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I'd Be A Liar
I glanced over at her at my sobbing parents. I couldn't believe this had happened. She had just been here, but now, she's gone.
I've shared a room with my sister for as long as I can remember. Mom had always been happy to tell everyone about the time that, right after she was born, I had tried to break her cradle so that she wouldn't sleep in my room. I was always so embarrassed when Mom told that story. It made me feel vindictive, maybe even a little evil.
I'd always hated her bedspread. It was so colorful, so happy. I'd tried to burn that bedspread. I'd been ten when I tried to do that. I knew that she and Mom liked it so much, and I was jealous. I was jealous that she was so perfect, that she got the better grades, that she was the one to wear Mom's favorite pearl necklace during dress-up - that she was the most popular, even the fact that she had my Mom's hair. Everyone commented on how she looked just like Mom. Her perfect golden curls, her gorgeous blue eyes. I don't know how many times I wished that I would have been given her beauty, that they would make me like my younger sister. If I said I wasn't jealous, I'd be a liar.
I guess my parents were shocked when I wasn’t as perfect as she was. I didn't get strait A’s, and I didn't master the piano at age nine. I couldn't do much worthwhile in their eyes. As a child, she always got all the attention. Everyone in the family was so proud of their beloved little girl. I was nine. She was seven. I was in the back of the choir; she was the leader of the beautiful angels. If I said I wasn't envious, I'd be a liar.
As we both hit our teenage years, my contempt for her only increased. She was the MVP on the middle school basketball team, the head cheerleader, the president of Junior Beta Club, a straight-A student as well as the head soprano in the school choir. How could I not envy her? I wasn't the most valued anything. I was a strait-C student who slept in class. I didn't participate in any clubs. I didn't really have any friends. If anyone talked to me, it was to ask me to relay a message to my sister. My amazing, popular, perfect sister. If I said I didn't hate her, I'd be a liar.
Even when I got my license, it was less mine than it was hers. I drove her to school - I drove her to practice - I drove her to the movies. My family didn't care that I had passed sophomore year, that I had managed straight-B's, that I had done my best to catch up to my little sister. I did my work on time; I went to work on time. I did everything to try to make them proud. They didn't notice. If I said I wasn't upset, I'd be a liar.
I guess it came as no surprise when she won Ms. Freshmen Homecoming Queen. My family was so proud. "How lovely it is to have such a delightful young lady in the family," they would say, "oh you must be so proud!" Every holiday, every event, every time she scored the winning shot in a basketball game, I would hear the same whispered question: "Why can't she be more like her sister?" I tried to avoid their questioning glances, but that was like avoiding my sister's perfection. If I said I wasn't jealous, I'd be a liar.
She always seemed so strong; I guess that’s why they were shocked when she didn’t survive.
I was driving her home from her cheerleading practice when it happened. She was chattering away about how glad she was that someone and her boyfriend got back together and how she despised the new routines they were supposed to learn. I was ignoring her; it's not like I ever listened anyway. She was just complaining about her low A in her Advanced Placement Honors Literature class when a truck veered into our lane. She barely had time to scream as the impact of the collision snapped my head into the steering wheel. The truck had almost missed us.
If we'd only been a second slower; if I'd only been a second slower. If I said I didn't hate myself, I'd be a liar.
The driver had missed my side of the car and hit the passenger side. The coroner said that she died approximately two minutes after the collision. He said that her death was caused by a broken neck. He said that she'd probably been unconscious after the initial crash and died before even waking up. He was wrong.
Right after the impact, I knew something was wrong. Her neck was bent at an odd angle. As I was trying to undo my seatbelt while wiping the blood off of my brow, she grabbed my arm. With a sickening grinding, she turned to look at me. There were tears in her eyes. She reached up slowly, as if to feel her neck. I watched fearfully. She pulled at the pearl necklace mom gave her for homecoming.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, "I'm so sorry for everything I've done." The tears slowly dripped down her beautiful cheeks. "I'm sorry I ruined everything for you. I'm sorry I never told you how much you meant to me. I want you to know that I've always looked up to you, and I've always envied you so much. I'm so sorry I never told you before." Even though I had always hated and envied her, even though I had always wanted to see her fall, to see her fail, to see her need me, I realized just how much I actually loved her.
"No, no, it's okay. It's not your fault. Nothing's your fault." The tears began flowing down my cheeks.
"No," she gasped, "it is my fault. I just wanted to tell you that I love you, and that I always thought Mom's pearls looked better on you." She looked straight into my eyes and whispered her last words: "I'm so sorry. I love you, Big sister."
With that, her eyes closed and I realized that she was gone. I began to cry, the tears mixing with the blood from my forgotten wound. Not only had I lost my only sister, but I realized that I had never, in our entire lives, told her that I loved her. My trickle of tears became great, gasping sobs. I never heard the sirens of the ambulance or police. I didn't even remember the ride to the hospital. The last thing I remembered was the gentle voice of the doctor telling my parents that my baby sister had died in the crash, and my hand clenched around her pearl necklace.