By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty.
My sister Theresa’s love for me is extraordinary. She is so solicitous of my welfare that when I call her on her mobile phone, she typically answers not with “hello,” but “is everything all right?” or “what’s wrong?” If something is wrong, by god, she’s going to set it right. The precedent for this aspect of her sisterly devotion seems to have been established when I was in the 2nd grade, though I am sure this extreme form of loyalty emanates from the core of her being.
When I was in the second grade, a boy in my class made me cry: cue Theresa’s wrath. Poor Samuel (his name has been changed to protect his identity) had elected to “flip up” my skirt on the playground (do little boys still do this?). Surprised and embarrassed, I burst into tears. The extremity of Theresa’s response to this injustice typifies her displeasure with any perceived mistreatment of me, known to her as “Tishy.” The next day, Theresa, who was a 6th grader, approached the boy in question, and aggressively dared him to flip up her skirt. His tears were more immediate and intense than mine had been.
Twenty years later, Theresa was no less anxious for my safety. I was vacationing in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, in 2001, and a tropical storm hit the city. I was aware of a strong storm outside the windows of the club where my friends and I were dancing all night. I didn’t realize it was a significant tropical storm until I got a call from Theresa the next morning. She knew more about the storm than I did as she had been anxiously checking the weather channel every five minutes. The only awareness I had of the unusual weather was as we left the club, we saw locals grab fish off the flooded streets to take home for Sunday dinner. The fact that fish were on the street did strike me as abnormal. When my friends and I returned to our hotel, one of the larger trees had been uprooted in the courtyard, but no real damage had occurred. As is so often the case, I was fine, and Theresa worried needlessly.
Theresa’s anxiety is also a storm: a swirling mass of concern and affection and love, awful and beautiful and powerful. Fortunately, the men who have broken my heart have done so stealthily, without attracting her indignation. One word would be enough to summon her to my defense. In a fearsome world, how incredible to have the steadfast protection only a big sister can provide.