Hey Nikki,

Happy Birthday. Sorry I don't have a present. My ride to the city was unreliable last weekend, so the bracelet will have to wait. At least I know you're OK with that. I bet you're having fun in Chicago. If we hadn't drifted, I bet I'd be there with you and Erica today. We used to be close, sort of. We were closer in age and obliged to do everything together, even though I preferred to do things independently. Man, was I such a snot, not wanting to have you around though you did nothing to deserve my bad attitude. No wonder you replaced me. I sure was asking for it.

I really wish I had more to say than just a "Happy Birthday" because going solo really meant missing out on the experience. They say family members are supposed to bond and all of that, but that wasn't the case with us at all. It's just routine for me to say "Happy Birthday", but it shouldn't be like that. I should care. I should want the quality sister time. At least you were the sibling who never gave me any trouble. Anyone in our family can point to you and say that you're their favorite. You don't have a short temper, you don't push people's buttons, and you don't start drama. You're chill, you're pretty, and that's why everyone likes you.

I think Erica was always the better soul-sister for you anyways. Even back in our bookworm days when we'd read fantasy novels then discuss them in our bunks, I couldn't make you laugh or get you out of the house and out of your introverted self as she can. Only our extroverted and fun-loving sister could do that.

I remember Dave assuming we were close, assuming that we "share everything- secrets, crushes, and want to do everything together..." but he was wrong. We were never like that. I preferred working on my own and I wasn't one to get many crushes, at least not like Erica. When I did try to confide in you as a teen, you'd roll your eyes at my insecurities and angst. Maybe it was because you had the same thing going on? Who knows? You never let on. I was the emotional teen. You were always chill. I wish I could be more like that.

Remember our "superheroes", "Manner Girl" (me) and her rival, "Cool Girl" (you)? Well, "Manner Girl" was renamed "Lady Etiquette" long after the fact, but even today that's true. You're trendy and laid back whereas I'm elegant and a bit rigid. Honestly, I'm working on it. I'm sorry I was such a snot. I'm sorry that I pushed you away. I'm sorry we don't share enough in common, but to an extent, I can't really help that. If I were to make a cake for you (and I could, from scratch), you wouldn't eat it- I know you don't like sweets. It's funny, we're not in bad standing. We have no actual rivalry, no grudges, and no drama. We just aren't close. Maybe we can change that. Who knows, we could share more in common than we think.