When someone who has known me for a while meets my sister for the first time (or someone she knows meets me), they usually have one of two responses:
- “Wow, you two are nothing alike.”
- “Wow, you two are definitely sisters.”
I can see where either reaction would come from. In terms of physical appearances, Emily and I each share some characteristics with both Mom and Dad (hence our good looks), but not necessarily the same ones. If you closely observe our mannerisms, or the way we talk, you might see more similarities. Nick was recently weirded out when he realized that Em and I apparently synchronize our laughs when we’re together.
As far as our personalities go, the differences are more apparent. Emily is way more energetic and outgoing, and plans ahead to the same extent that I procrastinate. But we do share a number of interests, one in particular being animals.
Despite our initial apprehension to living in such close proximity, one of the things I love about having my sister in the same apartment building is that I can call her in the middle of the day and say, “Come upstairs! There’s a baby bunny outside my office window!”
Unfortunately our encounters with wildlife have not always been so benign.
Disclaimer (mostly directed at Emily): The following is my best recollection of the event. I make no guarantees that this is exactly what happened, but it’s how I remember it.
The first December that Nick and I lived here (almost two years ago), we were getting to bed around midnight one night. It was a chilly, blustery night, so when I heard something banging around outside, I just attributed it to the wind.
I don’t remember if I looked out the window first and texted Emily, or if she texted me. It turned out there was a fox outside playing with a loose plastic drain pipe, and hitting it against the fence. It was noisy, and he wouldn’t stop. Eventually I walked out back, which scared the fox away.
So I go back to bed, and within a couple minutes the noise started up again. Through a series of text messages between Emily and me, it was decided that if we were going to get any sleep, we needed to go out to the yard and throw the drain pipe away. At some point it occurred to us that if the fox was so persistent with the pipe, there was probably a good reason for it. Like something hiding inside the pipe.
The fox ran away again as soon as Em and I walked outside, wearing coats over our pajamas and armed with nothing but the BoGoLight* my dad gave me a few years before. The pipe was slightly bent in the middle and had tooth marks on it. The fox was definitely trying to get to something. We tapped the pipe to see if anything would run out. Nope.
“Sarah, what if it’s dead?”
“I don’t want to look.”
“No! I don’t want it to fall out!”
At this point Emily and I are standing next to each other in front of the pipe. I leaned over to the one end, prepared for either: a) an animal jumping out at me, or b) a dead animal not jumping out at me. Shining my flashlight in, I saw nothing all the way to where the pipe was bent.
“Well, there’s nothing on this end. Look on the other side.” I handed Emily the flashlight.
Emily leaned down for a moment and then jumped up. “No, no! Sarah! There’s a little cottontail! Why did you make me look at this end??”
“Because that’s where you were standing!”
“You look.” Em pushed the flashlight back to me.
“I don’t want to!”
“You have to! I have to share this with someone.”
I moved to “her” end of the pipe and looked in. Like she said, there was the back end of a little rabbit- fortunately seemingly still in-tact, but most definitely not moving.
At that point, we had a new dilemma. We weren’t entirely convinced the rabbit was dead (okay, maybe we were in denial), so our original plan to throw the pipe away was a problem; we didn’t want the rabbit to wake up and be stuck inside a dumpster. But we couldn’t leave the pipe out there because the fox would just come back. And neither of us was willing to pick up the pipe and shake out the rabbit… dead or alive.
So we just stood there in the cold, looking at each other. I don’t remember if Nick came outside on his own accord or if we asked him to come out. But he accepted his manly duty of being the one to deal with the pipe. Emily and I clung to each other, eyes half covered, afraid a rabbit corpse was going to flop out as Nick shook the pipe.
Nothing fell out, though. Nick was able to convince us that the chances of the rabbit being alive were pretty slim, and we accepted that the best thing to do was to put the pipe in the dumpster as originally planned.
I used to like foxes. Not so much anymore.
*Have I mentioned that my dad likes gadgets? And sharing gadgets? As “Alternate Universe Father’s Day Gifts” he gave all of us Swiss Army Swiss Cards this year.