"We should have started boarding 20 minutes ago," I fretted to Sibling, watching her glance up from the magazine she'd brought from home. "It says 8:40 on the ticket," I held it up to show her, "and it's now 9:00."
She blinked at me, paused and said, deadpan, "wow," before returning to the pages on her lap. And I giggled.
We got off the plane (which did depart late, by the way) and I reached the spot she was waiting, having frequent-flyered her way into first class while I - having no particular airline loyalty - sat a few rows back in coach.
"That was the worst flight I've endured," I told her. "Stupid summer storms and their severe turbulence."
She nodded sympathetically but looked vaguely confused. Intercepting my quizzical look, she shrugged and confessed that she'd slept the whole journey. And I giggled again.
I finish tasks - even odious ones that irritate me - promptly and tend to come early to whatever is happening. She procrastinates on most projects but performs brilliantly nonetheless, arriving late enough that I've started suggesting we take separate cars to the same events even though we live in fairly close proximity.
When people call us by the other's name - which happens very frequently, actually - I always smile and shake my head. "I'm Katie, not Sibling," I said once in front of a group of people. "I don't know why people confuse us - she handles a different area of interest, is tiny and Asian." And she is beautiful - a size two with a casual grace and confidence though she'll very occasionally stumble over words. Conversely, I only speak English, but speak it well - I'm far too rounded to be beautiful and am charming and amusing when I'm not pouting over something or other.
Still, there's a mutual admiration for intelligence and work ethic, for being effective and successful despite not being trained for this particular role. Our methods are different - she's outwardly unruffled and I laugh easily and often and glare the same way. We spend time together with ease and I find myself sharing meals with her at least once a week when we're both in town.
On our way back from an office party, I yawned in her passenger seat, having enjoyed two cocktails and feeling pleasantly tipsy. (Sibling doesn't drink.) She chatted about her plans for the weekend - people and places. I nodded with interest, asking questions and thinking it sounded rather lovely.
"What's up with you?" she asked politely and I shrugged, saying I didn't have plans. She began to make suggestions - day trips and people she'd heard were remaining in town - and I smiled.
"I like the downtime," I replied. "I have some revisions to do from my post-doc project and I'm annoyed enough that I want to just do it so I can stop thinking about it. I have several internal briefs to write," I paused while she told me I shouldn't be working during the holiday weekend, "and I want to work on my yard," I continued, undaunted. "I'll nap and read books. Check email and daydream." And I sighed happily, thinking it sounded perfect.
It's been easy and lovely - I sleep when I'm tired and think when I want. I shampooed my basement carpet and took long walks with Chienne. I've read five books and watched mindless television. I tried a new recipe and repotted a plant.
I'm going back to work tomorrow - Sibling is taking the week off. But there's some sort of comfort in appreciating qualities and indulging in personal preferences.