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Sisters At War: When Your Sister Becomes Your Rival

I don’t know when it all started but one day I realized my senior sister’s mood had changed. I got closer to her to enquire about what was eating her up. Both of us were that cool. People thought we were even twins because she never went anywhere that I wasn’t following plus we had little resemblance. She’s two years older than I am and I’d always accorded her the respect due to a senior sister.
That day when I went to her to ask what was eating her up, she answered, “nothing,” and turned away from me. All-day that day she didn’t speak to me though she was happily talking to other people on the phone. I was disturbed. I thought it was something I might have done or said wrong. I went to her again to ask what the issue was and this time she was very hostile toward me. She screamed; “Stop disturbing my peace! Is it compulsory for me to tell you everything happening in my life? Know your place. You are only a younger sister!”
I was embarrassed and confused at the same time but I gave her space and time to heal from whatever was bothering her. Days later, I met her boyfriend in church and discussed whatever was going on with him and asked him to find out from my sister if I’d done something wrong to her. He gave a huge sigh of relief and said; “I’m surprised your sister will take things this far. When I came home the other day, we were having a conversation and you walked by so I told her, “Your sister had grown beautifully and soon guys will come chasing.” That was all the offense. Now she’d blocked me on Whatsapp and doesn’t pick my calls. I believe it’s the reason why she’s behaving that way towards you.”
I didn’t want to believe that was the reason so I confronted my sister and asked her if that was the reason and her response was; “Ow so he has told you already? You both deserve each other go and take him.”

I was shocked! I never for the life in me thought my sister could be this petty. “For Christ’s sake, it was just a compliment!” I scream back at her but she walked away from me as if I was nothing.

A lot of things changed from that day on. She left her boyfriend and continued being at loggerheads with me. Somedays we spoke to each other. We laughed once in a while but our closeness suffered and some of the things we did for fun never happened again. That continued for a very long time.

One afternoon after church services, she came to my room and had a very hearty chat with me. She called what happened childish and stupid and told me she had regretted everything. She regretted leaving her boyfriend for such a lame reason and regretted the way she treated me as a sister. We both laughed over some of the things that happened and continued life as it used to be.

She later got a good job, rented her own place and left the house. I visited once in a while and she also came home once in a while to see our parents and sometimes drop a gift. One Saturday afternoon, I heard her voice on the outside while I was in my room. I rushed out to see her and I realized she was with a man.
When I got closer, she introduced me to the man. The man extended his hand and I took it. He looked at me in the eyes and said; “She talks a lot about you. Nice to meet you. You’re really beautiful.”

There and then I started having fears. Previous events started playing out. I let go of his hands and took some steps backward. I looked at my sister’s face and immediately her eyes met mine, she dropped her gaze. I knew I was in trouble again. They both went to sit at the hall, chat with my parents and left.

Before they left the house, I met them halfway. The man again held my hand and said, “Hope to see you soon.” He even made an attempt to hug me but I skipped to my sister’s side held her hand and tried engaging her but she said no word to me.
But how was that my fault? How was I suppose to prevent a man from saying what he wanted to say? My sister again started acting up and stopped talking to me again. And as I feared, that was the first and last time I heard or saw that guy she came home with. I had to bring my parents into this one but my sister just couldn’t forgive and let go. That day she decided she was going to live her life as if I didn’t exist.

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Fast forward, she’s now married to a man I never saw until their wedding day. According to my mom, my sister never told the man who later became her husband that she had a sister. She warned me not to get closer to her family.
I don’t know my sins and I don’t know why my sister thinks her boyfriend should not compliment me. Everyone has their opinions when they hear my story. Some think my sister has psychological issues and some even think it’s sheer envy. Whatever the problem is, I don’t want to know. All I want is for her to know that I’m the only sister she has and no matter what, I’ll always love her as a sister.

—Abena, Ghana
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