us over yesterday for a wonderful evening. I am so glad God made you my sister, and I am really glad you didn't kill me when we still shared a room.