Clarabell was everyone's favorite. She was coined, early on, as the pretty one - the one with golden, carefree curls, apple green eyes, and a pleasant disposition. I, her nemesis, had unruly hair, too many freckles, and a weak chin.

"If you wrap a towel around their heads you can't tell them apart," Mom would say.

"Is that so," said most everyone else.

Clarabell was fifteen months older and in her own words, she was the boss of me. She got to stay up 30 minutes later, she was the first to ride the big yellow school bus, and the one who got everything new.

And she got Davy, she always got Davy. And I got Micky. They were the best part of the Monkees. The Monkees were bigger than Elvis and better than Lassie. And we were just sisters. And I was little and she was big. They were the reason we raced each other every Saturday morning, down the slippery staircase, through the pantry, to the trophy piece of our living-room - an Admiral, wood console, black and white TV.

I was convinced that, if it weren’t for her, I’d have everything I ever wanted. I’d have the sunny side of our bedroom. Davy’s picture would hang right above MY bed. Davy’s face would be the first thing I’d see every morning and the last thing I’d see before I turned out the lights.

And why does the yellow brick road have to dangle from MY side of the ceiling? A limp, long, caution strip of double-sided sticky tape, weighted in misguided flies. I can no longer lie on my bed, stretch my legs up high and point my toes or I’ll touch it. And I never sleep without my bedspread pulled way up, over my head, because I know, someday, one of those flies will come unstuck, and land right between my eyes.

If it weren’t for Clarabell I’d have her cool, baby blue sheets. I’d have the bigger pillow, the better blanket. And I’d have “Bummy,” her best friend, “Bummy.” Her NOT REAL, Easter basket, bunny rabbit that she refused to outgrow. But I wouldn’t have sucked his ears stiff grey. She hugged and tugged the pretty pink stuffing out of him, plucked the snowball tip from his tickly tail.

Everyone knew she loved Bummy more than me.

***

Two Sisters 

1899 - oil on canvas 

Bessie Macnicol

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