Reading with My Sister This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The sun is setting. Its heart-warming rays peek shyly through the half-open blinds in the dim living room. The crackling jabber of the TV gently melts into the atmosphere. I, an 11-year-old girl, lie idly on a couch, carelessly resting my head on its arm as I indulge in a book.

The couch lightly bounces as someone sits on the other end. Lowering my book, I find my little sister, in her thick glasses, with a book from the same series. She lies down, too, and shuffles through the pages. Our feet meet in the middle, and a warm, fuzzy feeling slowly spreads through my body. We grin at each other and continue reading.

My sister was always shy as a child. When a stranger from church asked her name, she hid behind me. At McDonald's, she couldn't order unless I helped. During her first months at preschool, she didn't say a word to anyone. They thought she didn't know English, and were shocked that she was spoke it flawlessly at home.

Most of the time I have spent with my sister was in total silence. We were never the talkative type. While other sisters played with dolls and gossiping, we spent time doing what we loved most: reading. This was the glue that linked us and gave us both a sense of belonging. Lying side by side and holding up our books with aching arms, we would silently share wonderful moments in the world of novels. An observer might think we were lacking in communication. But, reading was our communication. Frequently we let out sighs of devastation or gasps of delight. This magical experience was our surreptitious medium of fellowship.

We particularly enjoyed the Harry Potter series. Hand in hand, we delved into Harry's adventures, entranced and bewildered. When he raced the wind to catch the golden snitch, we cheered together. When he was trapped in the Ministry of Magic by the Death Eaters, we froze in terror. When Professor Snape betrayed Dumbledore and drove him to death, we shuddered in rage together.

In the blink of an eye, the clock would point to ten and Mother would intrude on the silence that had filled our room. She would give us hugs and put us to bed. We would sigh and reluctantly let go of our books. We thought this special habit of ours would last forever.

But at some unknown point, we started to grow apart. I prepared for high school and a hectic academic schedule. Reading for hours became a luxury, and so I read less and less – until I forgot the last time I indulged in a book.

My sister began to read alone. She went out in the garden and read in the sun. I enviously watched from my window, then forced my attention back to my enormous load of homework.

Once created, our distance grew like bamboo sprouts after the rain. I was so busy that we hardly saw each other, and I forgot the plots of Harry Potter. Soon, I was in a school dormitory, miles away from the special times we once shared. Everything raced by in a blur. The once-cherished times with my sister faded.

At some point I realized that my sister was not taking my phone calls anymore. Mother always picked up the phone, saying she was off to parties or on a date. On the rare occasion that my sister picked up, it was not the same. She had grown from the timid, reserved girl who depended on her big sister. Mother and I were proud, but part of me missed the girl who needed me.

• • •

I stand in the dim hall outside my sister's bedroom. I open the door, and cozy rays of sun fill my eyes. She is sitting on her bed, immersed in a book. Her thin back seems lonely. She looks up as I enter. A quizzical “what are you doing here?” look appears on her face. I throw her an uneasy smile. We both stare silently at the bookshelf.

I break the stillness.

“You've got a whole lot of books here.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“I should read more too. Which is the best novel you have?”

“I don't know. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, maybe?”

We exchange smiles. I take the ragged, yellow-paged book in my hand. Shuffling through the pages, I close my eyes and unpack the memories that I had neatly folded into the corners of my mind, neglecting it for years. Scenes from Harry Potter flash by. Behind Harry clutching a snitch in glory, at the very back of the audience, are two young sisters holding hands, bouncing up and down in ineffable joy. Among the marvels of the Ministry of Magic, these sisters are curled up, embracing each other and trembling as they watch Hogwarts students face the Death Eaters. As Dumbledore encounters death, they weep among the crowd of students.

I lie down next to my sister and open the first page of an old but new book.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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mereCatThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 7, 2014 at 1:43 am
perfect - I wish I had something like this still connecting me and my brother :'(
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