As I sit here in my bathroom at 2am, typing while listening to Chet Baker (as if my ADHD could take that), beside my cat laying on the floor, a lit lavender candle, and a cup of tea, like an expat in Paris, I can’t help but to feel calm and - how do you say...uh...très cool. Then of course, my sister will loudly knock on the door very soon, yelling “This is not your office. I have to get in the shower” and I will have to gather my things and leave. And of course my mother will get up and say “Wait don’t get in yet, I have to go to the bathroom” and my sister will let out a sigh that could take out all of Oklahoma. This is quarantine in the Meade household.
In my family, we are all extremely career and goal oriented. All of us are badass in our own independent way. We are all focused on three different fields of work, three different diets, three different bedtimes, and three different definitions of what “me time” is. In high school, I wasn’t home very much at all (4 hours besides sleeping, at most), and my sister only lived with us for 2 of those years until she dormed. When she would come home from college and when I would come home from college this year, it seemed we would all step on each other's toes in a short amount of time. Though I missed being home and having my shit together, I was weary that that would happen a week into quarantine.
But week by week, I observe my sister, seeing what she does for fun. What does she do when she's not working or in school? What are her hobbies? What are her worries? What does she think of me and all the ridiculous things I busy myself with? Before quarantine, I couldn’t remember the last time she and I even just hung out without being in transit to get to an event or a family thing. With so much time feeling added to my day (no more “getting ready”, walking to class, taking the train, or going out to eat), I am now able to work for 6+ hours, workout, and hangout with my sister every single day. I can honestly say that we have bickered less in these last two months than we typically do on week-long vacations. Last week we went to my grandparents house for dinner (we are all basically quarantined together) and we played tag in the backyard and then proceeded to eat macaroni when we got tired, quickly realizing how much running tag required. “When was the last time I ‘played’?”, I thought. Your sibling(s) are either best friends you were born having or they were born to be your best friend(s). What an awful thing it is to overlook that, even for a second.
Every year I never know what to get my sister for her birthday. I am always dumbfounded by how she manages to surprise me with the most ridiculous yet spot on gifts for mine. No one has ever and will ever outdo her. From an industrial compost, to a Kanye West coloring book, she gets it every time. Me on the other hand - let’s just say I struggle with surprising her with things successfully. “Caroline, I’m allergic to sterling silver” was the quote from May 2019, to be exact. I’m the worst.
Monday is my sister's birthday and I don’t think it's ever been so easy to get someone gifts in my goddamn life. I was excited (not anxious) to shop and scan website after website to find the perfect surprises. They just kept coming to me. I never realized that I was wrong when I told myself and even others, “Yeah, she’s hard to shop for”. I just wasn’t listening enough. I am privileged to have this time with my sister and I can honestly say it just feels like being quarantined with the first friend you call when you hear a blizzard is coming and you wanna have a sleepover (“Come over so we can watch The Sound of Music and bake brownies”).
Happy birthday Avery, I really love you a lot.
Making noise through multiple mediums since 2001.