I was only recently out of college and living back in the house where I grew up when I noticed the shift in my little sister Mia.
Our genes left most of the family with average height, but Mia was always a little on the shorter side, somewhere around five-foot-two. I remember this because I taunted her about this many a time, since my sister also happens to be an avid volleyball player for her school’s team, and you generally want to have enough stature to reach the ball wherever it’s landing and smack it back. You can’t be a shrimp. She likely always harbored a bit of resentment toward me for this type of joking, but to her credit, she’s maintained a place on the varsity team every year of participation.
The change became apparent to me one morning at breakfast, on the day of the season’s first game; my parents and I were already eating, when Mia skipped into the room. Though I couldn’t tell without direct comparison, I could see immediately she’d had a growth spurt. This fact made no sense, of course, but there it was. My little sister, with her ever-present black ponytail and athletically toned limbs, usually relegated to a squat five-two, was now standing somewhere more like five-foot-eight. Essentially my same height. My jaw hung.
“Morning, everybody,” Mia said cheerily. She waggled her fingers in a princess-style wave, then looked at me directly. “Morning, Hal.”
“Wow,” my dad said, somehow without concern.
“Somebody’s been taking their vitamins,” my mom said, almost proudly.
“Yeah, I guess I have,” Mia said. She winked at all of us, especially me. Then, with no other reference to this bizarre six-inch increase, she scooted into her chair and tucked into a plate full of eggs and bacon.
Throughout the meal, I watched my sister chow down as though nothing was out of the ordinary: she can really put away a lot of food when she’s prepping for a game day, and her metabolism seems to just burn it all away, since she maintains her lopingly curved yet firm figure. Today, though, she was really going for it. Between bites, she’d look up at me, and smile smugly, then sit up straighter in her chair, for easier revelation that we were, in fact, the same height now. I was bewildered.
After breakfast, I stood by my bedroom dresser choosing the outfit I’d be wearing to my part-time job. When I heard the door close suddenly, I turned around, only to find my dark-haired volleyball star sibling strutting toward me.
“Are you coming to the game tonight, bro?” she questioned sweetly.
With her hands on her hips, her thighs sashayed, and her pert bubble butt became the focal point of her gait. A self-satisfied smirk painted her full lips. Only now did I not only realize we were the same height, but that her assets had grown in tandem with her body, with blossoming breasts and thicker thighs than ever; obviously noticing such a thing on my own sister repulsed me, but it was impossible not to see. Mia stopped walking directly in front of me, so our eyes aligned perfectly. Indeed, she had grown six full inches overnight.
“I, uh, have plans,” I muttered. My shoulders touched the dresser, and I realized my intimidation at Mia’s change had actually allowed her to back me against the drawers.
“Well, change them,” she snapped possessively. She pressed her index finger hard against my chest. “I want my family to support me at all my matches this year, especially now that I’m making some… changes to my game.”
“What did you do?” I asked. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing’s going on. I’m just improving at my biggest passion, Hal. I guess you wouldn’t understand, since you’ve only ever thought I was trailing around with the big girls, never tall enough to play and never being taken seriously,” Mia snorted. She exhaled warm eggs-and-bacon breath on my face. “Well, I think they’ll take me a little more seriously now. Don’t you?”
The way she said “little,” languishing and practically glaring into my soul, made me shiver. She evidently noticed, and giggled at me.
“We could almost be twins, big bro. I bet people who never met us wouldn’t even know you’re four years older than me. Maybe after a little while longer, they won’t even think twins, they’ll just think I’m the big… never mind. You’ll see.” My sister leaned in and planted a soft kiss on my cheek, patted my chin with her palm, then sauntered out of the room again, leaving me befuddled. “I’ll expect to see you at that game, Hal, or I’ll be upset.”
Only after my sister had exited the room did I realize she’d released a ladylike toot in my closed-door bedroom. I wrinkled my nose, trying to wave the airy stench away, but it only seemed to linger: the scents of Mia’s makeup and perfume intermingled lightly with the ghostly waft of her morning fart.
After such a strangely intimidating encounter with my normally much meeker sister, I of course made sure to attend the game that night with my parents. Not that I told them why.
Mia certainly didn’t put her added six inches to waste. Ordinarily, at her lower stature, she still puts her heart into every point, sprinting around the court and diving whenever necessary to make up for her shortness. Today, though, she was granted the freedom to be more aggressive and measured in her play. We could see her dense thighs and rounded glutes clenching as she prepared to pounce like a jungle cat, launching upward to set the ball for one of her six-foot-plus teammates to crush it over the net. My sister personally assisted nine points in that first game, which only made my parents cheer louder, but worried me a great deal.
After winning the match, on the car ride home, Mia babbled excitedly with our parents about the dynamics of the game. I just sat sullenly on my side, studying my lankier sister, and trying to understand what happened. The girl sat like a victorious queen upon the leather seats, but she certainly wasn’t garbed or decorated as one, with sweat darkening her taut uniform in ovular patches. Though still athletically glamorous despite it, Mia’s tan skin sparkled with hard-earned perspiration, and at such close proximity, I was made to bitterly savor the salty odor all the way home. Stale, moist flavors from all over my sister’s toned form steamed from her weary body. If our parents smelled her, they certainly didn’t mention it, so all I could do was endure the sweaty stench and the occasional joyful side-eye from Mia. When we arrived home, I went straight to bed, hoping to avoid any further exposure to my sister’s odor, plus any gloating she planned to do about successfully spooking me into attending her game. I wouldn’t give the little brat the satisfaction. We might be the same height now, but I’m still the older sibling, and I have my pride.
This plan was foiled, however, the very next morning.