Sisterhood: The Story of Two Sisters

March 5, 2009
Tap.Tap.Tap. The repeated sound on my windowpane that overwhelms me with security but yet, a sense of wrongdoing. I creep out of bed to unlock the basement door for my older sister, who at the time was fifteen. She had done her usual routine of coming home late into the night.

I let her in the door. Her eyes were bloodshot and the smell of booze lingered from her mouth. She stumbled to her room and passed out on her bed. I tell myself every time, 'Don't let her in, it's not your fault she was out late,' but every time I tiptoe to the door, gently unlock it, and let my drunken sister in. I think I allow myself to help her because of our childhood. We were inseparable. She was my best friend and I still believe that if I help her, she will remember those times and want to include me in her life again.

It all began, when my older sister, Brooke and I realized that if we teamed up, we could play hilarious pranks on our relatives. Our friendship blossomed from these mischievous jokes and we began to spend every moment together. We would play thousands of childish games including our favorite, dress-up. We would play for hours at a time. My mother always said we were what sisterhood was all about. No secrets were kept for long and we always borrowed each other's clothing.

The summer before Brooke's freshman year in high school, we celebrated her fifteenth birthday. She invited her friends to come over. I tried to join in on their conversations and spend time with them at the party and they just kept staring at me, whispering to one another and laughing. I did not mind until I saw Brooke laughing and whispering as well. Seeing her laughing at me, felt like someone had just punched me in the face. How could she do that? I was her best friend and these other 'so-called friends,' were just there to give her presents. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. The day my sister changed.

The start of her freshman year in high school and the start of my first year in junior high brought about chaotic events and emotions. By October, Brooke had been spending time with upperclassmen, especially the boys. I knew Brooke was a very attractive girl and that she had always made the boys look twice at her, but I did not know she was so interested in dating and relationships. In a two-month period, I had seen Brooke go on many dates with at least five different boys. It was as if I did not know my sister after all. We were so close and told each other everything, but she had never mentioned any boys.

I remember this one boy, Mike. He pulled onto our road going about sixty miles per an hour as if he was a NASCAR driver. He checked his hair in his car mirror, opened the door to the car, and strutted to our door in a way that brought a sense of cockiness to my mind. I answered the door and he greeted me with the fakest smile I have ever seen and with a gentle pat on the top of my head. 'Well aren't you adorable,' he said in the most childish voice I have ever heard.

I rolled my eyes and called for Brooke. She came downstairs wearing more makeup than Sephora has in its store and less clothing than a Victoria's secret model. I caught a glimpse of Mike's face and I wish I hadn't. His eyes were wide with excitement and he was rubbing his hands together. I knew what he was thinking; I had watched enough chick-flick movies to know what that hand gesture meant. I pulled Brooke aside. 'Don't you think you should put' I don't know' some CLOTHES on?!' I exclaimed.

'Robin, stop acting like my mother. I can wear what I want. Besides, mom and dad aren't home,' said Brooke.

She slammed the door and headed towards Mike's car. As they were walking, Mike slapped my sister's bottom and then jumped into the driver's seat without even opening the door for her.

My parents came home around ten o'clock and were too exhausted to care what my sister and I were doing. Sometimes, I wish my parents were home more, that they could see what was happening to our family and especially what was happening to Brooke. They went to bed and left me alone to worry about Brooke. Around three o'clock in the morning, I heard the rumble of Mike's car speeding down the road. Brooke jumped out of the car, she was swinging her purse, and she was walking rather sluggishly. I tiptoed down the stairs and unlocked the door. Brooke's hair was a mess and her make-up was smeared. 'Brooke, where have you been?' I said.

She slurred, 'I went partying. Mike took me to this club.'

'Brooke you are not old enough to go to clubs, you are only fifteen!' I exclaimed.

'Robin, I do what I want. You are not the boss of me,' mumbled Brooke.

'That's right I am not, but Mom and dad are and they will be hearing about your crazy night tomorrow morning,' I protested.

'Robin, if you tell them anything I will never forgive you. I will never talk to you and I will ignore you forever,' she sternly said.

She walked up the stairs to her room, leaving me standing in front of the door feeling as if she had just stabbed me in the heart. I didn't want to ruin our relationship, but I knew what she was doing was wrong.

The next morning I sat down to breakfast with my parents without mentioning my sister's previous night's events.

As the months went on Brooke's long nights seemed to get longer. It was her usual routine to stay out til four or maybe five o'clock in the morning. By that time, I knew she was changing for the worse and her choice of friends was the cause of the problem.

One Friday night in December, I went to the local mall with some friends. While I was looking in American Eagle's display window, I saw a reflection of a group of teenagers crowded around a table behind me smoking cigarettes and harassing people as they walked through the mall. The one looked similar to Mike. I took a closer look and sure enough, it was Mike. I could not resist the urge to turn around and see if my sister was in the mob of smoke. There she was. Her hand moving back and forth to her mouth with a cigarette and smoke swirling around her face. Just as I was about to go ask her if she had lost her mind, mall security had entered the scene. The crowd of teenagers ran and all that was left was the cloud of smoke, and the scent of tobacco.

Later that night, I confronted Brooke about the mall incident. She seemed to get very irritated with me very quickly. I turned to go up the stairs and just as I turned, I felt her hand grab my shoulder. She pulled me down and I tumbled to the floor. She began to punch me and she was screaming. 'Robin, I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!'

I finally was able to escape her rage of violence. I ran up the stairs and locked myself in my room. I was trembling with fear. I knew there was a lot more that happened that night, then just the mall incident.

I couldn't sleep; I felt an ache of pain in my stomach. I suddenly realized that this pain has been occurring for months now. My sister's behavior has affected me mentally and physically. I worried constantly about her safety, I was stressed out of my mind, and I realized that my entire life now revolved around keeping an eye on my older sister. Why did I care so much? She has been treating me like a stranger, as if I didn't exist to her anymore. I just want my life back to the way it was before last summer, when my sister called me her best friend.

The next morning, I woke up to find my parents sitting around the dining room table. Our report cards had just arrived in the mail. This was by far the only thing they cared about when it came to Brooke and me, or so it seemed. They both looked disappointed. I sat down to speak with them and they told me my grades were satisfactory as usual. 'Mom, Dad, why do you look so disappointed?' I asked.

My dad responded, 'We are not disappointed with you Robin. You are an excellent student and an amazing young woman who I am glad to call my daughter.'

Later that day I sneaked into my dad's office to look for the report cards. I found my sister's and she had managed to get D's and below in every single subject she was taking. I was shocked. Brooke was a straight A student. I knew her new friends were the problem. She had a new attitude towards school.

My parents confronted Brooke about her dissatisfactory grades. She told them she had numberless things on her mind. 'I just have had trouble adjusting to the harder classes of high school. I just need some time to think,' said Brooke. My parents left it at that, and didn't ask another question.

Brooke passed me going up the stairs and she gave me the death eyes as if I was reason she was failing.

Several months later Brooke was still up to her usual bad habits. One day, I was sitting in math class when two boys walked up to me and asked if Brooke Siegler was my sister. 'Yes, Brooke is my older sister. Why do you ask?' I said.

They both giggled, 'Oh nothing, we were just wondering.'

Later that day, I figured out that pictures were taking of my drunken sister at a party that past weekend. She was out of control and the pictures proved it. At the high school, apparently someone thought it would be funny to make copies of the pictures and hang them up around the school. This was it, I had to do something before my sister ruined her life completely, but for some reason, I was scared. I didn't want to tell my parents because my sister threatened me and told me what would happen if I did. I was too afraid. I needed more time to figure out a plan.

March 15th, 2005 brought about the worst possible scenario. Brooke had stolen my mother's car and decided to go on a joyride. At the age of 15, she had never operated a car or even a lawnmower for that matter. I could tell she was wasted and that she had been smoking. I tried to stop her from leaving the garage. I stood in front of the car; she started the engine, somehow figured out how to put it in gear and slowly started to move out of the garage. She was actually going to hit me. I ran to the driver's door and tried to open it. She quickly locked the doors while laughing at me as if she was five years old again. I let her leave. I couldn't stop her, I never could before, and I would never be able to.

Later that night while lying in bed, I heard my cell phone ringing. I picked up the phone to hear a stranger's voice. 'Go to Lehigh Hospital, there is someone you need to see.'

The stranger hung up.

I threw on some clothes and jumped on my bike. I knew it was Brooke. I told her not to take the car. It's all my fault, I could have tried harder to stop her.

I arrived at the hospital in a nervous panic, my hands were sweaty and I felt like I had a lump in my throat, as if someone was trying to suffocate me. I walked to the emergency room desk and asked if a girl by the name of Brooke Siegler was being treated. I explained that I was her younger sister and that I had received a mysterious phone call telling me to come to the hospital. The nurse showed me to my sister's room.

I was about to open the door to her room when I began to cry. I was the reason for my sister lying in that hospital bed. I shouldn't have let her go. I could have tried harder to stop her. While I was sobbing at the door, I heard a muffled voice calling, 'Robin, is that you?'

'It's'it's me Brooke..,' I slurred. I gently opened the door and closed it behind me. I walked over to the side of the bed where my older sister was laying. Her left eye was severely bruised, and she had a cast on her right arm and a large bandage wrapped around her head.

'What happened Brooke?' I exclaimed.

She began to cry and her hands were shaking. 'I was driving to Mike's house and then everything after that is a blur. I remember swerving into the left lane and then, that's it.'

She grabbed my hand and whispered to me, 'I'm sorry.'

I could tell she meant it, I hadn't sensed her true personality and emotion for a long time, but that night at the hospital, I knew she was telling the truth, the emotion in her voice was real.

I was about to go find the doctor when Brooke grabbed my hand again. 'There is something else I need to tell you Robin,' tears were rolling down her face, 'I'm pregnant.'

I lost my balance and fell to my knees alongside Brooke's bed. Did she really just tell me that? I calmed myself down because I knew I had to be strong for her. 'Brooke, its ok, I know it seems very scary and bad at the moment, but I will help you through it. I will always be here for you.'

She looked me in the eyes and promised me she would change. 'I want to have the baby Robin, I want to do well in school, I want to be a better sister, and most importantly I want to come home and be part of the family again.'

'I know everything will be ok Brooke, its just going to be very hard, but we'll get through it. First, you need to call Mom and Dad,' I ordered.

I handed her the phone, and she struggled dialing the number. I knew this was going to be hard for her. Our parents had been working late nights since we both were old enough to watch after ourselves, and so, what she was about to tell them was coming as a complete shock. 'Mom, its Brooke, sorry to wake you up, but I am at Lehigh Hospital. I have been in a car accident,' Brooke mumbled, 'I have some other things to tell you, but I really would like Dad and you to come as soon as you can. Robin is already here. Ok' Bye Mom'Mom?' she questioned, 'I love you.'

My parents arrived about fifteen minutes later. I met them both outside the door to Brooke's room. They appeared scared; I have never seen my parents so worried before. I hugged them and opened the door to Brooke's room. I stayed outside to give my parents and Brooke privacy. I could hear the cries begin, my mother sobbing, Brooke gasping for air as she tried to tell them what had happened. My father seemed quiet; I could not recognize any of the cries as his. All of a sudden, I saw the doorknob begin to turn. I jumped away from the door just as my father opened it. He sat down on the floor, his hands covering his face. He looked angry. I walked over to him and he uncovered his face, and now I could see he was crying. 'Why?' he muttered, 'Why did this have to happen to Brooke? And why didn't I see this coming?'

I sat down beside my father and for some reason, I had no comforting words. 'Well dad, I don't think you saw it coming because you work too much to care. You come home exhausted and as soon as you walk in the door, you seem to go straight to bed,' I said, 'But I'm not saying this was your fault dad, because its not. Brooke put herself in this situation and it took this long for her to realize what she was doing. We have to be strong dad; we have to help Brooke through this rough time in her life. She's going to be fine, just like we all will be.'

He wrapped his arm around me and we sat in silence for a few minutes. 'I think you're right Robin. We will make it through this because we are strong and because from now on, your mother and I will be here.'

I smiled at this and realized life was changing. My parents had finally realized how they have affected Brooke and me. I wanted them to be home more, I wanted to do family things, and most importantly, I wanted to be happy again.

After all explanations were finished, Brooke rested in her bed, while my parents spoke with the doctor. The doctor told them that Brooke would be fine and that she could go home as soon as she felt comfortable.

I walked into Brooke's room. I grasped her hand, 'Everything is going to be alright Brooke,' I said, 'The doctor said you may leave as soon as you're ready.'
She sat up very quickly. I felt so happy to see Brooke wanting to come home. She wanted to go to the place where she barely step foot in for the past seven months and this made me smile for the first time in a long time. We were friends again and I knew our relationship was going to grow stronger and stronger as the days went on.

I helped Brooke out of the bed into the wheelchair the nurse had kindly brought us. I grabbed what little things she had been carrying with her and I rolled her out of the room. I hit the front of the wheelchair on the door as I tried to maneuver my sister through the walkway. Brooke chuckled, 'Same old Robin, always clumsy.' My parents were standing at a nearby desk talking with a nurse and quickly scribbling on some papers. When they saw us, they smiled. For the first time since I could remember, Brooke had smiled and chuckled at me, and this made me smile wider than I ever had. My parents recognized our smiles and they began to smile as well.

I knew this was the beginning of a new part in our life and I was glad. My dad put his hands around my shoulders and my mom hugged Brooke. I began to cry tears of joy, 'Let's go home,' I said.

Several months later, our family had made significant progress, we were a family again. My parents had reduced their weekly hours spent at work, Brooke and I were spending more time together, and we were all happy again. School had ended for the summer, Brooke, and I had both managed to receive straight A's. The summer had begun and Brooke was looking rather round in the stomach area, but she still looked as beautiful as she always had.

In early June, Brooke asked me if I would like to go to the hospital with her and my mother. Brooke lay on the hospital bed waiting for the nurse. She seemed rather nervous. 'Brooke, what's wrong?' I asked.

'Just a little nervous, today they're going to tell me if it's a boy or a girl,' she said.

We all anxiously waited for the nurse's arrival. The nurse walked in and began asking Brooke a sequence of questions. I wanted to tell the nurse to stop talking and just get down to business, I was so anxious. She finally began the ultrasound, my heart was racing, why was this happening? Maybe it was because the realization was getting to me. I was going to be an aunt. 'Alright Brooke, would you like to know the gender of your baby?' the nurse asked.

'Yes!' Brooke squealed with excitement.

'You're having a baby girl.' the nurse replied.

Brooke began to cry, my Mother began to cry, and I couldn't help but to join in on the moment. We were so happy. We left the hospital and began to drive home.

'Hey girls, what do you say we stop for some ice cream?' my Mother asked.

'Yes!' Brooke and I yelled in unison.

We stopped at Longacre's Dairy Farm market. I remembered this place. My parents used to bring Brooke and me here every Sunday after dinner when we were younger. As soon as I walked in, I felt like I was five years old again. The first time I came here, I ordered the triple chocolate sundae with Oreo cookies. I remembered the exact booth we sat in, exactly what I was wearing, and that I couldn't finish my sundae so my father helped me.

This flashback reminded me of so many childhood memories, which I had forgotten with the hectic year that had passed.

I walked up to the counter and ordered a triple chocolate sundae with Oreo cookies. Brooke and my mother ordered and we sat down in the same both we did eight years ago.

'Do you remember this place girls?' my mother asked.

'I remember it like it was yesterday. I forgot about this place, but I think we should start coming back here more often Mom.' I said.

'I think that's a great idea, Robin. I loved spending time here, eating ice cream, and enjoying our family time together.' Brooke said.

My mother smiled and I knew she was thinking the same thing. We ate our ice cream and began to tell stories of our childhood.

'Hey Mom, do you think we call Dad and see if he wants to join us? He finished work about an hour ago and he's probably on his way home.' I asked.

'That's a great idea Robin,' my Mom said.
She dialed my father's number. Brooke and I sat eating our ice cream and talking about the news of the baby.

'Good news,' my mother said, 'you're father is about five minutes away.'

We sat waiting for my father's arrival.

He entered with a big smile on his face. He came over to us and sat down. It felt so good to be sitting with my family, enjoying their company. I asked my father if he wanted the rest of my sundae. He smiled, and I knew exactly what he was thinking.

We were getting ready to leave when Brooke stopped and began to stare around the room. 'I really hope this place is still open in a couple of years,' Brooke said, 'I know Serena Robin Siegler will love it, just like we do Robin.'

I didn't realize whom she was referring to at first, but then it hit me. Brooke was going to name her baby girl Serena Robin. She was naming her daughter after me! I jumped for joy and hugged Brooke. 'Oh thank you Brooke! That means so much to me.' I said.

She smiled and replied, 'I can only hope she turns out to be half as good a person as you are Robin. Thank you for always being there for me and caring. I love you and I know you will be a great Aunt.'

We both hugged and walked out towards our parents' cars. We were a family again and we were strong.





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