Number Five

That's the hardest part about being right behind her - I learned how to blend in.

To be one of six (the fifth, no less) is one thing. To be one of six of us (the fifth, no less), is a completely different thing. My mother had five brothers and sisters. My father had the same. Somehow, they ended up with six kids – all healthy, all beautiful, all famous.
Number One worked the hardest. She never had a lazy complex. She looked like our mother – long dark hair, big green eyes, classic semi-amused smile. She acted like our father – organized, driven, hard-working, desperate to succeed. She was the only short one in the family. Short and curvy, while the rest of us were tall and thin. The problem with following after One is that she’s perfect, at first glance – and that’s usually what people gave her.
Number Two was the biggest drama queen. She hated herself, let her body be taken over by depression and boys, let her mind be taken over by a black cloud of horror. I can’t remember this time – I remember the time afterwards, though, Mom asking, “You took your pills today, right?” and shushing me when I asked what she was sick with. Angry guitar songs. Shutting herself away in her room. She was always good socially, though she pretended not to be – she said she was shy, and perhaps that was true, but she was always herself. The impossible thing about being Two's sister is that she’s a total eclipse – her problems consume you, her star overrides you, and pretty soon you get, “You’re her sister? Wow.”
Number Three was the boy. Maybe that was his best attribute. We taught him how to talk to girls. We taught him how to react when drama surrounds you. He was socially very well adjusted. He was the talented one, too – he had the ear for music, handed down from our mother, and he could pick up many an instrument and get a robust, gorgeous sound out of it in three seconds. And the worst thing about trying to come after Three is that he gave the most amazing first impressions, and second impressions, and third impressions – and if you made it past number three, you cared a lot about him. If you didn’t, it was just as well – he still seemed amazing.
Number Four was the social one. She did everything, in her wild phase – drugs, alcohol, smoking, abusive boyfriends, cutting, being emo, being goth, writing sad poems, having crazy sex with everyone she met. And then it passed. And now people say to me, “Your sister is the sweetest,” and people say to my parents, “That girl, she always knows what to say.” She’s funny, cute, charming, outgoing – everything that I am not. If you put her and me in a room, we start to act alike – but if you add a stranger to that room, I’m quiet, she’s perfect, and I fade to the background. That’s the hardest part about being right behind Four – I learned how to blend in.
Number Six was the well-adjusted one. She saw what Four was doing and copied it. She got millions of friends, had millions of fights, found millions of crushes and boyfriends and love notes. We’re close, of course – she’s not even two years younger than me – and yet I’m nothing compared to her supernova of attractions. Once you get through the protective outer shell, she’s funny, she’s adorable, she’s easy to talk to, she’s normal. And being next to Six is the most difficult of all – because she’s normal.
Me? I guess I’m the weirdest one. They say I’m the smartest. Maybe that’s true. I ask questions, but mostly I just observe, and that’s become my strong point. I observe, I listen, I understand, and then I write it all down. The problem is, my mouth never opens. It stays closed as if sewed. And it is too hard to talk – what can I say? I’m not funny, interesting, cute, easy to talk to. I’m a good listener, and that’s what attracts people. If they’re attracted, which not many are. But then, when you look beyond all that, you find me – I’m loud and crazy, I’m funny, I’m wild, I’m desperate for a good time. And sometimes I get confused – is that me? Or is the quiet observer me? To tell the truth, I don’t know. I have no idea who I am. The only way I know myself is in relation to my siblings.
I guess I'm number five.


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