The Queen of My Self

By Judyth Hill

…continued from Monday…

Following an evening when my sisters took a call from a guy she hadn’t met, instead of watching Memoirs of a Geisha and drinking martinis with me — the nerve of her — we didn’t get to go to the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, because there would be too much traffic, and besides, instead we could get dressed up to look extremely hot and go do Karaoke.

So, there you have it. That was my cue to go incendiary. I went insane. I do not exaggerate.

In a state of righteous indignation, a tantrum tornado, I packed my bags and marched them out to her driveway. Despite being 2 hours from anyone else I know, and from any form of even vaguely possible transport to the airport, not to mention that my ticket was for 2 days later, I was storming off in a huff, in a snit; I was leaving and no one can stop me… Remind you of anything? Ever seen a five-year-old run away from home?

Ms. Demento; slamming around and almost — almost — saying every awful thing that came to mind.

While basically a raving maniac, I was also a good house guest – I stripped my bed, put my sheets and used towels in her washer. Did I think I would later be evaluated on my ability to remain polite while utterly out of my mind? Was I worried my mother, rest her soul, would peer down from Death and see what I was doing to my Little Sister? Well, wouldn’t she?

So are you getting this? There was no incident.

Or, even if there was, and I could easily decide there was – that is the whole point – because then I could be deliciously and thrillingly right, as only the older sister can be, but also, have a year, maybe two, where we don’t speak, necessitating the inevitable sobbing, groveling middle-of-the-night phone call begging forgiveness, because I need her. Because she is, well, she is my sister.

And she was there for so many truly awful times growing up, the ones only we know, the times we had only each other to hold on to and we developed our dark Jewish humor to laugh and live through it, and it’s the weight of all that history, isn’t it? We share the unfathomable, intricate depths of our family mythos: we know, we were there; we love each other dearly. Damn, I hate when that happens.

We are privy to each other’s secrets and stories, and it’s not her fault she had a speaking part in my personal drama. And still does.

The question is how to find a way to, well, not exactly start fresh- because much of what is so precious is the density that is always between us. And do I behave unforgivably, just to prove I will be forgiven, to test again the temper of the metal that is our love?

So, maybe it’s to learn to be at least semi-here now without the semi being the Mack truck of emotional baggage I’m still trying to hit her with…while simultaneously needing the EMT people myself.

This time I stopped myself. Before saying the terrible stuff, the “You Always…”, and the “I Never…”, the unforgivable that is part of the bedrock of Sisterness. I walked down to the creek by her house, where we had gone for Tashlik on Rosh Hashanah, to toss our past failures and our gratitude into the moving waters, and I stayed quiet and breathing until the Blame and Shame storm had passed. Then I went back and made my bed and dragged my stuff back inside. Nu? What else to do?

Siblinghood is the Triathlon of love. Just when you think you swam your fastest, jumped your highest, you now need to race a 30 geared bicycle along a course that ascends mystically up a crazy grade… in 200% humidity.

In the end, we know we will be there; we will go the distance. We always have, that is what being a sister means. This is the short and the very very, I hope, long of it.

So we got totally dolled up, and she did my makeup and let me borrow her Prescriptive’s Magic and gave me her eyelash curler and I gave her my honest and, of course, correct, sisterly opinion on half an hour of wardrobe decisions, until she looked utterly fabulous, and we were both entirely cute.

We met her friends at the Karaoke bar, which turned out to very wild and a major blast, and we downed huge cheeseburgers and thick, perfect fries, and drank big very pink Cosmos, and it was divine.

There was a way cool troupe of gay women, and one talk/crooned a quirky, so sexy version of “I Feel Pretty” to her girlfriend, and then my sister stood up and sang a throaty, heart-stopping version of “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

I felt blessed and relieved, to know I would.

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

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