Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Like a Red Rag to a Bull (11/28/13)
- TITLE: Queen Esther
By Brenda Rice
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We were born April 1st, 1983. Sometimes I feel like we were a cruel joke because our mother died the next day of a pulmonary embolism. Our dad was twenty-eight, a busy attorney and devastated by our mother’s death. They were high school sweethearts.
Our grandmother, dad’s mom, moved in to care for us and Dad hired a nanny. Esther and I were well cared for physically. Granny did her best to instill Christian values into us. Dad spent all his free time with Esther. He said she looked just like Mom. I don’t know what he saw when he looked at me.
Esther and I were type “A” personalities—over achievers, competitive and short on compassion. We got our personalities from you guessed it, Dad. Granny said our mother was kind and full of compassion. I’ve often wondered how having her around would have balanced us.
Life as twins was the opposite of what you would expect. Esther and I were like two mules pulling from either end of the wagon instead of in tandem—an inch forward, an inch backward—stall—repeat—stall again.
I competed for Dad’s attention. Just once I wanted him to say, that’s good Ruth or you’re beautiful Ruth or that’s what your mother would have said. It never happened. He only had eyes for Esther.
When we graduated from law school (top of our class) Dad made Esther a junior partner in his firm. He asked another lawyer to hire me. I didn’t measure up again.
Now after all these years, I see flames at the sound of her name. Perhaps the rage I feel is unfair. Esther had no control over being born first, or did she? In my mind, I can see her fighting her way to the birth canal ahead of me.
Esther and I rarely get together just the two of us. We do family gatherings a few times a year. I only have one child, a daughter. I couldn’t bear the thought of having my children go through what I dealt with as a child. I prayed I wouldn’t have twins. Esther has a boy and a girl.
Grandmother told us our mother loved the Bible stories about Esther and Ruth. Mom saw them as women of honor and courage so she named us for them. Esther was the queen who saved her people the Jews, and Ruth was a servant to her mother-n-law and gleaned what she did not sow.
If only Mother had lived to bring her vision for us to completion. But in my reality, Esther will always be the queen, and Ruth will always glean what she did not sow.
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