I had a family of six until Melissa kicked the can.
My sister Melissa was short like my mom, blonde like my dad and when she was younger, she liked to make naked Barbies have sex.
My siblings and I were never given the option to dislike one another, which prompted us to grow unnaturally close. Before Melissa died, our roles in the family were clearly defined by birth order.
Joe still needs his diaper changed.
It took me years of relentless teasing to break my brother. Joe and I played fun games together, like me teasing him and him asking me to stop.
“Cut it out!” he would scream.
Joe would finally just walk away.
Once his back turned, I dropped his possessions.
My fingers moved in rapid scissor motion. I murmured: “cut, cut, cut…”
He would shout:
But I was always doing the scissors.
As a middle child, my role included skirting my responsibilities.
Despite my mother’s best efforts, I was usually acquitted.
Emily bought us lunch.
Melissa was the hardest sibling to torment because she was a step ahead of me. Eighteen months is a significant age difference when you’re a kid.
She knew I was a greedy little girl who loved money, so she glued a quarter to the kitchen floor.
In high school, I wore cool t-shirts.
At the same time that I was wearing these shirts, I was desperately trying to hide my issues with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (constant diarrhea).
If I had lived during caveman times, I would have been naturally selected out.
Diarrhea is an embarrassing problem.
And the all-girl mob always follows.
I would have to hold in diarrhea while peeing. Tortuously unsatisfying.
I would do anything to keep it from people.
Daily diarrhea before 9:00 am is one of my superpowers. When I went off to college, I continued to master the art of hiding my diarrhea problems. The professor of an 8:00 am art class had a strict attendance policy: be late more than twice, and get docked a letter grade.
I spoke with my art professor, hoping to garner sympathy for my case.
She was unsympathetic.
Nearing the end of college, I figured I should attempt adult things. So I got a summer internship.
It was the most courageous thing I had ever done.
While I was abroad, I got a Facebook message about Melissa from someone I didn’t know.
I was confused by the cryptic message.
I questioned the cryptic message.
The Facebook stranger was the first to break the news to me.
I doubt the person had any idea how terrible it felt to receive earth-shattering news from a stranger via social media.
A lot of things happened quickly.
Head first, I was cast from my coveted position as middle child.
A new sign formed above my head.
I was given a new hat.
With Melissa gone, my time as pack leader had begun.