The Key

I looked up to my sister until about the age of 13, when I began to look down on her (because I was 5’8” and she was only 5’6”). I also looked up to my sister in terms of being awesome. She had big hair, she had a boyfriend with an earring in his ear, and she had disposable income (from selling shoes two times a week).

I wanted to be just like her, but the cards were stacked against me. I had small, short hair. I didn’t have a boyfriend (earring or no earring), and had no income whatsoever because Canada frowns on child labor. Also, my mom picked out all of my clothes out for me, and she was partial to the Sears catalogue. Needless to say, I was a bit of a loser.

One Monday morning, after my sister left for school I went down to her room. Her closet was jam-packed with awesome duds, like: Club Monaco sweatshirts in two colors (gray and red), several pairs of acid-wash button-fly jeans, an over-sized Benetton sweater, et al. I decided to “borrow” (without asking) her gray Club Monaco sweatshirt.

I walked to school with the kind of confidence that only comes from not wearing clothing from the Sears catalogue. As I walked into homeroom my friends all turned to look. A few people complemented me on my new sweatshirt. The ones that didn’t: obviously, jealous!

When the bell rang I raced home. I needed to get the sweatshirt back in my sister’s closet by 4pm, before she returned home from school. I felt just like Cinderella with the clock nearing midnight, except Cinderella was a magical princess… and I was an awkward, chubby teenager with an overbite.

As I approached our house I looked at my watch: 3:55pm. I quickened my pace, and started peeling off the sweatshirt as I raced to the front door. As I took out my key to unlock the front door, the door swung open.

There, standing with her arms folded across her chest, was my big sis. Apparently, she had a spare last period and came home early. I hadn’t accounted for that. She snatched the sweatshirt out of my hands and told me I was “dead” (just a metaphor).

After school the next day my sister tossed a Home Hardware bag on the counter and said, “That should keep you out”. She then retreated to her basement hideaway, looking very smug.

I opened the bag and examined the contents: a Master Lock Tulip Knob Style Keyed Entry Door Lock. She wasn’t fooling around!

The lock came in a two-sided plastic shell. I lifted the plastic lip on one side and it popped open. Inside was the sturdy lock, and two keys. I looked left, and then right, then quickly took a key off the ring and pushed the plastic shell back together. Good as new.

That evening I watched as my Dad installed the new lock on my sister’s door and handed her the single key. She waved it in front of my face and said something like, “No more borrowing my clothes whenever you want!” I nodded solemnly, as I traced the outline of the key in my pants pocket.

In the following weeks and months, when my sister left for school or work, I would quietly un-lock her door and help myself to whatever I fancied, carefully noting the item’s exact location, and my sister’s school and work schedules.

My sister maintained a false sense of security with the lock on her door, and my popularity increased by at least 32%. Win-win.


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