The Princess AND the Tower

My older sisters were instrumental in the killing of one of my imaginary friends. I had two imaginary friends when I was around three or four. Their names were Waldo and Scone. I have no idea where I got these names from (Scone may have come from my grandmother who baked scones). Scone had a motorbike and I can’t really remember much else about him. One day, my sisters were teasing me about Waldo and Scone. Teasing is something they were good at. I spent a lot of time crying as a result of their teasing (and so, they made up a song about how much I cried.) Anyway, I digress.

On the day that that they were teasing me about my imaginary friends – I walked out of the room, to return about a minute later to announce that Scone was dead. He had died on his motorbike in a nasty accident. My sisters thought this was hilarious.

Oh, how I adored those two sisters of mine. I couldn’t get enough of them and their abuse, even though they made me cry. To me they were all in the world that was super cool. And I longed to join them in their games which were very advanced and adult. I’m not going to detail every aspect of their terrorisation of me, but what I can say is that there were moments of respite when they were kind to me. I never knew when this was going to happen, but it was always awesome when they were. I was endlessly forgiving of them, copied them and wanted to be with them all the time. In fact, my nursery school report records that I was a bit of a loner and preferred spending time with my middle sister. To outsiders, they were fiercely protective of me, and still are. It was only they who could be mean to me. They can make me laugh like no one in the world. They can also make me furious. We still fight terribly. I still adore them.

What a strange and complicated relationship is sisterhood. My mother, who had two sisters of her own, always said that it was the most honest relationship you would ever have with someone. Her sisters slept at the hospital, when my father was sick, never leaving her side. They have cared for her when she was sick. I love watching them giggle together, like girls, when they are together.  

It was my middle sister that flew to India to join me when I was travelling alone after my divorce. We spent ten days laughing, swimming and talking. We drank Lassis and bought Punjabi dresses and took very funny selfies. One of the best memories I have is of her being driven up to our hotel in a white Ambassador when she arrived in India. I have a picture of her smiling, in that car, at that moment, in my apartment.

My oldest niece discovered the movie Frozen when she was very young. It is still one of her favourite movies. Frozen tells the story of Anna and Elsa who are sisters. Elsa is cursed at a young age and is told that only true love will break the curse. Elsa shuts herself off in an ice tower of her own making. It is Anna that saves her. It is True Sister Love that saves her.

I grew up believing in handsome princes rescuing princesses in towers, from witches and all bad things. I believed, as many small girls did and do, that true love would save me. And then I built a tower of my own and was stuck there for a good long while. My tower was high, terrifying and very lonely. It was my sisters who risked our relationship to rescue me. They fought bravely for me. They held me, talked to me, shouted at me and loved me. Throughout my whole life, there they have been. Persecuting me, guiding me (whether I wanted guidance or not) and supporting me.

Isn’t that the truth about all love anyway? You take the good with the bad. Scone may be gone, but I have my sisters and their steadfast, imperfect love. And I am grateful.

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