RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
Time now for StoryCorps. Across the country, Americans are having conversations with the important people in their lives, like this next one between two sisters. They're in their 60s now and they're close. But had you met Melissa Wilbur and Janaki Symon during their childhood, you would have seen a very different relationship.
Janaki begins their conversation.
MONTAGNE: How did you view me when we were children?
MONTAGNE: I never particularly liked you. I was highly jealous of you. No matter how bad you were or how much trouble you put our parents through, they still always talked about you. You were the one they were proud of, and I resented that.
What about you?
MONTAGNE: Well, I just hated you. There wasn't anything about you that I could stand. You actually were able to do things that I couldn't do. You did well in school; the teachers liked you. You would poke me. And I remember stabbing you with a fork. We would go to bed at night and you would want the door open and I would need the door closed, and I just hated you.
MONTAGNE: How did we come from this hate to where we are now, because I can't even picture myself without you?
MONTAGNE: After mommy died, I was planning to make amends to you, and I couldn't do it. I wanted to with all my heart, and I just couldn't do it. I didn't quite know how. I remember exactly the moment that I fell in love with you. You put your arm around me, and you gave me this spontaneous hug and kiss. Then I went, oh my God. It was as if the last barrier between us was gone.
MONTAGNE: Something in each of us didn't want to give up on our relationship. And I'm so grateful because I have a sister who I really adore, and I am one of the luckiest people I know. I love you.
MONTAGNE: I love you, too. And I'm very, very glad that you are my sister.
MONTAGNE: Janaki Symon and Melissa Wilbur at StoryCorps in Santa Monica. Their conversation and all the others will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Subscribe to the StoryCorps Podcast at npr.org.