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Rope Jumping

Thud! Thud! Thud! The steady beat of the thick, tan rope bumping the sidewalk is music to my ears. The summer heat is a musty wave, and the gleaming sun splashes heat onto my perspiring face. Loudly, I chant my favorite rhyme, "Cinderella dressed in yellow..." as my sister jumps over the rope in sync with the swinging heartbeat. We get halfway through the chant before her feet stomp on the rope instead of the concrete. Now, it is my turn. I hand the handle to my sister and walk to the center of the rope.
“Ready?” my mom asks. Confidently, I nod and get ready to jump. “One...Two…Three!” At three, my mom and sister thrust the rope up, and I watch as it forms a perfect arc over my head. The rope swings nearer and nearer to my feet, anticipating the jump. As I jump, the chant starts again. “Cinder—” My feet leave the ground a second too early. My scuffed up sneakers crash down onto the far edge of the rope. I stumble and immediately beg for another chance.
“Mom,” I yelp, “please, another turn!” Before I can finish my sentence, my sister starts up her counter attack.
“But Mooooommmm!”
“Sorry, darling, but it’s only fair. One turn, Michelle.” At my mother’s words my freckled nose wrinkles and my face contorts into an angry grimace. Hunching my shoulders and drooping my head, I switch places with my sister.
“Ready Jennifer?” my mom asks. A smile spreads across my sister’s face as she eagerly nods. My greatest wish suddenly becomes to wipe that grotesque smile off her face. A mischievous smile pokes out the corner of my mouth as my sister walks to the center of the rope. “My wish will be granted,” I mumble quietly to myself.
“Okay, Jenn, let’s get started!” A wide smile now covers my face. My mom smiles back at me, foolishly believing my smile is out of the sheer enjoyment of rope jumping. “One…Two…Three!” The rope swings over my sister’s head. She jumps. We chant. As the rope comes around for the second loop, excitement and anticipation thunders inside me. My body craves the sweet taste of revenge, which is so close I can almost touch it. The rope swings closer and closer to her sneakers. A bead of perspiration slips down from my hairline. She bends her knees, building power for her next jump.
“It’s time,” I silently say to myself. As the rope begins to swing under her legs, I lift my arm as high as I can. Proudly, I watch her face as she realizes the rope is now at her mid-shin, not swinging under her feet. Her jaw dropping and eyes squinting in an expression of terror brings me a sense of accomplished revenge. Her feet intertwine with the rope, a snake attacking its prey. Her body falls into a tangled heap on the concrete. I shut my eyes at the impact of her fall. When I open them again, I see a pool of red gushing out of her nose. Her hands and knees are blanketed with fresh scabs. Blood? My sense of accomplishment quickly vanishes as my sister lets out a wail of pain. My mom rushes to her side. Before she tends to my sister’s wounds, she glances up at me. She gives me a look I’ve never seen before. Not when I broke the amp, jumped on the bed, or even when I colored on the walls. Her eyes are not angry eyes, they are much more powerful than that. They are eyes of disappointment. The disappointment daggers she’s shooting out of her eyes hit my heart so hard I have to stick my foot behind me to keep from falling backwards. My sister glances up at me. Her crystal blue eyes, the perfect contrast to her pale skin, filled with tears are not glancing at me with disappointment, but with sadness. Sadness from why her sister, her very best friend, would do this to her. Tears begin to fill my own eyes as I realize how much pain I’ve caused two of the people I love, and just wait until Dad hears. Looking at the ground, I walk slowly up to my sister.
“Jennifer?” She looks at me with her bright, blue eyes again. I bend down to sit cross-legged next to her. The concrete, heated from the sun, burns my legs to the touch. “I’m sorry.” And I truly meant it.





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