Once, my sister and I went out with some of our friends. It was a girls' night situation so all of us were wearing our best hair, clothes, and nails. There has never been much of a nightlife here in Anchorage but, back then (around 1999), 'going out' meant patronizing any of the nice hotels that had a dance floor. On this one night, we started at a smaller hotel. After some appetizers and a few drinks, we heard that things were really jumping at one of the larger hotels. Off we went. Downtown parking is bad during club hours so we ended up having to walk about three blocks. In dresses and heels. And with a few drinks in our systems. Just as we were about to walk into the hotel lobby, I see that one of my friends needs to adjust her skirt because it's riding down her hips. Just as I notice this, one of the other friends steps on the hem of the first friend's skirt. First Friend is oblivious to this and keeps walking until she has stepped right out of her skirt. Thank goodness, she had a slip on underneath. She didn't even blush. She just stepped back into the skirt and wrangled it back up her hips.
There was another time when I was out at a bar with my sister and one of her friends. When my sister was younger, she drank Johnny Walker - Black or Red, I can't remember. Unlike me, my sister could hold her liquor. I'm sloppy after about three mixed drinks. Anyway, there were a lot of G.I.s at the bar. For some reason, one of them bet my sister that he could drink her under the table. After 22 shots of liquor, that dude was almost unconscious. My sister might have been wasted, but she managed to stand up and strut (in three-inch heels) to the bathroom without weaving.
One of my favorite things to do with my sister was people watch. We could be anywhere - store, church, hospital - and she would have me cracking up with her observations. Of course, not only was she better at holding her liquor than I was, but she could also keep a straight face while I'd be dying of laughter about something. She'd say something hilarious about someone ("Does that chick know her wig is on crooked?") and then tell me I was going to be on my own if I got my butt kicked for laughing.
More than anything, I remember that my sister had the ability to make everyone feel loved. She was a peacemaker, a "bring-er together-er" kind of person. People confided in her without worrying that she'd betray them. You could cry on her shoulder and she wouldn't make you feel like a lesser person for doing so. Because she didn't connive, bully, manipulate, or 'stir the pot', people trusted her. Because she spoke so softly, people listened. Because she was so strong, people didn't always see her pain.
When I think about Mike these days, I imagine her in Heaven. I think of her with a new body and a new joy. I miss her. Not just today, but every day. Rest in peace, sis.