1:30 PM – 9 – heartbroken. slo-mo

We are attending CCD. It is a weekly educational program for Catholic youngsters. Half the kids in my grade attend; none of us wants to be here. I am in a bad phase; a cruel phase. I relentlessly tease my sister. I tell her she is ugly, she is dumb, she makes me want to puke. She is gentle, she is unsure why I am doing this. Part of me, deep inside, sees this and hates me for opening my mouth and pushing her just a little further.

I let other kids tease her. A mean girl at Tree House, the day care place, whispers to me that she is going to yank my sister’s feet out from under her. I want to tell her to stop, to tell her that is my beautiful sister and don’t you dare hurt her, but I am cowardly and weak and I nod and grin. I want to warn my sister as I call her name and she looks at me, curious, trusting, because I am her sister and I would never let the meanĀ girl, who is sneaking up behind her, pull her feet out from under her and send her crashing to the floor and thank God there’s a rug because she hits her chin and bursts into tears and I feel sucker-punched to the gut.

I don’t look at the mean girl. I help Trish up, try to hug her but she pulls away, weeping like her heart is broken. Maybe it is. Maybe I have shattered her love for me, broken it beyond repair. Maybe she will never look at me again with those brilliant blue eyes that admire and look up to and love me. I do not deserve it. I apologize to my sister, but she does not answer. I have betrayed her.

After CCD, as dusk falls, she runs out to the curb to look for our dad. He is parked across the street in the family car. I run after her, because I am supposed to help her cross the street. She sees me coming and steps into the street. “Tricia!” I yell. She glares at me, does not look, rushes toward my dad in the car across the road.

The world is in slow motion. I hear the screech of brakes. A big white car is inching toward her, frame by frame, and then she is rolling, underneath a car parked at the side of the road. A woman jumps out of the white car, rushes toward the place where my sister disappeared. My dad gets out of the car. He is shocked. He does not see me in my pink windbreaker, watching. I cannot move.

My sister crawls out from underneath the car. My dad helps her to her feet. She seems shaken, but she is still wearing her glasses. She is okay. I cross the road on shaky legs. I look at her. “Are you okay?” “Yeah. I’m fine.” She is looking at me. “I’m sorry.” It is all we say.

We go to the hospital. My mom comes with us. My sister has two scrapes on her legs, where the asphalt hit her hardest. They tell us she is fine. They tell us she is unbelievably lucky. I love her. I know it now, and I try to show her.

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