It’s later than either of us should be up. I’m sitting on Laura’s bed, a blanket around my shoulders, trying to look serious. A list of hastily-typed questions sits before me in a blank Google doc.
Laura enters the room, stage left.
I try to look important. “Welcome. Thanks for letting me interview you.”
The professionalism ends here as my sister becomes distracted by seventeen different things at once. I’m not sure why I decided to interview her, except for the fact that it’s a fun method of procrastination, I’m tired of serious posts, I’m just extremely tired in general, and Laura can be pretty entertaining.
I regain her fleeting attention, and with fingers poised on the keyboard, we begin.
“Favorite time of day and why?”
She’s constantly moving as she talks, straightening things on the wall that we redecorated on a whim earlier today. “Hmm. Well, that’s hard. Ummm, probably evening, because in the evening I practice singing, I go running, and I get to hug Calvin.” She grins.
“What was the highlight of your day today?”
“Um. HMM. Can you type that?”
My fingers never cease their movement. “No.”
“Uh, the highlight of my day was—whoops—honestly, I don’t really know. I did some envelope art today, that was fun. I wouldn’t say it was the highlight. Oh wait, I did some baking today, that was the highlight, I made cupcakes. They were practice cupcakes for the cupcakes I’m making next week. My icing skills need some work, I learned that tonight.”
For the record, the cupcakes were excellent. “What song means the most to you?”
“Um, these are hard questions. I can’t handle this late at night. Okay, um.” A sudden British accent invades her tone. “Probably, um, what was the question? What’s your favorite song and why? I don’t like questions that end in why, they’re too much work.”
We stare at each other for a long, unblinking moment.
“…Okay, back to the question. Well, I really like that song that has a swear word in it, but I’m not saying that one. WAiT, Clara, don’t type that, it’s just Like Patsy Would. I really like Jolene. And I Fall To Pieces. Right now, I’d say it’s Jolene… you spell Jolene J-o-l-e-n-e.” She hums the song under her breath as I type desperately, trying to keep up.
“Ooh.” The British accent returns. “Um, probably, well, any memory with my best friend. But the main memory is probably going to the Grand Ole Opry, and meeting Madi. Aaaaaand… oh yeah, and getting that giant Hershey’s kiss at the white elephant gift exchange at youth group. That was awesome, because I walked in and said, ‘I’m not leaving without that giant Hershey’s kiss’, and then I didn’t!” She pauses and sighs. “Good times.”
The soft singing continues as I type in silence.
“Wait, how much of what I’m saying are you typing?”
I shrug. “What are you afraid of?”
“Ooh, lots of things.” She smirks. “I’m afraid of, well, hm. Spiders, definitely spiders. Uh, I’m afraid of creepy people in grocery stores. Not that I’ve ever seen one, but I’m sure they’re there.” I’m fighting uncontrollable laughter as she warms up to the question and words flow out in rapid-fire fashion. “Um, I’m afraid that one day, I’ll be singing really loudly on stage, and then I’ll completely miss a note. I don’t know what I would say after missing a note. I have yet to plan that out.”
She now pauses to mutter in incoherent frustration as she struggles with a knotted mess of silver necklaces. I type furiously until she breaks the silence.
“Oh, I have more stuff that I’m afraid of. I’m afraid… wait no. Delete that.” She’s laughing too. “Are you typing what I’m saying? Okay. What else am I afraid of? I’m afraid of cracking my phone screen, ‘cause I’ve done it before.”
We take a moment of silence for the shattered screen.
“I could keep on going for a long time, but I should probably stop.”
“OH- I’m afraid of snakes.”
“Should I keep saying stuff I’m afraid of?”
“Did you say snakes?”
“Oh, and I’m afraid of dying.”
“Just in general.”
“Don’t type that.”
I continue typing, diving across the bed to shield the laptop screen from her view. “What’s something I don’t know about you?”
“Other than my dark past?” She smiles mysteriously. “Don’t type that, I have no dark past.” A thoughtful moment passes.
“Okay, here’s something! This isn’t very exciting… there are four Taylor Swift songs that I actually like.”
I lift my gaze from the screen, staring in disbelief at the sister that I thought I knew. She looks deeply amused. “They’re old, from when she was a country singer. Her new album isn’t very good. Don’t type that, it might make people mad… the four people who are gonna read this. OH dOn’t tYPE ThAT. How many followers do you have, like, five? I haven’t been following your blog for very long. DON’T TYPE THAT EITHER—”
“What’s one thing you would never do?”
“Ooooh. I would never ride that roller coaster made for three-year-olds at Wild Adventures again, because THAT was terrifying. Wait, no, I take that back.” Her song of choice changes to fit the occasion.
“…That was the wrong key. I really do need to get on more roller coasters so I can break my fear of them.”
“I WOULD NEVER GO SKYDIVING.”
“Oh, I would never go into a haunted house. When I get scared, it’s fight or flight, and the employees…” Her eyes widen seriously. “I would be fighting everyone in there.”
“OKAY—” The mental image is terrifying. “If I gave you ten dollars right now, what would you do with it?”
“Oh, I like this question, anything related to free money is good news! Um, I would…” She drops her partially-untangled necklace, tangling it anew, and bursts into a mournful country song.
I wait, observing the sad scene.
“Um, honestly, I’d probably just put it in my wallet and save it until we were somewhere and I wanted to get something…. actually, I’d probably use it for buying a giant pack of oatmeal cream pies.”
“Like, the biggest box you can buy for ten dollars.”
“Is it bad that all my answers end up coming back to food?”
I neither confirm nor deny this question. “What’s a question you wish I would ask you?”
“Ohhh, well, that’s a good question. Um, I wish you would ask me… I don’t like this question, but I’ll answer it anyway. I don’t like questions where I have to do too much thinking. DOn’T type THAT-”
“Well, what’s a question you wanna ask me? ‘Cause I can’t think of anything…. my brain is an empty void. Nothing but a few old dust bunnies in there.” A partially-sung, partially-hummed remix of Fur Elise follows this sentiment.
“Ooh, I know! This is lame, but hey, it’s better than nothing. I wish you would ask me what the first song I ever learned how to play was.”
I pause in contemplation. “What’s the first song you ever learned to play?”
“Whoa, that’s an original question right there. The first song I ever learned to play was Who Am I by Casting Crowns. I now hate that song, because I played it while learning how to strum and sing at the same time.”
“It was terrible for me and everyone listening.”
“It still haunts my nightmares.”
My fingers are crying for relief. “Okay, thanks for letting me interview you, and any final remarks?”
“Hm. Ooh, I could say… wait, no. Um, ooh, ask if anyone is a professional necklace untangler. I’ve been trying to untangle a necklace this entire interview, and it’s only a bigger knot.”
“Wait, what’s a remark?”
“DON’T TYPE THAT I KNOW WHAT A REMARK IS—”
“This is a lot of pressure, you know. I feel like I’m saying my final words.”
“Wait, no. I’ll end with my life motto.”
She clears her throat dramatically.
“You never fail until you stop trying.”
The necklace lays on the mattress between us, a sad heap of silver chains.
“And that, my friends, is my contribution to society.”
Laura’s not feeling well today, so, y’know, remind her of how cool she is in the comments, if you want.
I regret absolutely none of this.