The Well Magazine Fall/Winter 2013 - Page 27

Relationships Family Family and Friends W e came from the same womb, the three of us, born within 2 1/2 years. Our lineage initially connected us, but deep love and respect have kept my siblings and I close most of our lives. My brother and I from childhood were constant buddies, never arguing and always playing games, like Cops and Robbers, and we were always on the same team, together fighting our foes. But our sister never played our make-believe games, too juvenile for the young sophisticate who chose to sit around near the adults. We weren't close though she was Rhonda J. Smith (center) and her only 11 1/2 siblings. months my senior. She thought she was too grown for us, which meant she could use my belongings without asking. Mostly because of this, we fought constantly until we made a pact not to tell my mother that we got into a fight, our last, where she knocked one of my permanent teeth loose; we agreed because we would forfeit a long awaited family trip to California. I was in 6th grade and she in 7th, at a junior high school with gangs. She resolved that she was tough enough for both of us and I would hang with her and her friends to protect me from my gang recruiters. And no one ever bothered me. She stayed true to her commitment and has been true ever since. We were so close in high school that we on occasion would have to show our driver's license to folks who couldn't believe that we were