This is the retelling of a classic story of sibling strife. We were about 14 and 16 when this fracas occurred. The moral of the story: Old clashes die hard or sometimes not at all.
My sister, Beth, and I were seventeen months apart in age, two years apart in school, eons apart in temperament and light years apart in dispute settlement capabilities. Hitting was absolutely forbidden in our house. Our mom insisted that we use words instead of physical violence to solve our differences. This explains why there was always quite a bit of yelling at home; we were never short on conflict. The no-hitting rule was instituted early on and was very rarely broken. Very rarely, however, does not mean never.
“No!” I said, for probably the fourth time in this particular exchange, finally starting to lose my cool. I went back to practicing my flute. Lord knows, I needed the practice. I played the flute for four years in school and never really got very good at it. Just the two of us were home since our mom worked full-time as a secretary.
She made the wrong turn down the hall. It might have gone differently had she made a left instead of a right. Left would have taken us down the hall and into the living room. In the seconds that would have ticked past it’s possible that I might have come back to my senses … or not. However, she took a right turn coming out my room and immediately came smack against Mom’s closed, bedroom door.
I was grounded for a month and I had to use my allowance to get my flute fixed. My sister’s eye went from bruised back to normal in a couple weeks. I never knew if Mom thought Beth didn’t deserve punishment or if she thought the black eye was punishment enough.
"Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life."
Charles M Schulz