I have four sisters.
Daria is sixteen months younger than me. We have both parents and one brother in common. Daria and I are as different as two exactly alike people can be. You would never guess we were blood relations until we started laughing or swearing. Daria looks just like our brother Todd, so as my cousin and hairdresser Carmello recently said, “They had milkmen back then. How do you feel about dairy?”
Anya is six years younger than me. We have no parents in common. When my mother and her father got together, Anya was very young. She doesn’t remember a time before I kept trying to make her hair curl. Anya’s politics are further left than mine; she is a driven business owner. Men fall at Anya’s feet, which amuses Anya’s husband Dan.
Corinne and Anya share parents. They have fair skin and blue eyes, and yet, they resemble different parents. Anya and Corinne finish each other’s sentences. Corinne is so funny you think you heard wrong. She and Anya own the family store with their mother and a toy store besides. I am so lucky!
Dara is fifteen and a half; Dad’s daughter by his statuesque second wife. Dara is smart and funny and so, so teenage. Last summer, we had a big old combined family weekend and the whole family took a deep breath and turned purple when Dara put on a pink bikini. A week after Dara was born, I found Anya in a bar with a picture of a baby, “It’s my sisters’ sister!”
I mention this now because I’m on the verge of drawing you the character chart I always wanted when I read Russian novelists for this reason:
February 7: Dan
February 15: Me
March 1: Anya
March 16: Corinne
April 1: Todd
April 8: Miss Sasha
Daria wants things normal. Dan is surprised when people notice he has a birthday. Anya and Corinne have always shared a celebration that included Irish music and hearing loss. Each time my terrified family has tried to celebrate my birthday, something bizarre has happened. It’s been almost two horrifying weeks. I’m fully prepared to let it go.
Dara’s birthday is in July and by then, maybe things will have returned to some kind of normal. For now, let’s skip the genoise and fall straight into industrial-strength Green Beer In A Drum.