The ugliest thing
I think the ugliest thing about having a sister around is she being a lot prettier than you. You know because when she is around, boys are whistling and calling out to her. Without her, all you would hear is the chirping of crickets even if you take off your top amid a swarm of teenage boys with raging hormones.
Thankfully, I am the more beautiful baby girl in the family (and being that, I do not know how it feels not to be whistled at by the guys).
Seriously now, the ugliest thing about having a sister around is this:
On the second day of the year 2009, I had a terrible, terrible tantrum. After watching “Enteng Kabisote” ages ago, I had vowed never to watch a Filipino movie ever again. But that promise had to be broken because our uncle wanted to treat us to a movie as his 2008 Christmas gift, and other than Metro Manila Film Festival movies, our country does not get anything American or European in December and January (forgive me for being racist).
Even before Tito came to pick us up, my four siblings and I talked about saving the treat for a better movie, like “7 Pounds” or “17 Again” or “Changeling.” I thought that was the plan, until I found myself death-marching to the train station to Gateway, ignoring Tito, not even thanking him for the Kobe Bryant jersey he gave me, and most of all, hating my sister because she did not stick to the supposed plan.
After the movie, we had to do some errands for our parents, so Tito went home ahead of us. He must have felt my nastiness and spite and could not take it anymore.
After he left, being the very, very frank sister that I am, I pointed out the tears welling up in the sides of my sister’s eyes, her nose turning red at the tip every time she would feel awful. And being the always, always right sister that she is, she pointed out my bratty performance, and burst into tears right then and there amid the beautiful people of Gateway. Of course, the smaller sisters had nothing to say, and our brother Storm missed this encounter.
And now, for the best part. We entered Fully Booked, which to me is the place where all good things happen, my own heaven on earth. After 30 long and quiet minutes of getting lost in between rows and shelves of books, my sister suddenly appeared out of nowhere, handed me a plastic bag and walked away.
Imagine how I must have looked when I opened the bag, and found in my hands “Lovely Bones” and “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” When I asked her (of course, I had to pretend to be a little reluctant and hesitant) who they were for, she said: “Sa iyo. Naiinis kasi ako sa iyo kaya kita binilhan (They are for you. I just felt so irritated by you and that’s why I bought them).”
With so many thoughts running in my head (“She’s guilt-tripping me but it’s working!” “Should I get her a book too?” “Should I text Tito and say sorry?” “I have a Sedaris book!”), I managed to buy her and the small ones Dairy Queen and Taco Bell (because I am awfully cheap), and we kissed and hugged and (insert all the sisterly cheesiness here) amid the beautiful people of Gateway.
The point I am trying to make here is: get into a fight with my sister because she gives the best peace offerings in the world.
More seriously now, love your sisters and brothers because, in the end, no matter how bratty you might be, or how lost to this world you might seem to be, you can always and forever come home to them.
One final thought: I think my sister is the most beautiful person in the world, inside and out. Forget that stuff about having her around being the ugliest thing, it is this—her seeing good in every single person—which I love most about her. Life without her would be a mistake.
(Sarah Liliana Z. Sarmiento, 18, is an incoming third year BFA Creative Writing student at the Ateneo de Manila University.)