When I was small, I used to linger at the dinner table long after everyone had left. Long before anyone understood that it was just my nature not to eat that much, my parents would insist I finish my meal - no matter how long it took. The day we had Maggi mushroom soup for lunch would go down as the record - the soup had not only gone cold, but congealed, and was turning into a life form all its own before I managed to eat it all. To this day, I still have second thoughts about grey food.
Anyway, one night I was at the table by myself, my sister and parents having downed their meals months before me. There was a block of cheese on the table (I don't know why), and I was in a biting mood, so I took a bite out of the block of cheese. I thought I would get away with such a heinous crime by being able to blame it on Ange. But my brain not being quite as big as it is now, I wasn't able to figure out that my parents would know it was me by the shape of the bitemark correspinding with my teeth. They made my sister and I bite the cheese once again to match the bite marks. Geniuses.
So the other day, some 20+ years later, I come across at post in Dayglo Days where some kid has bitten a block of cheese. (See pic above)
I write to my sister saying "remind you of anyone?"
Angela: You weirdo. It doesn't make it any better that there's someone else out there who does it.
Me: You're just jealous that you weren't as nuts as I was as a child. Just sadistic. Remember "when you get older you bleed" and "we won't be killed by the nuclear bomb falling, we'll die slowly from the poisoned air that comes after it."
Ange: Look, you take an hour to read “When the Wind Blows” – that was the cool new kids’ book when I was 15 or thereabouts. If nothing sets you up for a future of menstruating and radiation sickness, that’ll do it …
And you took as much pleasure from winding me up as I did in finding new and invisible ways to torture you for it, admit it … remember how you used to stand at the entrance to my room and put one toe over the line when I really really really wanted to be alone with my diary and blaring goth music?? Remember??
Me: Funny, I seem to have forgotten the toe-thing. How genius was I?
Ange: And the Twisties - do you remember the Twisties?? And, omigod, you used to kick me in bed the same way that Sweeney does, when we occasionally both slept with Mum. And you used to push me to the outer limits of both blankets and mattress, then fire bed-breath all over me if I complained. And of course Mum would always take your side because you're the baby, but that breath should've been listed with the Geneva Convention ... And Dad would just throw something at the wall from my bedroom because we dared wake the beast.
I can feel my ulcer resurging at the thought of it ...
Ange: We both got a bag of Twisties. For whatever reason, we used to be in combat mode over everything, so there had to be a winner over eating Twisties. The winner was the person who had a Twistie left after the other had finished their packet. One day, the contest went over after school, through dinner, and then I thought, or you led me to believe, or something, that you'd finished your Twisties, so I guzzled my last two in front of you while you were getting ready for bed. However, as I walked past your bedroom a little later, you lifted your pillow to reveal The Last Twistie, and I just about exploded on the spot in the hallway.
You looked so chuffed. So from then it was all on - taking photos of you on the toilet, working Dad up into a tickle frenzy and setting him on you, that sort of thing.
Me: I think I do actually remember that. Outfoxed by your tiny, tiny baby sister. And you're the one with a boyfriend. Who knew?
Ange: Yes, even I have a boyfriend. Even me. Even dumbass, fat-thighed me. Has. A. Boyfriend.
Me: You're not fat-thighed. As I remember it, Dad called you Thunder-Thighs. Thunder is different from fat.
Ange: What do you think he could’ve meant, then?? That at any moment, my thighs would emit rumbling sounds following a flash of lightning??
Anyway - the reason that this post started is because Ange has found a new way to torture me. Last weekend I lost my wallet. The wallet itself isn't that special, but it did have a few gift token things in it that I was saving for a bad mental health day when I could do some guilt-free retailing. I also had all the receipts from a work trip to Gisborne that I needed to hand in. So I do the things that people do when they lose their wallet:
1. Think about where they last were when they used it
2. Look for it
3. Ask people who I have visited if they've seen it
So I tear my flat apart, tear my car apart, call New World where I last used it, call Monique who's birthday party I went to after I went to New World, ask Nat and Matt who I travelled to the party with and whose house I hung out at the next day if they had it, and ask my sister Ange if she had it, as I had been at her house on Sunday morning to pick up my nephew Sweeney for Kimpy-Sweeney Day. No one had it. Ange even specified that the wallet was not in Sweeney's nappy bag. Days go by with no wallet, so I ask Ange again, just to be sure, if she could check Sweeney's bag. No, it's not there.
I call the banks, cancel my cards, etc. Live on 10 cent pieces until my new cards come through.
Then, yesterday my sister Ange, who is older than me by seven years, has always been the person I look up to and admire, tells me she has my wallet. It was in Sweeney's bag.
Other ways my sister has tortured me over the years (with a scale 1-10 of torture-ish-ness)
1. By telling me there was a special present for me, that I got really excited about. I thought it would be something totally amazing, like cash or vouchers for shoes or something. But it was just that she had got the passenger door on her car fixed so I didn't have to climb over the driver's seat to get in the car. 7/10
2. By getting the flu over Xmas 2004 when we were moving house out of Moir Street. 4/10
3. By taking the "if you see a VW you punch the other person" game to the extreme and leaving my left arm practically useless with bruises. 8/10
4. By leaving home aged 14 or something, to go to boarding school in Auckland. 10/10
Ways I have tortured Ange over the years. (please bear in mind she is seven years older than me, and in many ways I was still so little and teensy and would never do any of these things as a mature grown up).
1. By being born. 10/10
2. By being alive. 10/10
3. Gee, I suddenly seem to remember nothing about my childhood except what a lovely little cherub I was... hee