It started in Long Lots Elementary School, where in Sept. of 2003, I involuntarily received the nickname “Hendel’s Sister” by my second grade brother’s friends.
From kindergarten to third grade, I grew accustomed to hearing “Hey, it’s Hendel’s sister, hi Hendel’s sister!” to which I would respond with an eye roll and say “I do have a name, ya know.” It seemed like with all of the multiplication and Egyptian history they were learning, there was no space – not even a crevice – in their brains to learn my name.
Over nine years of school, I experienced two different types of responses to informing my teachers on the first day of school (many of whom my brother had) that I was Aaron Hendel’s sister:
1. (Long pause) Oh… that’s nice (to which I would explain I was nothing like him)
2. (Genuine happiness) How great! I just loved having Aaron in my class! (to which I would say “…really?”)
He was the class clown, I was the suck-up. Yet, we’ve always had two similarities: our love for sports and competitiveness. Naturally when it comes to one-on-one basketball or grades in the school year, it’s cutthroat competition.
I also discovered that he had told all of his teachers that he had a younger brother – which he does not. Needless to say, they were quite confused to meet me and hear that no, he does not have a younger brother.
But, up until high school, a friendly shout-out by his friends and some overlapping teachers was the extent of our school relationship. Parents of my brother’s friends would tell me how close we’d be in high school and how our friends would all hang out together. Call me crazy, but I was skeptical. All I knew was that he would want no part of me in his social life, and as a nosy younger sister, I couldn’t really blame him.
Little did I know, my sophomore year, we would be in the same Advanced Journalism class: a dream of mine, a nightmare of his.
I would finally get to know how my brother socially interacted, see into his personal life, and hear all of the juicy gossip he talked about with his friends. Being a fairly private guy, I guess it’s understandable that he begged my mom to call the school and get me the hell out of that class.
To his dismay, I was staying.
The beginning of the year was full of good-natured (sometimes not so much) sibling banter being yelled across the room to each other. It was especially funny seeing my friends nervous to ask him, their editor (the big scary senior), about an article.
I guess this was why people were surprised when I told them we were actually pretty close at home – both figuratively and literally. Asking my editor for tips on my article about the crazy winter blizzard we were having in April was as simple as yelling across the hall from my bedroom.
Once, while on crutches, I passed him in the hallway. I noticed the mischievous glint in his eyes and half-smile smirk. Squinting my eyes in scrutiny, I nervously watched him. Just when I thought I’d misjudged the tell-tail signs of a brotherly attack, he took one of my crutches and casually walked away.
But he always balanced out his brotherly taunting with a kindhearted action. For the two months that I was on crutches, he acted as my butler, valet, and servant – to an extent. After school, I received door-to-door service. At home, he would bring me ice, food, laptop charger, drinks, blankets, you name it. If I needed him, he was there.
Even though he knows the quickest ways to get on my nerves, I’ll miss having him just a few desks, or a room, away.
Who knows, maybe his college will be on my list – after all, I can’t be “Hendel’s sister” without Hendel.