My last name begins with A. I grew up being first.
This might sound good, but it wasn’t so great for a serious introvert. At school, I was always at the top of the list. In matters that involved everyone in an orderly fashion, I had to go first. Sometimes it felt good to get it over with. Other times I was the clueless one trying to keep from humiliating myself, having no one ahead of me to learn from, right or wrong. As someone longing for invisibility, first wasn’t usually fun.
Freshman year of college, I was second. But by the end of the year, the first disappeared into anorexia (another A) and never came back.
I moved to Vermont a dozen years ago and promptly became first on the voter roster. In a town that still votes an Australian ballot in pencil, I loved directing the local poll workers to my name at the top. Finally, in adulthood, I’d found a place where I liked being first.
Nearly two years ago, my sister bought a house here. She recently made Vermont her primary residence and works in New York City three days a week. Tuesday is a New York day. When she went to town hall to pick up an absentee ballot, I went with her.
It was there that the downside of her move became abundantly clear.
My sister’s name is Alison. Even her middle name begins with A. My position has been utterly usurped.
She’s almost three years younger. It’s not fair.