Perfect Role Model | Teen Ink

Perfect Role Model

August 8, 2012
By Tazzi SILVER, Wheaton, Illinois
Tazzi SILVER, Wheaton, Illinois
5 articles 2 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
― C.S. Lewis

As we sat on our front porch I watched my sister quietly flip through my note book, chewing delicately on her finger nails as she did so. “Now remember” Rae said as she held up one of my Spanish flash cards. “Decir is an e to I stem changer. You always forget about that one and it will definitely be on the test.” I nodded and wrote the different verb forms in my note book, then handed them to my sister for her to check. Rae was a senior now, and had been taking advanced Spanish classes all through high school. And after much bribing and bargaining I had finally captured her small attention span long enough for her to help me study.
“Ok” Rae said “This is good, but remember when you’re speaking in the past tense…” she trailed off for a moment and cocked her head to the side. And that’s when I heard it, the familiar bouncy rhythm of “Yankee Doodle Went to Town”. Oh no…. I thought, but it was already too late. In the span of about three seconds Rae had jumped up, sending flashcards flying everywhere, and ran into the house. Before the front door could even close behind her she had burst back outside with a jar full of lose change in her hands. I flinched as she flew past me and watched her run down the street and dash around the corner towards the source of the music, her long dark hair billowing around her shoulders like a cape. As she ran out of sight I sigh and silently wondered to myself how my older sister’s perfectly calm domineer could have changed so much in such a short amount of time. I scowled at the mess that she had made and scrambled to pick up all of my flash cards before the wind could blow them away.
In a few minutes my sister had returned with her treasures, two bars of ice cream and a Popsicle, her jar of lose change half empty. “Sorry I took so long.” She said as she plopped down next to me, the porch steps letting out a grown of protest. “The ice cream man had to count out all of my money three times to make sure I gave him enough.” I let out an annoyed sigh. “That’s what happens when you pay someone entirely in nickels.” I said to her. Rae beamed back at me. “They’re more than just nickels in here.” She said boastfully. “And I’m pretty sure there’s more than just American money too.” she proudly held out the ice cream she had in her hands and said, “I wasn’t sure what you wanted, so I got a few different things.” I gave the ice cream a distasteful look. “We’re supposed to be studying.” I said. Rae shrugged and said in a dignified voice. “You know Reilly, sometimes you need to find time in your life for an ice cream break.” Then she unwrapped a fudge bar and took a cheerful bite out of it.
Though we are three years apart there are many times when I wonder who the older one is, me or my sister. I don’t even ask myself who’s more mature. I already know the answer to that question hands down. Take the other day at the drug store for example. Rae had popped in to get a chocolate bar to satisfy her unholy sweet tooth and I told her I was looking for a magazine. But really I was watching the guy who works behind the counter. Rae was so easily distracted that it took her forever just to pick out what kind of candy she wanted, so I had plenty of time to get a good look at him. He was tall, had some kind of Celtic looking tattoo on his right arm, and his name tag said David. I told myself that if I bought something interesting it would make him notice me, but there wasn’t anything really unique between Seventeen and Martha Stewart. So I settled on some political magazine that I knew I would never be able to read, and headed over to the cashier. Just as the cute David was ringing up my magazine, Rae runs right into me and yells “Reilly look at these!” and shoves a package of super thick pads in my face. “There so thick, they’re like little Barbie beds!”
I am not joking. I thought I was going to die of embarrassment right there in the middle of the store. I don’t even remember what the David said to us after that, because by that time I was focused on only one thing. Which was getting out of that store as fast as I could so that I could both hide my shame, and kill my sister. But this kind of behavior is nothing new for Rae. I think deep down, she’s always been different. She’s always doing crazy stuff like that or asking weird questions. One of her favorite things to do is creating little “challenges” for herself, and not only are they usually pointless, but she usually makes me come with her. Earlier this month she wasted my whole Saturday dragging me from restaurant to restaurant in search of the best blueberry waffles in town. I didn’t think it was possible for a person to eat that much syrup smothered dough until I saw my sister do it no less than six times that day. Last week she surprised me with a “group” trip to the local play land, and it is not an experience that I would like to revisit. I think it’s safe to say that she has never been a real role model for me. All she ever seems to do is goof off, and even though she’s going to college at the end of the summer she doesn’t even know what she wants to do with her life. I just can’t understand how someone can live like that, it’s beyond me.
As we sat together on the front porch I listened to Rae slowly slurping away at her popsicles and tried my best to concentrate on what I was studying. From beside me there came a slurping, smacking sound and Rae said “You know, you don’t have to know all of that stuff, just most of it. You got good grades during the last two quarters, so all you need to do to ace your classes is pass their finales, you know.” I gave her a pointed look and said in a clipped tone, “It’s important to try your best.” Rae dismissed this with a flick of her hand and she said “Yeah, I know, but not if it makes your crazy anxious for the final.” Her face darkened into a look of mock horror. “Or for the rest of your life.” She crossed her eyes at me, then returned her attention back to her popsicle. “Plus studying just sucks the fun out of everything else, you should go play a game or something.”
Well it was easy for Rae to say stuff like that. Even though she totally slacked off in school she still somehow managed to finish high school with really good grades. It wasn’t the same for me though. I knew that if I wanted to do well on something I would have to work hard for it.
“You, know.” I said in a tired voice “Sometimes you really worry me. You just act so….I don’t know, bizarre. I don’t know how you did so well in school. Especially since you like to waste so much time.” As Rea finished each of her popsicles she placed the dirty, sticky Popsicle sticks behind her ear to save for her “collection”. Rea shot me one of her lazy “all knowing” smiles, completely unfazed by what I had just said. “My good Reilly.” She said in a breezy voice “That’s just cause you don’t get to see my intellectual side.” I bit my lower lip and tried not to smile. I didn’t want to question whether or not she really had an intellectual side, so I let it pass. Instead I sat with my sister on our little front porch in a compliable silence that suited us both, for the time being. As the day turned into dusk, the sound of children’s laughter died away, and our porch lights turned on, just like the warm light that flickered inside me.

The author's comments:
I don't have a sister, but I have two younger brothers. I don't think I have ever really been a responsible older sibling. And that was the inspiration for this story.

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