Some where along the way, (without me noticing,) my little sister grew up. That’s right, I said it, the girl went and got all growed up. I suppose, through my eyes, I’ve always seen her as my little sister, but the truth is Gnat is now 27, has successfully graduated art school as a computer animator, leads a youth group at her church, and is now tackling the most important job next to parenting, teaching. How times have changed.
Of course, she wasn’t always like this. As a matter of fact, she was more like that kid from the exorcist. I’m usually the kind to sugar coat the truth, but for the sake of literary impact, I’m going to be as forthcoming as possible. My little sister was a spoiled brat (the spiteful seed of Satan I often thought). She was Daddy’s little girl, and she knew this all too well. She constantly nagged, and always got what she wanted. And when she didn’t, she threw Academy Award winning temper tantrums until she did. To top it all off, we absolutely hated each other. Sure, there were times when we would get along (usually to prevent dying of boredom), but for the most part, we were always fighting. And when we did, I had to be quick on my feet, because her preferred method of attack was that of a rabid Pitbull with lock jaw. You guessed it, her M.O. was biting. She would latch on like a South American river leech, sinking her teeth deep into my tan integument. I would do everything short of eye gauging to get her to let go. Some days I managed to escape her cannibalistic wrath, and others I was a helpless vampire victim. Even with my superior intellect and larger frame, she always had the upper hand, actually our Dad’s hand. Whenever my victory seemed eminent, she would pull the “I’m gonna cry now and watch Daddy come over and beat your ass” card. Most often than not, he did. She would cry and whimper, accusing me of hitting her (sometimes I hadn’t even touched her,) and right on cue, Dad would come in a frustrated rage and unleash a thunderous punishment. A nice worn leather belt was usually the weapon of choice, but when that wasn’t in sight, God help you if you had left your hot wheel tracks out (kids these days don’t know shit about takin’ a lickn’). If you messed up around my house, you were getting spanked with something, and by somebody (even the maid had spanking privileges).
As the years passed, the fighting slowly diminished (as did the spanking.) She matured a bit, and we managed to be civil to each other through my pubescent years of Junior High. Through out High school, we even developed a friendship. Eventually, we both left home for college, and ended up on opposite ends of the country. From then on, I visited her on a few different occasions. We would see each other during the holidays and I also went to her graduation. Every time I spent time with her, I noticed that she had matured a little more. Our friendship grew and now we have in depth talks about relationships, family dynamics, and of course, boys (she always wants a guy’s point of view).
During my holiday visit at Fel’s house, I intended on visiting a beloved friend from high school. Unfortunately, she lived two hours away and I had no way of getting there. I had pondered the idea of asking Gnat for a ride (I certainly doubted that she’d loan me her new car), but didn’t think that she’d go for it. To my amazement she did, and was even upset that I hadn’t asked earlier, so that we could have left at a decent time. It was a two hour trip, and we had a pleasant ride talking about various topics (our childhood included), and of course, her current dating situation. At one point we stopped for snacks and I helped a woman who had locked herself out of her car get back in (contrary to popular belief, I am not predisposed to such talents because I’m hispanic, I just happen to be good with my hands). We finally reached my friend May’s house and we had a glorious visit. I was so happy to see that she had only grown more beautiful since I’d last seen her and that she was doing so well. I got to meet her amazing three year old son, who will undoubtedly become a model some day [insert acorn cliché here]. He was also very well behaved, and I marveled at the connection they shared (undoubtedly a mamma’s boy).
After catching up we all went out for sushi, and ‘lil man and I puppeteered an unfair duel between a power ranger and Lava girl. Apparently his defenses were impervious to fireballs, and Lava girl ended up with multiple sub dural hematomas and some broken bones (basically she got her ass beat). It was getting late, so we didn’t have time for the emergency surgery to stop the internal bleeding that would have saved her life (where’s La Cubana Gringa when you need her?) We topped off our short stay with the opening of a few gifts, and watching ‘lil man crash hot wheels into each other. After extended good-byes and vows to never let eight years pass without a visit again, we were on our way back to Fel’s house. The drive back was fraught with deep conversation and with every thought and opinion expressed, Gnat revealed exactly how seasoned and matured she really was. I witnessed my little sister grow up right before my eyes.