Saturday, February 5, 2011

If I Was Oprah's Half-Sister...

On January 24, 2011, Oprah Winfrey announced to the world that she has a long-lost half-sister known only as Patricia. The two met for the first time last Thanksgiving as Oprah and her fake boyfriend, Stedman Graham drove to Milwaukee, WI for dinner and 50 years of catching up. While this is a wonderful happily-ever-after moment in time for Oprah and “Patricia”, it’s all totally weird for me because I spent a lot of time the week before this news broke, wondering what my life would be like if I woke up one day as Oprah’s half-sister. This is my story...

On the morning of the first time meeting my new sister, Oprah, as she likes to be called, I will wait anxiously at Starbucks for her to pick me up. I will be holding a cup of cappuccino and some of my DNA. She’ll give me a half-hug, the way she hugs most poor white people, and we’ll head to our doctor’s office in downtown Chicago, where it will be confirmed that we are in fact, half-sisters. After the results are read, Oprah will reach down and hug me like a real sister. I will no doubt lose my breath and a tear will fall down, staining my light tan cheek. Her hugs will feel a little contrived at first, but I know in time she’ll learn to love me. Then we’ll go back to her massive apartment where we’ll unwind and get to know each other before she takes this shocking news to the media.

After a gourmet meal prepared fresh by one of her many servants, Oprah will lead me to the living room where she will brush my hair while I tell her stories of my youth. Then I will take my Afro off and let her play with my real hair. Hours will fly by like hummingbirds. I’ll revert to a child-like state and put my finger in her face, cleverly close to touching her nose, but not, and it will annoy her as she yells for me to stop poking her and I’ll be like, “I’m not touching you...” There’s so many of those games that we’ll wanna catch on up and I’ll try to cram them into one night, thinking it’s endearing and she’ll break down and cry and she’ll call our mom, but I won’t be ready to talk to the woman who gave me away all those years ago. This will be a good time for quiet thinking so I’ll grab the latest book of the month from my sister’s shelf and I’ll pretend to read while staring at her from a corner.

Oprah, being older and slightly more mature will speak first, inviting me to stop pretending to read and sit next to her as we make amends for the childish behavior I displayed. I’ll oblige because she’s now holding a plate of cookies and I have no self-control. I’ll invite her to cuddle in front of me on “our” sofa and when my claustrophobia overwhelms I’ll have no choice but to climb on top and rest my head on three of her breasts, while we watch The Color Purple. As my favorite scene comes up I’ll shout, “Daaaaaaamn, you were big!” We will laugh uncontrollably and while she is laughing the hardest I’ll sneak a $20 from her wallet and two frozen chickens from the kitchen and throw them into my satchel.

Our biggest challenge will come the next morning when GAYle (a.k.a. Gayle) shows up uninvited. Oprah’s best “friend” will think she has to approve of me and my sister’s new-found relationship. I will hate her and her big-ass teeth. She will hate my hair, my dance moves and basically everything about me, as she should, because everything about me is better than everything about her and deep down she knows this. But to my chagrin we have plans to go camping and it’s documentary time for the road trip. With cameras on Gayle and I will be on our best behavior. She will clearly be envious over the amount of time Oprah and I will spend talking during the drive. When we arrive at Yosemite National Park we’ll immediately begin setting up tents & Gayle will be surprised to realize that this time I’m sharing a tent with the Big O. Snap. Oprah and I will drink Moscow Mules by the campfire that Gayle stokes, and we’ll wrap each other’s hair in curlers and throw turkey burgers and fifties at bears while laughing because we’re rich. I’ll say, “Nite-nite, Gayle. Sweet dreams”, and she’ll know I don’t mean it as I zip up the tent.

A week later Oprah is ready to reveal to her fans the amazing news. I’m gonna be backstage and when I hear, “Here she is, Chrissyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Cooooooooooostaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”, I’ll come out dancing, forgetting which show I’m on as I look for Ellen. Then I’ll be all like, “Sike” and I’ll tear up next to my sis as she dramatically tells the story of how she came to accept her Italian-Russian half-sister and how this affects all of mankind. She’ll tell the audience, “Never once did she think to go to the press. Never once did she think to sell this story.” I’ll be crossing my fingers behind my back while nodding in a creepy way and smiling suspiciously, pretending it’s true. And in Oprah fashion I will choke up and cry as I tell these same people of how my life wasn’t complete until the moment I held my sister’s face in my hands. I’ll say, “It was like looking in a mirror.” I don’t know if the audience will be able to contain their emotions. I’ll continue on, telling about my past and I’ll answer questions. When Oprah offers me a refrigerator from her Favorite Things show 2010 I’ll thank her and tell her I have no home to put it in. Then when I give the audience my orphan Annie grin Oprah will feel compelled to announce that she’s buying me a condo in the Gold Coast area of Chicago. A standing ovation will ensue. People everywhere will be inspired and begin to search for the babies they once abandoned, hoping for the same fairytale-like ending. No other story will top this one, however.

Harpo Studios will produce follow-up shows based on our story and I will punch Gayle and tell the world it was an accidental reflex thing and I didn’t really mean it. And when Oprah is serving me tea at my new home while we discuss my role as Editor of O magazine, as well as my new sitcom on OWN, I’ll whisper sheepishly under my breath, “sike.”...

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