By ERIN COOK
We grew up together, you and I. I was born into a world that you had taken by storm. As a natural over-achiever, you had already sung, danced and shimmied your way through your toddler years. Now, you had a wide-eyed younger sister to follow you around and call ‘shotgun’ on your favorite stuff. It was a love affair from the very first day.
It didn’t take long for you to claim me as your own. Mum chuckled as you pushed me around in your miniature pram. You had replaced your dolls with the infant that was tottering around the house. The age gap between us meant that I couldn’t join in, but I was just happy to be a prop in your game.
As we grew older, I began to participate at playtime. Instead of sitting in the pram, I ran along beside you. We became ballerinas and you shared your costumes with me. I never went without as long as you were around. The living room was transformed by routine performances of Swan Lake with our parents as the only audience members. Without a care in the world or an inch of dance training, we threw our limbs around until we collapsed into stitches of laughter.
The years flew by and before I knew it, you were starting high school. You wore a tartan dress, panama hat and pulled your socks up high. When you boarded the high school bus, I was consumed by jealousy and admiration. The bus full of teenagers in preppy, private school uniforms was like nothing I had seen before. Everyone at my school wore a polo shirt and footy shorts. Were you on your way to Summer Bay? Or was it Ramsay Street? All I knew is that I wanted to go with you.
Over the next few months, something started to change. My friendship status was downgraded. You weren’t interested in me anymore but I still persevered. I had so many questions about your new life. Who were your new friends? What did you talk about? Were there any boys? What books were you reading? You didn’t notice that I was always right behind you, waiting for a backwards glance and an opportunity to be part of your life.