Bratty Sister


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I just stumbled on this story I wrote in 2001. I distinctly remember this incident – the dialog is verbatim. LOL!

~*~

“So, you’re saying I can’t go?” I made a mental list: protruding lip, eyes wide, chin high, shoulders back, foot forward – Houston, we are in full pout mode.

“Yes that’s exactly what I’m saying. Dad said I didn’t have to take you. It’s an adult party, no squirts allowed.” It was almost pleasurable seeing the flash of rage in her 6-year-old eyes, the look of determination as she about-faced, curls stretching to keep up with her, and marched towards her biggest gun.

“Moooooooooooooooom,” the whine trailed down the hallway, “muh-ooooom…” a little more agitated, into the kitchen and out the open back door. A moment of silence, then “…oooooooooom” sirening outside my window and around the side of the house. “Mooooooooom” in through the front door. “Mom?” in the deserted bathroom. “Mommy?” one final, despairing cry echoed in the middle of the hallway.

I smirked. Mom was out getting groceries. This might be the cleanest get-away ever. Dad sat in the living room reading the paper, completely oblivious to the entire confrontation. I came and stood in front of him with an expectant look. He glanced over me with a sparkle of disapproval at the short skirt on my 16-year-old frame, but then shrugged with resignation and handed me the car keys wrapped in a 20-dollar bill. The entire exchange took place with a chorus of “Daddy, where’s mom? Daddy, where’s mom? Daddy, where’s mom?” elevating to a grand forte in the background.

“Thank you, Daddy,” he leaned forward to receive his cursory kiss on the cheek, and then I flew out of there like I had bees on my tail.

The front door shut to the waning liturgy of “Daddy, where’s mom? Daddy, how come I can’t go? Daddy, where’s mom? Daddy, why did you tell her I couldn’t go? Daddy?”

I briefly tasted the sweet sensation of freedom, was drinking in the power, but just before I shut the car door, a tiny fist thrust through the opening. “Daddy said I could go.”

“No he didn’t!”

“Yes he did!”

I sighed. I knew what she was doing. If she stalled just long enough, mom would come home and she’d get her way. She always does. Thinking that I’d have to check with Dad to make sure he didn’t tell her she could go at the last minute, she was trying to buy precious time. “I know Dad never said that, we had a deal. I promised to get the car washed if he would watch you. Dad wouldn’t go back on that.”

“Well, he did. He said it was no fair that you get to go to Sarah’s birthday party without me because she likes me too, and she’s my friend and gave me her Western Barbie and Dad says she would really want me to come wif’ you and that you are just being mean and he won’t let you take the car if you don’t take me because there are BOYS there and you have lipstick on and he thinks I should go to watch you because he doesn’t trust you since you are so mean to me, and…” she had to take a breath sometime, didn’t she? “…and mom always says that you don’t take out the trash like you’re s’posed to and that I’m your ‘sponsibly and she would be really mad if she found out that you went wifout me because Sarah invited me too and I’m booooooooooooored.” The final word was punctuated with a descending vibrato, making her sound like a goat stuck in an electric fence.

I could see the headlines now, “Teenage Girl Dies of Loneliness as She is Forced to Take Care of Bratty Baby Sister that No One Else Could Stand”. A picture of my sister with her cheesy, defiant grin and the caption “At Large, Hide Your Hamsters” would appear next the article. Well, I wasn’t just going to wait for mom to get home and ruin everything. I looked her straight in the eyes, pursed my lips, gave her the meanest face I could come up with, gritted my teeth, and quietly stated, “You can’t come. You don’t have a present. I’ll save you a piece of cake.”

She took a step back, but held on to the car door, then cocked her head, “I can’t go without a present? What kind of cake?”

Ah, reasoning, this might just be successful. I donned my most syrupy condescending tone; “No, that’s how it works. You have to buy a present for the person who invited you, and if you don’t, then you can’t come. Probably chocolate.”

“What if there’s ice cream, how will you get it home before it melts?” Subject changed – crisis averted!

“Then I’ll stop and get you some special – they’ll only have plain vanilla, but I’LL get you bubblegum blue – but only if you stay home and be good for Dad. If you come, they won’t let you have any cake at all because you didn’t bring a present.”

Firecrackers were in her eyes as she took her hand off the door. “If they have hats, will you bring me one?”

“They won’t have hats, shrimp, this is a party for adults. We don’t play games, drink punch, have candy, or sing songs.”

Now she was totally confused, “So, what do you do?”

“We talk to boys.”

“Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” and that was that – she ran in the house, and I was free. Finally.

Just at the edge of the driveway, mom rounded the corner and pulled up next to me. “Are you off to Sarah’s party?”

“Yes, I’m running a little late, too.”
“Aren’t you going to take your sister?”

I almost choked on a laugh. “Nah, she didn’t want to come.” Then I made my getaway into the night.

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