Thursday, September 14, 2006

keeping up with the joneses

when i was little, i had a best friend. she had been born during the same month as me, and she had a sister who was born in the same month as my sister, so it was perfect. our moms became friends and we had play dates. we went to the same christian elementary school and learned the same songs about jesus.

their last name is not jones, but i will refer to them as the j. sisters. my friend was j.j., and sister's friend was b.j.

they always chose j.j. to sing the solo parts during school plays. they never chose me. my mother was so angry, because naturally i could have been well on my way to child christian pop stardom had this small church with a school in the basement chosen to put me on stage. i would have liked to have been picked for a solo also, but it wasn't that big a deal to me. (now that i watch home movies of myself singing as a child, i see that they did everyone a favor.)

whenever sister and i would fight, mother would say, "look at j.j and b.j.! they get along so well! why can't you two be like that?"

i forget when we lost touch. maybe when my parents stopped going to church, when i was 10. all i know is that by the time i was in high school, j.j. was a distant memory from my childhood. this, coupled with the fact that i had become majorly fat and insecure and she was still thin and quite pretty turned her into something of a legend for me.

i hung out with her once during high school. i went to her house and hung out with her and b.j. they had such a close relationship, the likes of which sister and i have never seen. they did well in school and played instruments and had dinner around the table with their family after praying and asking for god's blessing over the food. their family seemed so normal compared to mine. almost freakish, like the cleavers.

during dinner, the subject of SATs came up. mr. and mrs. j. asked me what my score had been. i told them, and everyone thought it was so funny that j.j. and i had gotten practically the same score. except she got 20 more points than i did.

after that, i only saw b.j. and her parents. we went to the same church and b.j. and i were members of the same youth group. j.j. had gone away to college. b.j. told me how much she missed her, and all i could think about was how sister would never say a thing like that when i left for college.

now i see them on facebook. a college student and a college grad, both smart and beautiful, with handsome boyfriends and tons of friends. they call themselves liberal, which is a far cry from how we were raised, but i suspect they haven't lost their faith to the point that i have.

i'm not jealous of the j. sisters, but i have always wondered if that was what sister and i were supposed to aspire to. are they better than us? do they have perfect lives? is it something we're doing wrong, that we're not like them?

i don't know why at 22 i still think about them, and us, in those terms.

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