July 3, 2016
Ahhh. I am drinking an ice-cold Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter following a strenuous walk with my husband Henry. My sister is downstairs making dinner. We are visiting Mom and Seamus in the country for the holiday weekend.
First of all: If you are a woman who does not have a sister, please drop everything, run to the store, and buy one.
Second of all: I am not sure I should be drinking while blogging….
“Jane Marek? Follow me, please,” the nurse called from the doorway.
“Jane Marek? Follow me, please,” rang the disembodied voice behind her in clear, honeyed tones.
The nurse froze, her face still bent over the clipboard. Only her eyes moved–from side to side, and finally up and over to me. Her brow furrowed in confusion.
I stepped over the threshold and there was Gwen. She was at the checkout desk and not visible from the waiting room.
Gwen is my younger sister by 18 months.
Last week, Gwen and I scheduled skin checks. With the same dermatologist. On the same day. Back to back. Without trying.
Gwen had a mole removed for biopsy. I had a mole removed for biopsy. She waited for me in the waiting room.
When it was my turn to check out, I observed the young African American woman at the counter. The sleeves of her hot pink shirt stuck out from underneath her scrubs and perfectly matched the thick pink swirl in her otherwise dark hair. I am not normally one to effuse but the color perfectly offset the blackness of her hair and skin, creating a stunning impression.
“I love your hair. It looks so good!” I told her.
“I said the same thing!” cried a voice from the waiting area.
Gwen followed me back to my house. We decided to take a walk. She borrowed shorts and a t-shirt because, voila!, we are the same size. And, unlike days past, I will get these clothes back. Washed and folded. Within my lifetime.
If you are running out to procure your sister, don’t worry about lost time. Now is the best time. History is great and all that, but coming late to the party means you can enjoy all the benefits of sisterhood without having to recover from those early years of room sharing, name calling, hair pulling, and makeup stealing. I won’t say who did what to whom other than to say that Gwen was a snuggler and a spooner. Spooning was gross and made me sweaty. Whenever we traveled, we had to share a bed. Nobody cared if I tossed and turned next to my furnace of a sister. But I guess hers was a small offense when you consider that I once made Gwen eat an entire mouthful of gravel.
Yesterday, Gwen and my husband Henry and I climbed into our Subaru; situated Trident, the greyhound, in the back; and headed to the boondocks for the weekend.
While zooming down the interstate, Gwen and I decided we needed to compare biopsy sites. Hers was on her shin. That was easy. Mine was above my left breast, and Gwen was sitting behind me. Thus, partial nudity, gymnastics, and the removal of one Ikea brand kitty bandage ensued. Thank goodness, Henry is an excellent driver!
This was not my first biopsy by any means. So I had to show off my other biopsy sites. My situation is probably typical for a super-white European descendant and former athlete. I was thrilled that the site on my face had healed with no scarring whatsoever. This was, of course, due to the magic of Vaseline. I had followed Dr. Mole’s instructions religiously: Vaseline 24/7. Neosporin was strictly verboten.
“But I ran out of Vaseline this time,” I said, “so I kind of cheated. ”
(Cue the sheepish laughter.)
“Do you think this will work OK?” I pulled the supersized Hello Kitty lip balm out of my purse. “I just smear this on it and then cover it with a bandaid.”
Gwen didn’t shame me at all. Her response? “Yep. Because I am using the chapstick I got free at work on mine.”
We were not friends as girls. We could scarcely stand to breathe the same air. We were told we were opposites and occasionally pitted against one another.
Now women, we are friends. Sister-friends. This afternoon, we sighed the identical three-syllable “O-o-oh” when a darling fawn crossed our path. Hers began a microsecond prior to mine but we were pitch perfect.
After we arrived yesterday, Gwen and I took a walk around Mom’s property. The light and the wildflowers were too enticing to resist. Armed with a smartphone and a tablet, we set out on a serious mission to capture the flowers before the shadows grew too long. We succeeded–kind of.
Adult supervision may be required for future missions.
Please enjoy some examples of our brilliant photography.
If you want to read more about the spirited Gwen, you might like this post from the Family Rules thread.