This is a paper I had to write for my Advanced Composition class. I figure I’m not going to be doing anything else w/it…so why not post it? Heyyyy!
When Kiki*was three, a scheming older brother talked her into playing hide and go seek. The type of hide and go seek where whoever is “It” will never go seek those who are hiding. Naturally, Kiki was chosen to hide and managed to do a great job. For the first fifteen or twenty minutes, no one really missed her. Then, mom began worrying and brother probably got that feeling in the pit of his stomach which comes when a joke has gone farther than you intend. Every room was searched. We lifted bed sheets, we telephoned neighbors, we even moved the piano away from the wall. Finally, as we stood in the kitchen at a loss, we could hear the soft and assured voice of a three year old: Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Mom threw the kitchen cupboards open to reveal Kiki wedged into the very farthest back corner among the potatoes.
“Kikilala*! Why didn’t you come out when we called for you?” my mother demanded.
“Cole was trying to trick me. And Jesus and I don’t want to be losers!” came the smart reply.
At the time, I was only eight, so the fact that my three year old sister had outwitted us all struck me as hilarious. Kiki was our source of entertainment and not much more. We teased for her complete faith in things since once she was convinced of something, it was truth; whether it was the stars as angel eyeballs, God using a typewriter to record our lives, or deciding Cole was adopted since he is the only son.
She would get a certain bewildered look on her face whenever she felt we were making fun of her or when situations became too confusing. With her lower lip slightly raised and protruding, one blonde eyebrow lifted and one tugged down towards a worry filled set of blue eyes, she would glance around at Cole, Dad, Mom, and me in hopes of gaining a clue to what was going on. This half pout – half frightened look would prompt peals of laughter as well as pangs of sympathy from each of us, and we would eventually give in and explain whatever inside joke was hovering above Kiki’s head.
The nights my mother served butternut squash were some of the best nights for sitting at our dinner table in terms of entertainment. Kiki hated squash. She loathed it with a passion I’ve never seen anyone have about food. She would scream, cry, thrash about on the floor, even throw it on the wall. Just so she wouldn’t have to put it into her mouth. There would be a constant stream of, “I hate squash! Satan made squash! You can’t make me eat this at all! It’s like poo poo!” My parents found it just as funny as the rest of us, and all four of us laughing while my dad pulled out the video camera didn’t spare her feelings at all. She was still just a silly little sister who was innocent and making a big deal out of nothing.
Last spring, my now teenage little sister got a boyfriend. I was floored. All of a sudden, Kikilala isn’t who I know her to be anymore. It seems she jumped straight from six to sixteen years old. While I was gone for my junior year of college, my sister became a person. In the fall, I left behind a quiet, insecure pre teen who was trundling around a pink plastic “Hello Kitty” backpack and normally clad in baggy generic jeans and a white turtleneck.
I returned for spring break and met an outgoing young woman sporting a Roxy messenger bag, squeezed into ultra low rise Abercrombie jeans and a spaghetti strap Volcom tank top. She’s dropped Barbies for boys, the Baby Sitters Club books for black eyeliner, and her stuffed pooh bear for a bedside phone. Kiki entered high school and I literally hadn’t even realized it. It was then I recognized I didn’t even know my sister and that had to change. I discovered something precious. She”s a beautiful, amazing, young woman who is becoming someone I admire, respect, and value for more than entertainment. She’s ceased to be only the younger sibling who was often annoying, sometimes endearing, and always there. Her laugh will relieve tension in any situation. She dances and falls asleep to the strains of punk bands such as Good Charlotte, Something Corporate, and The Starting Line. Her fashion sense is impeccable, and involves a new pair of shoes every two weeks. She evolved from a child with soft curls, big blue eyes, and a quiet demeanor into a 5’5″ extrovert with flawless skin, golden blond hair, and a figure which could find itself in any fashion magazine.
Kiki is an artist who takes after my father. She paints nearly every day, mostly watercolors, and throws clay into the oddest shapes imaginable. Half of the mugs in our cupboards were born of Kiki’s hand. My walls are bedecked with her drawings done half-heartedly during a boring sermon or car ride. This is the main vent for her perfectionist nature. With one flaw, one stroke out of place, a painting that took hours will find itself crumpled in the garbage. Kiki’s first art show was this past summer, and it took over three months for five acceptable paintings to be produced.
She revises the spelling of her name every few months, the latest being “K8ie”. Among my peers she is known affectionately as “Lala”, and she refers to me as “Kiki”. Whenever we are together, we refer to ourselves as “Kikilal”. I’m often surprised to find she’s written a song and left it in an Instant Message on my computer — granted they�re usually about pig poo, driving a car, or our younger sister, RJ, throwing a tantrum. She composes music on our plunky old piano and choreographs dance routines to her favorite songs.
We are very different people. I tend to have a few good friends and prefer to spend time getting to know a good book than at a party. She will do anything to earn the privilege of going out both Friday and Saturday nights. She shops at Abercrombie, most of my clothes come from Value Village. I can get ready for the day in 20 minutes. Kiki can be found at 5:45 every morning flat ironing her hair so it will be perfect by the time the bus arrives at 7:00.
But we�ve also managed to find some common ground. We both have a passion for music � even share an obsession for pop punk. We team up against my brother, Cole, to tease him for his addiction to the computer game Counterstrike. If one of us decides to bake cookies, the other being there to help is a necessary ingredient. She brightens my day each time we talk with her positive attitude and ability to put things into perspective. Together, we can talk my parents into doing almost anything. She has nicknames for several of my college friends and has purchased Christmas presents to hand out based on those names. One individual from PVG North side has been forced to inform her regularly on the activities of a Barbie doll he was given two years ago. I�ve discovered she is a beautiful blend of silly and serious, quirky and contemplative.
Every time I return home, she surprises me in another way. We discuss current world events, we share our fears about the mystery that lies beyond graduation, we share heartbreaks from friends and relationships�and I�ll be in for the shock of my life when I return to find her driving. It�s one of those rites of passage that you don�t really think of when you consider all those milestones of growing up � your siblings becoming your friends. You�re so busy with your own first dates, driving permits, high school graduations, and choosing a major that one day you find they�ve up and become a person just like you did.
While on vacation this past August, Kiki and I shared a bedroom in our small Manzanita cottage. One morning, as I was pulling my hair into a ponytail and she was headed to the bathroom to perfect her makeup, Kiki stopped in mid-step through the doorway and gave me that lovable look of half-hidden confusion.
�What is it?� I asked as I caught sight of the lip coming out and the perfectly plucked eyebrows moving into the confused position.
�Why don�t you straighten your hair?�
�It takes too much time�� I was unsure as to what the problem was.
�Can I do it?�
�And your make-up?� she began to rock back and forth on the balls of her feet, with her straight hair swaying.
“Puh-leeeeeaze? For Kikilala time?” the swaying stopped.
No. No means no.�
She picked up the flatiron without comment and began to divide my hair into sections. So, we have to read The Great Gatsby for class this fall, and Mom had me read it early. I like how Fitzgerald uses imagery, Lala�� There it was again.