2011-10-12 / Sandy Days, Salty Nights

Love between sisters

It’s a funny thing about sisters. They’re fiercely loyal and and intensely competitive. They have all the cut-throatedness of women but the deep bond that comes with shared blood. Theirs is a complicated relationship.

If you’re an only child — as I am — then the sisterly bond often crops up with close friends. Women who are our confidantes, our allies and our bitter rivals. My recent roommate, Adele, and I had just this sort of relationship. Intensely close, almost familial. We lived in a strange city where both of us were foreigners. We ate breakfast together every morning and shared a pot of tea before bed. We were like two spinster sisters.

Until Jordan came.

I liked to think he was not my type. He was on the short side, unkempt and focused almost entirely on himself. But he was funny. And smart. And he had a sort of swagger that gave him a dashing charm.

Adele knew Jordan from work, and he fell into our lives the evening he locked himself out of his house and had to spend the night at our place. I went to bed alone and woke up the next day to find a man, strangely, in the house.

Jordan became a regular visitor after that. Sometimes he took me out for coffee. Sometimes he invited Adele — only Adele — to the movies. When he stopped by our house for a beer, he placed himself squarely between us so that we were never sure which way his light shone. It revolved like the beam from a lighthouse, illuminating one woman while the other sat in the dark.

Our lives went on like that, balanced between Jordan’s affection, until my contract ended and I moved to another city. Adele and I shared a tearful goodbye, unsure when we might see each other again.

What a surprise, then, when we found ourselves in the same city just a few months later. We were ecstatic to spend an afternoon together, hugging and talking and laughing like old friends.

I didn’t ask about Jordan. Not directly. But I circled the conversation around him.

“How is everyone?” I said. “Any news?”

“Always the same,” Adele answered.

She caught me up on the latest gossip: who was dating, who had broken up, who had moved away. I poured a second glass of wine and nodded, wondering if Jordan would come up.

He did, later in the day, as Adele and I walked armin arm around the city.

“Jordan and

I slept together,” she said.

Like that, no preamble. She let it drop into the conversation like a stone into the sea. “Three times,” she said.

“At work.”

“And afterward?”

I asked. “Did you guys date?”

She rolled her shoulders, nonchalant. “He wanted to come over to my place, but I didn’t want him in the house. I didn’t want to be with him like that.”

Was she gloating? I couldn’t tell. She seemed both victorious and apologetic. And me? I balanced between happiness — I root for Adele in all things — and searing jealousy. Much like I would be if she were my sister, if we shared blood instead of an apartment. ¦

Return to top