I wasn't sure for a long time. I'm not sure why. It might have been the way she walked around singing that old Juliana Hatfield song, "I hate my sister" under her breath. And not so under her breath. It might have been the way I'd send her email back when we were both on AOL and you could see whether or not mail had been opened, and it would eventually drop off her her "new mail" list after thirty days without ever having been read. It might have been that comment she made to her ex-boyfriend about how she didn't want to hang out with me and my friends because we "talked about square roots and laughed".
I'll have you know that radicals can be very entertaining in their place.
Anyway, she started a new job a few months ago, and this past week it happened that she needed a ride to pick up her paycheck. Imagine my surprise when I saw a photograph of her and my daughter prominently displayed on her desk. Imagine my even greater surprise when her co-workers asked my daughter knowledgeable, targeted questions like, "How did your speech contest go?"
Okay, okay--I realize that all of the evidence thus far indicates only that she likes my daughter, but trust me. It's close enough. And she showed us all of the best art, the sacred old books (sacred not because it's a Catholic college library and many of the books actually ARE sacred, but because they're more than a hundred years old and demand reverence in handling even if they happen to be about the newly discovered health dangers associated with the common house fly), and the window from which you can allegedly see Chicago on a clear day. It wasn't a clear day, but it was a spectacular view nonetheless.
It was a little reminiscent of...well, actually I can't say exactly what it was a little reminiscent of. Was looking out the tower window into the distance a bit like climbing the art building on my old college campus twenty years ago? No, not at all. And yes. Did the old first-edition Mark Twain (who knew there were OTHER Tom Sawyer stories?) remind me that I'd put the first "classics" into her hands while she was still in elementary school? Not really. And kind of. Did watching her show my daughter her domain remind me of touring my own undergraduate campus with her? I'll bet you can guess the answer to that...or both of them.
I guess most of all it was a little reminiscent of being sisters, something we don't do enough of these days, while she's busy being a librarian and a girlfriend and I'm being a writer and a mother and the world keeps moving at such an amazing pace. But the truth is, I like her, too.