E – Eeeelizabeth

Posted: 24 June 2005 in A-Z, other folks, writing
Tags: , ,


From the time my sister was old enough to talk, she ferociously fought back against the nicknames folks bestow on cute little tykes with long cumbersome names. The teachers shortened her to Lizzie, our neighbors chopped her off at Beth. Even her own family subjected her to names like Lu, Bit, and (in one ill-guided and fiercely defended moment, Eli). To all of us she responded politely and emphatically that her name was E-Lizabeth. Frankly, you could have been the President of the United States and she’d have corrected you if you went for a diminutive. She relaxed as she grew up, allowing her sorority sisters to call her Liz, consenting to a fatherly Lizard and a grandfatherly Strawberry (a reflection on her coppery locks) and accepting gracefully the parade of nicknames her sisters dumped on her. We cycled through hundreds, some lasting longer than others, and confusing the folks to whom she insisted she had to be Elizabeth.

Six years younger meant I was out of the house before she hit high school. Although close as children, she became a short, stocky admirer that I didn’t have enough time for as I juggled boyfriends, girlfriends and the VVM on short trips home. She was always just out of my line of sight, quiet, and I got the sense that she spent each visit waiting for me to leave so that life could return to normal. We didn’t have much to say to each other until I moved overseas and she was in high school. We were always much closer than I was with my other sister and leaving her each time to grow older, more graceful and more beautiful always made me cry harder than I expected at goodbyes.

She moved to DC two years ago to attend graduate school. She freely morphed from little sister to friend and back again, embracing D. and bringing her into the family, sponging for dinners and movies, calling for job advice and doing liberal amounts of cat sitting/plant watering and caretaking (of the house, D and myself). She went practically everywhere with us, more than once prompting D. to groan at another lost afternoon in bed. She’ll be the first to tell you she’s good times and she is. She races from dry wit to children’s knock knock jokes indiscriminately and nearly always has a side-splitting insight on the oddity of the day.

Then, in a fit of insanity, she applied and got into law school in Arizona. So she left, packing her apartment and sending boxes to our parents. She’s always considered Tucson home and when the U of A accepted her, there was no chance she’s be staying in the Capital with us. I don’t think it sank in until we dropped her off at the airport. I handled her departure so badly I’m not entirely sure how I ever left home to begin with. Filled with older sister genes as I am, I wish I could make her stay here, or at least within driving distance. At this rate though, it looks like D. and I are going to be buying a lot of plane tickets if I ever want to see my far-side of the Rockies family.

I miss Elizabeth.


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