July 24, 1991: Matawan, New Jersey
Kicking off my sneakers, I sat cross-legged beside my mother on the hospital bed.
“Sammi, this is your sister Sabrina. Your dad and I decided that we’ll call her Brie.”
“Can I hold her?”
“Just be careful.” Mom warned as Brie squirmed in her swaddle.
I cradled my newborn sister. “Hi Brie. I’m your big sister Sammi.”
My little sister wrinkled her nose.
“When you grow up, both of us can make Raf play Barbies. When you come home, I’ll read you my favorite books — I know you’ll love them, too. And we can share clothes once you’re not a baby!”
Brie promptly fell asleep.
Summer 2004: Birmingham, Alabama
“Brie, no running!”
I sprinted after my thirteen-year-old sister through the Wal-Mart toys section. Brie grabbed a large bouncy ball and galloped toward the cashiers. I caught up to and linked arms with her. Once in line, two white elderly women clucked disapprovingly behind them.
The taller woman shook her head. “It’s a shame when foreigners let their kids run wild.”
Her shorter companion nodded. “Though, it’s not their fault. Where are their parents?”
I rolled her eyes and turned to face the women. “Being brown and speaking English aren’t mutually exclusive.”
The women gasped, poised to insincerely apologize.
“Our parents are at home. My autistic sister wanted to go to Wal-Mart to get a new ball. She has the mental capacity of a toddler. Don’t even think about saying bless her heart, because people like you are full of shit.”
Brie giggled and tugged my arm. “Sammi — play ball?”
“Yes, Brie. We’ll play when we get home.”
Fall 2012: Alpharetta, Georgia
“Sammi’s room!” Brie hugged me and gestured upstairs.
Once in my room, I asked, “Brie, are you okay?”
Brie’s brow furrowed. “Yeah — Sammi’s room is fun. No Mommy.”
I stifled a laugh as we sat beside each other on my bed. Brie turned on her iPad and pulled up a photo of her with a black boy a couple of years younger.
“Who is that, Brie?”
“Dylan from Speech. He is nice and cute.”
As my little sister showed me more photos of her crush, I couldn’t help but laugh. In spite of our differences, we’re sisters. We don’t just share the same DNA; we also share the same taste in men.