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I sat on the porch of my Grandpa's old country home. My hands were balled into fists and I glared at my younger sister as she glared back. She was sitting in the middle of the dirt drive, hands around her legs, chin resting on her knees. The expression on her face had gone from a frozen glare to unreadable. I knew that mine was obviously displaying rage and frustration, and I didn't even try to hide that.
A bird flew overhead, screeching an unpleasant croak every now and then. The minutes ticked by, and we continued to stare at each other. My sister unexpectedly turned her head towards the ground and sighed. She pushed herself off the ground and brushed the dirt off her ratty jeans.
"I'm gonna go see how things are," she said evenly as she towards where I was sitting.
I shot her a piercing glance through my narrowed eyes, trying foolishly to knock her down with just a meaningless look.
"Sit down Bree," I almost growled at her.
"Angie," she paused, exhaling, and then continuing, "I don't know why you have to make such a big deal out of everything. I made a joke about when you were in third grade, and you threw a freaking chicken leg at me. Don't you think that was a little overboard, you were supposed to take it jokingly."
I continued glaring at her. This was the first time we had spoken to each other in a half hour. Which was also how long ago our little incident occurred.
She stared at me, waiting for an answer and taking in the full hatred steaming off my face. Then Bree rolled her eyes and looked back down at me, "You have major anger management problems Ang, you might want to get that checked out."
Then I lost it. "You hear those people inside Bree?!" I pointed a finger back towards the house without looking away from her, "You hear the laughter? And the joy of everyone being together? That’s because of me! That’s because this is my graduation party! And guess where I'm supposed to be!? I'm supposed to be in there celebrating my high school graduation with everyone that came to celebrate it with me! And guess where I am? I'm an 18 year old who is in time out because my thirteen year-old sister thought it would be funny to attack me after I jokingly threw a piece of chicken at her! I'm in time out with my little sister on what's supposed to be the happiest day of my life! You dove at me! And you're telling me that I have anger management problems?! Do you know what this feels like? My baby sister just gave me a black eye and I gave her a bloody nose in front of my 92-year-old grandma!! In front of my boyfriend, all my friends, aunt Sue, aunt Karen, Uncle Todd, Uncle John, my godmother!! Right in front of all the people that have cared about me and supported me my whole life! And I just did that at my high school graduation party! How do you think everyone in there is gonna feel about me leaving home and going off on my own as a responsible adult? About being free to beat up poor little kids? Do you know what you just did to me? I don't think you do Bree. I honestly don't think you do."
I was too mad to be close to tears as I had planned to be at the end of my speech. I had to hold my teeth together just to make sure I didn't bite her bratty little head off. I closed my eyes and started to calm myself.
Bree stood in silence for a second, then said thoughtfully, "Ya, but it was still just a joke." She looked at me curiously, waiting for me to accept defeat and fault. I did exactly the opposite.
My eyes snapped open and I lost it. I sprung off the porch, using the advantage of being at a greater height than Bree, and tackled her. I was screaming and tearing and biting and punching at any part of her I could. That little monster was doing the same but the sounds that came from her mouth weren't screams of rage and fury. She was trying to calm me! That pig-headed beast was telling me to breathe and calm down. That did it! I fought eight times as hard, waiting for her to cry in pain and agony. But she continued to try and soothe me, never once sounding out of breath or uncomfortable.
We continued to knock each other down and stumble to get up. Her teasing was getting worse, "Angie, you should really stop this," she said smiling an evil grin as she sat on my stomach pinning my wrists to the ground, "You're getting your dress messy." She winked at me and I rolled over, jabbing my knees into her ribs.
"You wouldn't even wear a dress to my big event!" I croaked, "What kind of sister are you? You wore a dress to Maggie's graduation! I HATE YOU! You're ruining my life!!!!!"
"Maggie cares about me! You NEVER have." Now I could hear what I had been waiting for. But I didn't want to hear it that way. I had wanted to hurt Bree physically, but now the pain in her voice came from a scar much deeper inside. "Maggie doesn't throw poultry at me!" the teasing edge was back, and we continued to try and hurt each other.
"Well I guess that answers that question."
Bree and I both snapped our heads in the direction of the new voice. Maggie was standing in the doorway, looking at us with clear disappointment.
"Mom wanted me to come see if you two were ready to come back in and finish reading the letter from Father Rick," she looked over both of us carefully and then sighed, "but apparently, you're not."
She started to turn back towards the house, but I got up and softly protested. "Maggie wait."
She paused, and then turned to face me. That was what was so wonderful about Maggie. My older sister had so much patience, something both Bree and I needed so desperately.
"Maggie, we need your help," I said tentatively. "Ever since you went off to college Bree and I can't be sisters. I know we've always fought, but we've also been able to put up with being in each other's family. Now we can't find any room to love each other. Ever since you left, we've been anything but family."
I was surprised that I was saying all of this, coming clean and laying out the truth. But in a way it felt good, and if there was anyone who could help, it was Maggie.
Maggie sat down on the porch and smiled at me. "Well, you guys sure haven't made much of an effort to hide that," she said sarcastically. "We'll talk about this later when we have more time, but for now, understand this," she motioned for us to sit beside her. We did.
"Whether you two know it or not, you do love each other very much. You have helped each other through thick and thin, been through the best and the worst together. There are times when it might seem hard to believe that, but it's true. My Sociology professor once said, "Your mind automatically ignores those who will not effect your life in a good way, and focuses on those who will change your life," meaning your loved ones. Bree, Angie, I know you can run into bumps, but that will only make you stronger."
She turned to smile at both of us and before Bree and I could react, she had grabbed both of our hands and was pulling us inside. That made me a little disappointed. I wanted to blame Bree and get Maggie side with me, but then again it was good. Things were already way out of hand. Maggie dragged us into the bathroom and cleaned us off. We were in pretty bade shape. This was probably the most embarrassed I had ever been. No, not probably. Definitely.
I sighed and went to the table where I had opened a letter from our priest, Father Rick, before my sister had interrupted me. No one had really asked what had gone on, but I'm sure my appearance had them overflowing with questions. I was going to kill Bree for this.
I picked up the letter and started from the beginning. I read aloud because my mother insisted everyone should hear it. My mom… I’d forgotten about my mom. She was going to burn Bree and I alive. I was surprised she hadn't already sentenced us to death. I shook that thought away and started reading.
I am so proud of you. You have grown up to be such a nice young woman. In this envelope, I've enclosed a letter I found the year you were in third grade. I hope you always have this much faith in God and love for your younger sister Breanna.
I stared wide-eyed at the last part, then collected my senses and pulled my open awed mouth shut. I didn't look around to see everyone else's reactions. I pulled the letter out of the envelope and stared in shock as tears welled up in my eyes. I started to read quickly, trying to prevent an emotional breakdown.
My name is Angie Maria Carson. I am in third grade and I have already lost all of my teeth. I am writing to you because I am afraid my sister has sinned very badly! But I am asking you to please, please please forgive her! Two days ago, when Maggie gave me a goldfish from the fair, Bree-Bree didn't know what to think of it. It was my fault! I was watching her and I didn't know she had snuck into my room! She took out poor Goldy and started to play with her. She is only three! She didn't know Goldy couldn't live without water! When Maggie came in, Goldy was already dead. I cried for the whole day and prayed that Goldy was going to heaven. It wasn't fair! Maggie got me two more goldfish the next day! I was so excited I forgot to put them up high and Bree got into my room again. God please forgive her! She isn't a murderer. Please let her go to heaven! I prayed so much for all of my goldfish and I'm sure they are having a better life too! Please let Bree have a chance! I won't let it happen again. I love Bree soooo much and she's my favorite little sister ever! So please forgive her God, She is very sorry!
Angie Maria Carson
I looked up and felt the tears running down my cheeks. I could remember this day so well. I had written the letter and walked up to the church, only to find it locked. So I left the letter on the doorstep and prayed God would find it.
I laughed and sighed. Most everyone in the room was laughing. It was a funny story. I looked up at Bree, and saw that her eyes were also full of tears. We pushed our chairs away from the table at the same time as each other. We met halfway between our seats and cried in each other’s arms.
"I love you Angie," she whispered. "No matter what."
"I love you too Bree," I whispered back. Then agreed,” No matter what." And we held each other, magically brought back together by a memory, and once again sisters.