“All you need is love!”
Alicia changed the channel on the car radio.
“What are you doing?” said Maribelle, whose hands were busy with the steering wheel. “That’s The Beatles. It’s a classic.”
“It’s just not my thing.”
“The Beatles are everyone’s thing. That’s why they’re The Beatles.”
“I’m just not into songs about love, OK? Is that allowed? For me to be the one woman in all of human history who doesn’t want to listen to songs about love?”
Maribelle considered her for a moment, then said, “No. It’s not.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means everyone wants to listen to songs about love – even men, they just don’t admit it.”
“Well, I don’t want to listen to them.”
“Because it’s not my life.”
“What’s not your life?”
Maribelle cackled. Alicia slapped her on the arm. “I’m serious.”
“No, you’re not.”
“You can’t be.”
“Do you have any idea how much I love you?”
“You don’t count.”
“Oh, really? All this love I have for you. This determination to see you succeed – the knowledge I have that you will succeed. The fact that I would tear the balls off anyone who messed with you. You’re going to tell me that none of that means anything?”
“You’re my sister,” Alicia said, as if that explained anything.
“So, you have to love me.”
“You know how I feel about earning my way. That includes love, but I haven’t seemed to be able to earn that … well, anywhere. I don’t have any close friends outside of the family. No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I might think I’m doing everything right, it always falls to shit and I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. All the songs, the books, the movies, they all say that good people find good people, but I seem to be the only who hasn’t managed to find anyone.”
“Dude, you found us.”
“Mom and Dad always said you looked down on us from wherever and decided you wanted to be a part of this family.”
Alicia snorted. “They just made that up.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure. Alicia, do you realize that there are people out there who wish they had the kind of closeness in their families that we have in ours?”
Alicia didn’t say anything.
“So, you’re really going to sit there and tell me that the fact that you have something they could never have – something they would give their right arm for – doesn’t matter?”
Alicia looked out the window of the passenger door.
“What if I said your love doesn’t matter? What if I said, that no matter how powerful your feelings for me, they’re worthless? Because why? They’re not ‘earned’? What does that even mean?”
“It means gaining the love of someone who’s not related to me. Someone who isn’t biologically required to love me.”
“Bitch, I’m not biologically required to do anything other than eat, drink, shit, sleep, and menstruate.”
Alicia couldn’t help herself any longer. She finally burst out laughing.
“See, that,” said Maribelle. “That, right there, is exactly why I love you so much. Not because of biology or genetics or any of that. It’s because when I crack a joke you laugh and vice versa. We’re two peas in a pod. Soulmates. And we would be no matter what our DNA said. And isn’t that in all the songs and books and movies, too? Don’t they all say that it doesn’t matter what you do on the surface, it’s the deeper connection that matters?”
“Yeah, I guess. So, why can’t I find anyone who shares that deep connection with me?”
“Bitch, you found us!”
“So did you. And you also found Sam.”
“So, you managed to find someone else who relates to you on that same level. Meanwhile, I’m home alone with my cat.”
“Don’t ever underestimate the power of a good cat. I mean that. You and that cat were made for each other.”
Alicia had to admit that was true and they both shared a laugh over it.
“All right, all right,” said Maribelle, as they recovered from their fit of giggles. “What did Gabrielle Union say?”
“I choose my motherfuckin’ self.”
“What did Gabrielle Union say?” Maribelle raised her voice.
“I choose my motherfuckin’ self.” Alicia’s voice rose to match her sister’s.
“What did Gabrielle Union say?” By this point Maribelle was screaming, drill-sergeant style, at her sister.
“I choose my motherfuckin’ self.” Alicia screamed right back.
“You’re damn right, you do!”