Tatiana Talks

Thank You, Superstorm Sandy

Lana bought this book for me for my 16th birthday.
I still have it.
When someone asks “How are you doing?” I almost always respond: “Well, thanks. You?” “Well” is simple. The truth is not. But the well-meaning stranger doesn’t want the truth. They were just being polite. So, I return the favor by not regaling the person with all the problems keeping me up at night.

The same can be said for when someone asks, “Are you and your sister close?” The simple answer is “Yes.”  The truth is more complicated than that.
I love my sister. I can (and do) tell her everything. When Houdini dumped me via text message, she was the person I called and she was there in less than an hour with a big bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes. When I lost my job, she was my first call, and again she was there with cigarettes and wine.

She is my biggest fan and cheerleader and challenges me to be a better person. She is my sister. We email everyday and text on the weekends and have inside jokes, and no one's opinion means more to me (with the possible exception of my mother). Is that close?

But it wasn't always like this. Growing up, Lana was a few years older than me and often saddled with the responsibility of watching me while our mother slept (she worked nights) and my father studied. Imagine being 14-years-old and wanting to just hang out with your friends and talk about boys, but all your friends are too busy cooing over your super adorable little sister. You would hate me too.

As I got older, I became a bigger pest, borrowing her clothes and subsequently ruining them, giving her even less privacy than she had at 14, and telling my mom whenever she did anything wrong.

Eventually, Lana left home, went to college and got a tattoo: cementing her status as the coolest person I knew.

In return for no longer having her favorite sweaters stolen, Lana began to give me advice, took me to parties, and when she was home on break she helped me cut class. Even without email, Facebook and cell phones, it was probably during this time that my sister and I were closest.

But then I started to grow-up and over the next few years she had to adjust to the idea that I was also a grown-up that didn’t always need her big sister.

I had to realize that my hero was also a human.

It was a tough adjustment period, and at times I wondered if my sister weren’t my sister, would she still be my friend?

I got my answer last week.

Hurricane (or, I’m, sorry, Superstorm) Sandy hit the East Coast last week. While Philadelphia was relatively unscathed, airports (as well as the city) shutdown in anticipation of a catastrophe. And my sister, who was in town to cheer me on in the Marine Corp Marathon, was stuck in Philadelphia. I didn’t have anywhere to go – my office was closed – so while Sandy ravaged New York and New Jersey, Lana and I sat on my couch, ate junk food, watched trashy television, farted, didn’t shower, laughed, and talked. Neither of us needed anything from the other. She didn’t need my shoulder to cry on; I didn’t need her to fight a battle for me.  

I feel terrible for all those that have suffered loss because of this superstorm. But I can’t help but be grateful for the good things that came out of it – corporations opening their doors and donating their warmth and more importantly their electricity to those without both, Republicans and Democrats coming together to get relief to those that need it, and New Yorkers actually learning their neighbors' names.

And my sister and I becoming close. Again.