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The Dartmouth
May 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dear Loser, I Love You

Marius DeMartino ’25 reflects on the strength of his sibling bond even while away at college.


I recently read something that made me pause. It said that while our parents leave our lives too early and our children enter too late, it is our siblings that are with us all along. If only that were entirely true. The 14 years I spent with my little sister at home feel all too few now that I am far away from there. 

I would love nothing more than to match my sister step-for-step and to be there for every little moment — but instead I feel relegated to the sidelines, clinging to phone calls and homework help, counting down the days until the next break. I find myself lamenting the fact that the ties between us are simultaneously stronger than ever, yet still stretched taut all the way from New Hampshire to Florida. 

I would consider our relationship to be perfect. Sure, we have our squabbles, like any pair of siblings. As I continue to grow, and as such drift apart from my sister, I’ve realized that I’ll never again have such an amazing bond.

Maybe it is a little concerning that I share a sense of humor with a 15-year-old, that we can laugh for hours at one stupid dog video or crack a bit that makes our mom wonder what kind of moronic children she raised. I don’t care about any of that, though, when we’re up at an insanely late hour and the sounds of our cackling carry all the way downstairs. I still treasure these moments, even if we sound like a pair of witches howling into the night. 

It’s hilarious that my sister and I could be almost identical when she wears a hoodie with her hair up, or that when we turn our heads the slopes of our noses are the same. When people see her on my phone’s lock screen — a picture of her smiling and holding a cup of gelato — and say, “she looks so much like you,” I always respond, “Really?” But really my heart glows at the comparison, that people feel just as much as I do that we are so alike. 

I’ve realized too that some of my most nostalgic treats are the ones that the two of us shared. I crave the açai bowls she always begged me to get on the drive home from school, her favorite gnocchi that I always steal. In particular, I’m nostalgic for the ice cream that required a drive across town amidst crackling thunderstorms — the ones where we blasted our favorite songs into the pouring rain. 

But most of all, I know what we share is something much deeper. Under all the horrible close-up photos, the skincare routines and the ice cream pints, it’s our shared experiences that really draw us together. It’s the common pain of moving into two homes instead of one, of having to navigate a suddenly more complex life when I know that we are fraught with the same anxieties. 

What I find most wonderful is this complete, fully understood sense of empathy — that I understand her experiences, thoughts and feelings. Even though we are not twins, I feel that we are one and the same. She is the one person I’ve shared everything with — both the joys and the intense pains. 

This is what is so difficult about sibling relationships: to be exposed to a soul that is so undeniably like yours, to find your best friend and confidante, only to have them ripped away as you go your separate ways in life. I can only hope that while our paths diverge right now, they will meet again soon, and I will not have to spend my days so many miles away. 

It is heart-wrenching, too, that I wasted so much time while I grew up bickering with the little girl that I sometimes found annoying. It’s frustrating, looking back, that I could not recognize that right in front of me was someone that I could understand, and who could understand me, on a level like no other. I’m angry that I couldn’t see then that the clock was ticking on the precious minutes we would still be living under the same roof. I can’t face the fact that for the first time this summer, I’ll wake up on my birthday, turning the page to my second decade of life, and won’t be able to cross the hallway and find her there.

I wish that we were even more in sync — that we were twins and not five years apart, doomed to be just far enough to never quite be in the same place. By the time my sister finally got to high school, I was already in another state, only able to offer advice over the phone, or in the fleeting weeks I get to spend at home. 

I feel helpless miles away in New Hampshire. I’m angry that I can’t do more for her: that I couldn’t take her to her first homecoming, that I can’t comfort her through the trials of high school, that I won’t be there when she finally gets her driver’s license. 

It won’t serve me to sit here and mope about my lost opportunities, though. I can only hope that we will have more of these beautiful moments, and less of the eye-burning anger that I have wasted my precious time with the person I love most in this world. Holding our nostalgic moments close to my chest, I’ll count the days until I see her again, and yearn for all the adventures we’ll have in the coming years. After all, there’s so much still on the horizon. 

Hold your siblings as close as you can, treasuring each moment with those people that are so alike to you. It’s rare to find such a special relationship. And to my sister, I’ll end with the same sentiment I once left scrawled on a sticky note on your mirror: I love you so much. Please call me.