Something to Chew On

  • Kids fighting leaves me feeling irritated and simply rotten. All that discord destroys the peace of the house and puts everyone in a foul mood. I wonder how can my children dislike each other so much. Then I rememb-er when I was young. I fought with my sister all the time. We just did not get along. “How did you resolve it?” asked my husband. “I don’t know. We grew up.”

It was nineteen seventy something. Times were hard in Jamaica. All the wonderful goods from America had stopped coming in and supermarket and pharmacy shelves were bare. My mother worked for the airlines so she’d go to Miami and bring us those coveted first world treats like Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks cereal. We complained that the cereal from the Caribbean tasted like cardboard. Once mom bought us a pack each of grape flavoured Bubble Yum. I rationed mine, biting only half and saving the other half. I hid the pack in my drawer. One day I went into the bedroom I shared with my sister and opened the drawer. My bubble gum was gone. I knew who the culprit was. The thorn in my side. She’d eaten her Bubble Yum within hours. She later told me she didn’t think I would notice the gum was missing. To say I was angry is an understatement. I railed at her, threatened her life. I reminded her for years after, that she’d committed this offence.

Years later when I had my first child and my sister was working for BET, she came to Jamaica to visit. She opened up a very large suitcase on my bedroom floor and there inside were packs and packs of grape flavoured Bubble Yum, Twizzlers and jelly beans.

“These are for you,” she laughed. “I hope this makes up for the time I ate your bubble gum and thought you wouldn’t notice.”

We sat on the floor and ate Twizzlers, jelly beans and bubble gum for hours, reminiscing about our childhood and growing closer.

I am the eldest of three girls. I am blessed to have a great relationship with both my sisters and I hope my children will learn to get along and want to be around each other as adults. After all, who else but a sibling would be honest about how I really look in that dress, and sometimes know more about me than I know myself. And so, I tell my son, “one day, you’ll realize how much you love your sister.” “No I won’t,” he says. Silently, I say, oh yes you will.

While writing this blog, I called my sister.
“You know those yoghurt covered raisins you had in your pantry over Spring Break?”
“Yes.”
“I ate them.”
“All of them?”
“Yup.”
“The whole box?”
“Yeah. Did you notice?”
“I didn’t notice,” she said laughing.

2 replies
  1. Nicki Riettie
    Nicki Riettie says:

    holy cow how i love your writing!!! i could picture myself in your room, listening to you and Rach! You are awesome! I still tease my sister Rosalie about the time she threw my brush out the window, simply because I left it on her vanity. lol she tries to deny it ever happened now but she knows its true!

  2. Jacqueline.
    Jacqueline. says:

    This story is refreshing, what a classic example of a good ol sibling grudge. It will definitely take them years to appreciate and recognize the value of their bond… Also the importance of the stupid Bubble Yum when it comes to life haha. When you grow with people around you who you share your life with form day one sometimes you don’t realize how much you need them there since you always have them.

    Reminds me of my relationship with my cousin Shanice. We met in grade 7 as friends and soon came to realize we are first cousins! Growing up with no siblings of my own or any family on my fathers side for that matter, made this find the most amazing feeling I’d ever felt.. We’ve been close like sisters since that day and she has really been the only person in my life who I’ve had that “I love you, I hate you why are you so, YOU” moments.

    Loved it P, Great story…
    I’ll be “chewing” on some more of your past posts when I get home!

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