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February 18, 2022

Sisterly Love: When ‘Jurassic Park’ Meets ‘Little Women’

Disappointed as my sister surrendered to the heteronormative norm and got married, I turned into a deadly t-rex.

by Tabayyun Pasinringi, Reporter
Sisterly Love: When 'Jurassic Park' Meets 'Little Women'

The day my sister got married, I turned into a tyrannosaurus rex. 

Like Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka’s seminal classic Metamorphosis, I woke up with a scaly, rough, and lizard-like skin. More than half of my face transformed into a snout, filled with sharp and large fangs. If the Red Riding Hood saw me, she would’ve gasped, ‘Oh, grandma what big teeth you have’. 

My irises are little slits that look sinister for a warm-blooded ancient creature. I had a literal tail now growing out of my bottom, with a pointy end swinging back and forth. The only things that remained the same were my height and weight. I was a tiny dinosaur with teensy flimsy hands but a deafening roar.

I was set to wreak havoc on the wedding party and ceremony but failed short. Because the transformation only happened in my head. But the rage was not made up. As my sister was marrying her high school sweetheart and chose to embark in what I saw as a cliched and conforming way of life, it evoked the monster in me.

Also read: Oh Dear, My Sister is Retiring

I had been throwing tantrums ever since my sister got engaged nine months prior. I did (still do) have the mental capacity of a bratty five years old, even though I was 24 years old at the time. But my sister was my ally in my journey of questioning the suffocating social norms, and witnessing her surrendering into the traditional norms broke me. 

Thus, I turned into the grinch, ready to stop the wedding. But our house had turned into a chaotic celebration where I, the youngest in the family, was handed the task of washing piles and piles of dishes. All the livelong day. 

I had no time and energy to ruin the party. Instead, my mind conjured up an image of a T-rex tail swaying back and forth to destroy the decorations and letting out thunderous growls to scare the groom. 

My only window to stop the wedding came right before she went into the car to go to her mother in law’s house for another never ending ceremony. It was my time to say my piece. 

Just like Jo March from Little Women asking her older sister Meg not to marry, I was planning to tell my sister it was not too late to leave her ‘husband’. We could live in the big city and survive just fine with no help from any man. But I was tongue tied and before I even realized it, she closed the door and roamed into the sunset. 

As I watched the car getting smaller and smaller, the angry dinosaur inside me rolled out a single tear on my left cheek (snout). I have lost my sister to heteronormativity forever. 

First Crack of The Glass

My sister and I are never exactly the best of friends. When we were a little, she was an exasperating big sister. She would stop talking to me for days and basically denied my existence every time our parents gave us identical clothes. She would hog the bathroom and was basically very grumpy. I was not exactly an innocent child either. Whenever I got angry at her, I would throw her barbie dolls into the sewer. 

Growing older, she would put her dirty feet on my bed, while I would steal her clothes and never return them. We constantly bickered about mundane things such as, who should clean the house or go to the market for groceries. 

Also read: Mamma Mia, Thank You for The Music, Mother

Nevertheless, we had each other’s back, especially since we have a “common enemy”: our mother. If Mom scolded my sister for being sloppy, I defended her by saying that she was an exhausted medical student and didn’t have time to clean. I told my mother that I could clean up her room instead. Feeling gratitude, my sister would give me money to buy snacks. 

The same goes with me. Whenever Mom mocked my lack of fashion sense and sloppiness, since most of my clothes were hand-me-downs from my older siblings, my sister told her off, saying if she hated my appearance so much, she should have bought me new clothes.

What I cherished the most from our relationship back then was the quality time we spent just hanging out at cafes, sharing fudgy brownies, or eating a bucket full of fried chicken while talking about movies. She may not understand my love for the movie Heathers and I for her obsession with Nosferatu, but we bond through Mean Girls and School of Rock

Sadly, our sisterly bond started to fray when she introduced her beau, now husband, to our parents. Before, they would mostly text and call each other, and rarely meet in person. But after the formal introduction, they often went out and turned into a disgusting, lovey-dovey couple even in my presence. 

Worse still, she often bailed out of our plans to catch a movie, eat out, or just talk about silly b-rated movies. When we did hang out, she would bring her boyfriend and I became the third wheel. 

I don’t hate her husband, he’s a decent guy. It just sucked that she no longer made time for me like she used to. Physically she was still the same, but she became another version of her that I did not recognize. The harsh truth is, even before marriage, I already lost her. 

When My Sister Become Oviraptor

Following the sad period after the wedding, our sisterly bond slowly recovered when my sister was pregnant with her first child. She and her husband were and are still living with us. The pandemic was ongoing for a year and my sister decided to take sabbatical leave from the hospital she worked for during her pregnancy. She spent most of her days at home and when I’m done with work in the evening, she would ask me to join her for a movie, cook me dinner, or gossip about the scandalous stories of beauty influencer James Charles. 

Also read: How Feminism in My Family Has Shaped Me

Her husband, meanwhile, after spending the days working at the office, rarely joined us in the living room to hang out like he used to. He seemed spent so he usually went straight to bed or played video games to unwind. I’m guessing it was his way of giving us our needed quality sister time, and I’m grateful for him for that matter.

Just when our relationship was flourishing, a sense of terror struck during her due date. She and her husband rushed to the hospital at 7 in the morning after she felt the contractions. Due to the COVID-19 protocol, only two people were allowed to accompany her to the hospital, so only her husband went. 

I was still asleep at that time, and I was out of my mind when my sister did not return any of my text until the afternoon. My Dad told me not to worry but his anxious face betrayed him.

We did not hear anything from the hospital until the next day. Dad woke me up before dawn and told me that my sister was alone in the hospital room as her husband had to sort out some administrative issues. Apparently, my sister needed a C-section due to some unforeseen complication.

Dad then drove me off to the hospital to accompany my sister. Sleepy and confused, but also in fear, I passed the quiet hospital hallway. Before I reached my sister’s room, however, I heard a woman crying her heart out while having a video call with her husband. I stopped to listen and regretted my decision afterwards. The woman apparently lost her baby after the hospital denied her request for a C-section. 

I was stunned. My heart beat faster as that could have been my sister. I ran to her and found her lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling. In a distraught voice, I tried to cheer her up by talking about the new edition of our favorite comic book. Her lips were chapped, and she was as pale as a ghost, but she managed to smile. 

I sat by her bed for 30 minutes before her mother-in-law came and replaced me. She said not to worry and that I should go on about my day. I did go home and work but I could not focus, imagining the worst scenario. What if my sister and her baby died during labor? I couldn’t bear if that was to become reality. I never prayed that hard for anything other than my sister’s and her baby’s safety that day. 

The hospital finally granted her wish for a C-section and my prayer was answered. During midday, a healthy baby boy was born. My father was crying and thanking God over and over again. I was crying buckets. Only my mother was being her usual stoic self.

The hospital let visitors come the next day. When I entered her room, the view shocked me but in a good way. From a fragile new mom in labor, my sister has transformed into a beautiful oviraptor with lizard-like eyes – the mischievous “egg thief” dinosaur that is actually a good parent. Her tiny feeble hands signaled me to come over and see her baby. He was this tiny, wrinkly pink creature. When I held him, he crunched his small face, it was his way of greeting me. My dinosaur sister was watching us with a wide, toothy grin. 

She told me I was one of the first few people who held her baby, other than her husband, mother-in-law, and Dad. For me, that simple act was special. As I watched my sleeping nephew squirm in my arms and my sister list baby names, I felt our sisterhood becoming more alive and getting stronger with a new spirit. 

Tabayyun Pasinringi adalah penggemar fanfiction dan bermimpi mengadopsi 16 kucing dan merajut baju hangat untuk mereka.