Who is a sister’s keeper?

A sister’s keeper is someone who defends her sister at all times, whether wrong or right, a person ready to go to war for her sister (not to war with her sister).

I find it strange how difficult it is for women to stick up for one another and how easy it is to tear down another at almost every given opportunity. In the place of work, you are most likely to find women who do not get along for one reason or another, than men. At parties women sit in their clicks, looking down at anyone who is an outsider. Even in church, you witness religious sisters keeping malice or engaged in silent battles.

What is it about the sisterhood that makes its roots so shallow or easily destroyed even by the most trivial things? What would the women who fought for women liberation think if they saw what has become of the fight? I doubt any of them fought and sacrificed so much for us to be gossiping and back-biting amongst ourselves. What is it about a room full of women that makes it a potential for disaster and why do we make some men feel justified by our actions.

In the past I have heard some women say they preferred to deal with men than with women. This was because women had this unfriendly attitude (bad vibe) even before you approached them. Every time I heard this, I always argued with the logic, stating it was not true. Instead I would give a lecture on the need to stop pulling fellow women down but to uplift one another in the spirit of sisterhood. That was my stance and what I believed in until the day I was tested.

I remember the unforgettable encounter which took place at an eatery. That day was a very busy day for me. I had a number of projects to submit which I worked on all day without much rest and little food.  Once I submitted the last one, I proceeded to the nearest restaurant very famished and needing food urgently before heading home.

I walked to the only available till and with a small smile; I greeted the lady behind the counter. In return she asked me what I would like to buy in a tone that was less than friendly without even acknowledging my greeting. I felt it a bit weird, but just felt she most likely didn’t hear or she was just having a bad day (I also have had days when I just wanted to be left alone without any disturbances). I proceeded to give her my order, making sure to state it out as clear and loud as possible to avoid any confusion.

She went to the back where the chips were being fried but came back empty handed. I assumed the chips were in the process of being fried, so I waited patiently while checking the several messages I had on my phone. The words ‘Excuse me, move to the side, so that another person can place their order’ shifted my attention from my phone to the woman who now stood in front of me with an irritated expression. Her tone was one of impatience and she seemed to be annoyed but I could not understand why it was directed at me. Ever since I walked in there, I had been nothing but polite to her.

Without a word I moved slightly to the side and decided to ignore her nasty attitude. The next person on the line happened to be a man and I watched the interaction between both of them with in absolute shock. Her expression had changed from how it was earlier to a much warmer look, with a smile on her face she asked the man for his order. There was a significant difference in the way she spoke to me and in the way she interacted with him. When she spoke to me she sounded on edge, almost like she had a fence up, ready for war just in case, it was almost like she was expecting the same attitude from me. With the man she sounded much more relaxed and accommodating.

After about fifteen minutes of waiting (bearing in mind the driver having to close), I asked her about my order. By this time she had taken the man’s order and was busy packing his order hastily. She was in the process of packing his drinks when I asked her about my order, she paused and rudely stated, ‘it is not ready, and when it is ready someone would bring it out’. At the end of my wit and about done with her attitude I was about to resort to being petty but she was saved by the bell. It was at that moment that my food was brought out by another worker who happened to be a man. He handed over the food to me while apologising for the delay with a small smile on his face.

I checked inside the pack and discovered that I had been given two wrong items. I notified the man who handed it over to me and without a word it was rectified.  With my pack in my hand I exited the restaurant still puzzled about the woman’s reaction. I went through what I said to her in my head and couldn’t come up with a valid reason for her action. The only explanation I could think of was being a woman she expected me to have the same attitude towards her. It was at then I realized that the notion of being my sister’s keeper was indeed dead and buried.

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