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“Get out, Hilary!” I yelled. I pushed my little sister out of my room.
“I was just looking around!” Hilary whined.
“It doesn’t matter!” I shouted. I was fuming. “You shouldn’t be in my room at all!” I pushed my seven-year-old pest, I mean sister, the rest of the way out of my room, slamming the door shut behind her. I sighed, plopping down in my desk chair. I then began to work on my homework.
Just a minute or two later, I heard a knock on the door. “Who is it?” I called grumpily.
I immediately recognized my mom’s voice. “Come in.”
My mom opened the door and slipped into my room, Hilary trailing in behind her. I gulped. My mom perched on the end of my bed, with Hilary on her lap. I could feel a lecture coming on.
“Erika,” my mother began sternly. “I think you owe an apology to your sister.” She held up her hand to ward off all of my protests. “I understand about you wanting her to stay out of your room, but you could have asked her to do it in a more kind and loving way.”
“But, Mom—” I began with a whine in my voice, until my mom cut me off with a glare. I turned to Hilary. “I’m sorry,” I grumbled grudgingly.
My mom sighed. “That’s good enough for now, but I expect a sincere apology later,” She nodded towards my school books as she stood up. “You can get back to your homework now.” She picked up Hilary and left my room, closing the door softly behind her.
I immediately jumped up from my desk chair and paced around the room, stomping furiously. I stopped by my bed and slammed my fist into the mattress viciously. “She always takes Hilary’s side!” I growled to no one in particular, glaring at my door. I finally sighed, frustrated, and slumped back into my chair to work on my homework.
I sat in silence during dinner, just picking at my food. I was still fuming. My dad had finally made it home, and Hilary was chattering on and on about everything that had happened to her that day. Needless to say, I was having a hard time keeping my temper under control. I really just wanted to get away from Hilary.
“How was your day, Erika?” my dad finally managed to ask when Hilary took a break to eat her hot dog and macaroni and cheese. Of course, it was her favorite meal.
“Fine,” I muttered, pushing back my chair. “May I be excused, please?” At least I’d said it politely.
Mom looked over at my plate. “You can probably eat some more of that food,” she told me in her no-nonsense voice. I slid my chair back into place.
“Did you have a bad day at school?” Dad asked. He wasn’t really concentrating on me; he was too busy trying to keep from laughing as Hilary’s hot dog began to drip ketchup on her plate.
“No, it was fine,” I mumbled. I ate several more bites of my food. After choking down the rest of the macaroni and cheese and half of my hot dog, Mom finally let me leave the table, so I hurried up to my room.
After the rest of the family finished dinner, I went downstairs to use the computer in the living room for my homework. I narrowed my eyes when I got in there. The computer was taken… by Hilary, of course. I checked the screen over her shoulder. Ugh. Of course. She was playing some princess game. She looked up at me, smiling.
“Look, Erika, I’m designing a princess and her horse. I’m making her look like me.” She paused, grinning proudly. “Do you think I could be a princess?”
I rolled my eyes. “You have to be the daughter of a king or queen or married to a prince. Now, get off the computer. I need to do my homework.”
“But I got here first!” she complained, putting on her pouty face.
“My homework is more important than your silly princess game!” I snapped. I picked her up out of the chair and set her down on the couch. I sat down in the chair myself and immediately began working on my homework.
“Erika!” Hilary squealed, tugging on my arm. “Don’t close my—” Too late. I clicked the button to close the window with her princess game. She flopped down on the floor by my chair, sobbing loudly. Drama queen. I ignored her.
“Erika? Hilary?” Uh-oh. Mom poked her head into the room and spotted Hilary sobbing in a heap on the floor. Of course, she fell for Hilary’s drama queen act. “Hilary! Oh, what’s wrong, honey?”
What happened next was totally predictable. Hilary ratted on me, but completely exaggerated the whole thing, painting me as the mean, scary bully, while she was the absolutely innocent angel. She was sobbing throughout the entire story. I do have to admit that she’s a pretty good actor. She was pretty convincing. Almost.
Unfortunately, my mom bought the entire performance. She comforted Hilary, and told her that she should stop crying. Then she turned a steely glare on me. “And you, young lady, will go to your room immediately. I’ll be up there to talk to you in a minute.” She turned back to Hilary. Luckily, I had enough sense to remember not to stomp up the stairs or slam my door. I flopped down on my bed.
It had hardly been a minute before my mom came into my room, a frown pasted on her face. I stayed where I was, staring up at the ceiling. She perched on the edge of my bed again and studied me.
“I’m very disappointed in you, Erika. You really need to work on loving your sister more. I understand that sometimes little sisters can be annoying, I had three of them, but, since you’re older, we expect you to be more mature, especially now that you’re in eighth grade. Is that clear?”
I reluctantly said what I knew that she wanted me to say. “Yes, ma’am.”
My mom looked at me thoughtfully. “Maybe you should read First Corinthians 13 tonight.”
I sighed and nodded, my fingers crossed behind my back. I might read just enough to be able to give my mom a short summary in the morning. I don’t mind church stuff, but I didn’t want to read anything that my mom thought would help me be nice to Hilary.
Mom stood up. “Dad’s playing Go Fish with Hilary, so you can use the computer for your homework if you still need to.” She patted my knee, standing up. “Think about what I said, Erika.” She left my room quietly, closing the door gently behind her.
The Wednesday night youth group meeting is one of my favorite parts of the week. That’s mostly because I get to hang out with my friends. Our youth pastor, Keith Jenkins, is pretty cool, too. He’s only twenty-five, so he’s really good at making his lessons interesting to us. He’s also really good to talk to.
That’s why, when I got to church, I headed straight to the youth worship room instead of the fellowship room. I knew that the worship room was where Mr. Jenkins stayed until about fifteen minutes before the service started.
“Mr. Jenkins?” I called when I peered into the worship area. He looked up from reviewing his notes about the sermon and smiled.
“Erika! Come on in.” He sat down on one of the chairs and patted the one next to him. I came in, letting the door shut behind me. He motioned me over. “Sit down. Do you have something on your mind?”
I looked down at my hands. I’m not very good at opening up to people; it doesn’t feel very natural to me. “Uh, kind of.”
He leaned towards me. “Go ahead. And, remember, anything you tell me is confidential; I won’t tell anyone about anything unless you tell me otherwise.”
“Well,” I hesitated, “I’ve been having trouble with my sister.” I told him everything that had happened, starting with Hilary in my room. “She’s just so annoying. She’s such a pest!”
Mr. Jenkins nodded. “I understand. Sometimes it’s really hard to get along with our siblings.”
“Sometimes!” I protested. “She’s always bothering me!”
He laughed. “But you do see your sister a lot, which makes her a very good candidate for a really close friend.”
I snorted. Not very ladylike, I know. “No way. I’ll never be able to be friends with Hilary. She gets on my nerves so much. Sometimes, I wish… I wish she’d never been born!”
Mr. Jenkins studied me. His face was dead serious now. “You may feel that way now, but someday you’ll realize how much you really need her and love her.”
About halfway through homeroom the next morning, the intercom buzzed. Mrs. Walton, my homeroom teacher, was clearly indignant at the interruption, but she replied anyway. “Yes?”
“Please send Erika Gardner to the office immediately.” the voice requested, crackling over the speaker.
Mrs. Walton nodded at me. I was immediately the center of attention as I stood up to leave. Ugh. I hate it when other people stare at me, and they were all wondering what I had done. I quickly escaped into the hall, my mind racing. I couldn’t think of anything I’d done (at least, not lately) that would be severe enough to force me to go to the principal’s office. Most of the time, I’m a pretty good kid, except for a few mistakes every once and a while, like the time in third grade when I dared Donny to go down the playground slide on his back, head first. Not good. I got in trouble big time. There was also the time last year, seventh grade, when Cindy and I started a food fight. That was fun. But I couldn’t think of anything I’d done lately.
Finally I reached the principal’s office and walked in. Uh-oh. Something must have been really wrong, because both of my parents were there. Both of their faces were pale, and my mom’s eyes looked puffy and swollen, like she had been crying.
The principal stood up and nodded at me. “I’ll leave the three of you alone.” She left the room, closing the door behind her.
I glanced nervously at my parents. Something was going on, and whatever it was, it was definitely not good. My mom looked over at my dad, and he reluctantly took over.
“Sit down,” he told me. I obeyed. He took a deep breath and began. “After the Johnsons picked Hilary up to take her to school, they were involved in a car accident. Hilary died in the crash.” He was clearly having a difficult time.
I opened my mouth to protest, wanting to say something that would help Hilary not be dead, but no sound would come out. The room started to spin before my eyes, and I gripped the chair, my knuckles getting white. I could hear my parents talking to me, but they sounded really far away. “No,” I was finally able to whisper hoarsely as the room stopped spinning. “No!” I yelled, sobbing hysterically. “Hilary can’t be dead! She can’t! She can’t…” My voice faded away into choking sobs.
I diligently went to Hilary’s funeral that Saturday, but when we got back home, I threw myself down on my bed, sobbing. I remembered what Mr. Jenkins had said on Wednesday night, the day before Hilary died. Boy, was he right. I really did love Hilary, deep down inside. Sometimes you never know what you got till it’s gone.
“They say you never know what you got till it’s gone…”
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04 Mar 2015
Hey C.B.! Thanks for your kind critique on my piece "ventriloquist act 2: love my neighbor?" (I know, that was a whole month ago. I have issues with procrastinating.)
Wow, was this a sad story. I didn't expect it to end like that. I was hoping it would all be a dream, and Erika would wake up and hug her sister. Another possibility I imagined would be for Erika to get along with Hillary for at least one day before she dies. I would prefer one of those endings, but it's your story so it's up to you. However you want to end it, we all need to be reminded of the brevity of life.
Besides the story I liked the casual writing style. I think teens would dig it. Well, I don't have anything to say besides that. You kept my attention the whole time and made me feel something that I still feel as I type this last part.
Great work. God bless.
18 Feb 2015
Wow! Good job getting the emotion into this story. You perfectly described the feeling of sadness after a death. The story is really sad, but wonderful writing!
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