Friend or Enemy

Honestly the only word I can think of to start this thing off with is, siblings. When I think about it, it's met with one of those offhanded sighs. Siblings ...sigh. I should probably start off by saying sisters, because they were the ones who primarily terrorized me throughout my childhood. Having me take the blame for things or putting me in a container and sliding me down the stairs. But in truth I have two sisters and three brothers. Counting all of us up that is six in total, and I know what your thinking. “Damn…. one wasn’t enough!”

Me and my sisters are what most would call “accidents”. I’m the youngest girl, and I was told I was an accident when we were flipping through a photo album and came across a picture of my parents together.  She turned to me and said “that was the only time I got drunk and then three weeks later I found out I was pregnant with you.” Which is exactly what every ten year old wants to hear. I like to think that all of this awesomeness that I am just couldn’t have been planned. My oldest brother was adopted and my two little twin brothers that are about seven years younger than me. Not that it bothers me, it was two less people to “torture” me while growing up.  

So yes, I have siblings, and there are the moments that happen just about everyday where it's seems like life would be a hell of a lot easier without them. The relationship I have with my brothers and sisters in many ways are like great friendships that are impossible to give up on, primarily because they live with me. It's a great friendship that has a “few” downfalls. There are moments I threaten to kill them and moments where I can’t fathom some of the things they do. Although, I can’t say that I haven’t benefited from having them, but I know for sure I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. They have helped me out on so many projects and listen to my problems even though they are sometimes small compared to theirs.

Throughout all the crazy absurd times where we couldn’t figure out who did what or who to be mad at, I still value every moment with them. They gave me some skills that will help me in life. Because of them I have patience, even though I seem to have so little when it comes to them. I’ve also have learned that payback comes in the most terrible forms, so think before you act.

When I had first moved to Philadelphia after my parents divorce, I had a bike. The year was 2005 and I thought I was cool as shit, with my princess bike fresh off the rack from walmart. Granted I was only six and my favorite princess was Cinderella, and only later I would find out that I only liked Cinderella because her dress was blue, and blue was my favorite color.

My cousins lived on the block behind us and we were connected through an alleyway. I lived in the Northeast Philadelphia, after living most of my life (at the time) in Trenton, New Jersey, but my cousins made it easier. I was always busy.

Honestly kids can be entertained by the simplest things sometimes, I think we just ran up and down the block, and it was the time of my life. I just remember always having fun, but not exactly “what” made it fun.

Anyway, when I got the bike earlier that year as a birthday present, I almost didn’t get the bike because it had training wheels. That's my shameful secret I was still using training wheels at age six. Not that I didn’t want to learn, it's just that no one taught me. Besides my bike before that had training wheels so I really had no big reason to learn.

When we moved, we did it in a rush and we couldn’t take everything. My bike was the smallest so it was the only bike that we ended up taking to our new house. My two older siblings got bored because all of my cousins are are around my age and lower, so since they no longer had bikes they decided to take the training wheels off of mine and ride it.

I was cool with it. I was a “nice” sister. Although when they were done riding it and I wanted to ride my bike again, I asked them to put my training wheels back on and they said no. They said that “It would be too much work to have to take them on and off whenever they wanted to use it.”

I probably said something along the lines of “that’s not fair” and did what most kids would do in that situation. I went and told on them. The adult I told agreed with them to some degree, but since it was my bike to begin with they wanted my sister to teach me how to ride without training wheels.

Picture this little girl on a bike, and keep in mind it an awesome princess bike. She’s sitting on a bike, terrified she’s gonna get hurt or of something as dramatic dying. I got onto the bike with all the courage that is expected of a six year old and with trust in my sister I started to pedal. She says that she’s right behind me, I even hear her behind me. And then bam, I turn around and she’s not holding onto the bike. That was my first mistake trusting her. Not that I had any reason to distrust my big sister. There are those good moments when you’re like best friends and inseparable. There are also moments where you can be each others worst enemies.  

I turned behind me and when I didn’t see her running to keep up with my bike, I swerved and lost control of my bike. I slammed into the ground, with no helmet, no knee pads, or elbow pads, just me and my skin against the cement. I never actually felt the pain of the ground tearing into my skin, You’d think that sharp acute pain would be hard to miss. I was a pretty rough child so scratches, cuts, and bleeding  wasn’t a new concept to me. The only major difference was the scratch took up the whole right side of my face. I had a scar on my face for two years after that.  

Looking back on that day, I don’t know how my sister being there had control over me being able to ride a bike. Her not being there had caused me to fall only because I depended on her and trusted her to be behind me. Not that this incident would technically make us enemies, it reminds me of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. One of the men in the Alpha Company accused another one of stealing their knife. It's the same situation of wondering if you can really trust who you are supposed to. In the book, there had to be trust within the Alpha Company because their lives depended on it during the Vietnam war. Their teamwork would better their chances of survival. In my situation I trusted my sister with helping me with something I didn’t quite understand, and it's safe to say she ended up failing. She did eventually teach me how to ride bike. It was a punishment for not only taking the training wheels off of my bike, but for letting me fall. Although in the end we always seem to move past what’s happened and become as thick as thieves again. But, there are those moments where you sit back and think, at moments are your siblings your friends or you enemies? Or is there and in between?


Comments (3)

Miriam Sachs (Student 2017)
Miriam Sachs

1) I learned that you have a lot of siblings, and that living at them can be both great and terrible at times.

2) You used sarcasm at points. I like how you look at both how your sisters can be good and how they can be bad to live with.

3) Your video added images of your sisters.

Arsenio Gomez (Student 2017)
Arsenio Gomez
  1. I learned that you and your sister have a complicated relationship. The things you experience with your siblings were really similar to what I have experienced with my siblings.
  2. I enjoy reading your story because you made it into more of a funny essay which I really enjoyed.
  3. Your video went really well with your story and was nice to see pictures of your siblings.
Chloë Epstein (Student 2017)
Chloë Epstein
  1. I leaned that you have a very complicated relationship with your siblings, specifically your sisters. Being an only child I never really understood what it was like to have sibling so this painted a pretty clear picture of what it was like.
  2. I liked your writing because of all the witty humor in your essay. It made things easier to relate to compared to just being serious.
  3. Unfortunately, I was not able to access your essay but I bet it was really good! Great job! :D