Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Short Story (with Plot Points) About My Sister (and a Friend) on Her (Their) Birthday(s)

Today is Beka's thirteenth birthday. She is a teenager.

This morning I made and hung nonsensical and plentiful birthday signage around the house (continuing/importing a long-time roommate tradition because, as Michelle once said, "There's something about signage that's so effective").

In addition to this real world posting, I wanted to do an online posting and bedecor my blog with a short story to the world about the arrival of Bekarek, my youngest sibling and newly teenaged sister.

* * * * *

Thirteen years ago on a day right around today...

[insert graphic of flashback time waves--dddddddd, dddddddd, ddddddd]

My good friend Jen was prepping for her 14th birthday, which was to be on September 9, 1995. She was really excited that my mom was due somewhere near her birthday, and she often (often) tried to convince me to deliver her a baby sibling with which to share her birthday. I tried to explain how little control I had over the situation--so few inducements at my disposal--but she was still hopeful I could work it out. I thought, what are the chances? My life is never that cute.

Rising Action
And then, la, on September 9, 1995, my sister was born. I couldn't believe it. She was beautiful. And she was the things we'd hoped she would be--healthy, human, and compliant:
  • she was born two years after our youngest, making us all two or four years apart--> Nate, two years, Dan, two years, Anika, two years, Sarah, two years, Joseph, two years, Dad's dissertation, two years, Jacob, two years, Peter, four years, Rachel, two years, now Bek, AND
  • she was a girl, keeping with our grouped gender pattern--> boy boy girl girl boy boy boy girl girl. Now Rachel would have a partner, too. (The big boys: Nate & Dan; the big girls: Anika & Sarah; the little boys: Joseph, Jacob, and Peter; and now the litte girls: Rachel & Rebekah.)
But, she wasn't blonde. She was darker (well, just not blonde, really), which, at the time, we figured disrupted our oft-remarked upon alternating complexion scheme--> vanilla chocolate vanilla chocolate vanilla four years vanilla chocolate four years chocolate, now another chocolate.* We were happy to have her anyway.

AND SHE HAD COME ON JEN'S BIRTHDAY! What more does a 14-year-old girl want than to surprise her friends with really good birthday presents? Very little.

So, I decided not to tell Jen or any of my other friends until Jen's birthday party, just a few days after the 9th.

For Jen's 14th, we went to a nice Japanese restaurant. I learned how to use chop sticks and ate food cooked at my table. The beef was so good, and we were laughing so hard, and it was a great, great time. Then came the moment when Jen would open the gifts. I'd covered a box in magazine cut-outs and Modge Podge (a shellaq substance totally in vogue in the mid-nineties), and inside the box, I had placed a piece of paper.

Jen: I love this box, Sarah! It's mint! [Or whatever we were saying then.]
Sarah: Open it, Jen! Open it! [As fourteen-year-olds, we were always talking with exclamation points, I'm sure.]
Jen: Okay! Here I go!

She opens the box. She sees the paper, which says

Born September 9, 1995
Baby Girl Olson [she wasn't yet named]
some lbs, some ozs [I don't remember those details, alas]

Jen reads it silently. Her face! Her face! I can see it! She's excited, too! She exclaims!

Jen: Yippee!

Then, her face falls. She is puzzled.

Jen: (slowly) You named her Chocolate Healthy?

Oh man. I laughed so hard I think I fell off my Japanese bar stool.

No, no, we didn't.

* * * * *

To Jen and especially to Beka: I love you both. Happy, happy birthday to the two of you, on this good September day.

*Not too long later, we realized Beka was a breed all her own. Blue eyes and light brown hair. Caramel.


Krisanne said...

Sarah--your blogging, your writing--it's this perfect mix of humor and depth. it is so lovely, so comfortable, so you.

MommaMcCarthy said...

looks like a great day to be born. perhaps there should be a club- i can pay Jack's dues until he's old enough to have an allowance...