April 26, 2017
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The crackle of our walkie talkies could be heard through the empty hallways of our new house. My sister, Ally, and I got these new gadgets as a gift from our parents when we moved into this foreign place. We used them to play hide and seek, spy on our parents and talk late at night.
The sounds of my parents dying dinner party moved floated upstairs to our bedrooms. I heard the static connection forming on the walkie talkie laying on my bedside table.
“Kate, wanna have a sleepover?”
I placed my book down gently and marked my spot. I picked up my walkie talkie and prepared to answer.
“Sure, only if we sleep in my bed. Yours smells like horses.”
Within 15 seconds the wooden sliding doors to our Jack-and-Jill style bathroom were open and the subtle footsteps of my younger sister made their way into my room. She stood in the doorway, blanket and giant stuffed elephant in hand.
“Mom hasn’t come up to say goodnight,” she said disappointingly “I wanted to finish my book with her.”
“We could sneak downstairs and play in the art room?” I suggested. I knew my sister was tired but she agreed, my mom used chalkboard paint on one of the walls in the basement and we couldn’t wait to use it. She raced to her bedroom to grab her walkie talkie and we met in the stairwell. I went first, since I was older, and she soon followed. We ducked behind posts and couches as we made our way to the basement stairs. I was accompanied by the static fizz and loud whispers of my sister who was close behind me.
Summer of Seventh Grade
My brand new silver texting phone sat across my room charging, the blue light lit up the corner of my room. Today I said goodbye to my flip-phone with a bright red 911 button and hello to my very first teenager phone. I was ecstatic.
When we passed through the heavy glass doors of the Verizon store we practically had to drag Ally in. She was clearly jealous that I was getting a phone before her, one of the few oldest child perks. After my mom talked to the salesman she grabbed the most basic and simple phone on the display table and we took it up to the counter. It didn’t even matter to me, I was getting a phone I could text and take pictures with.
My mom was a lot stricter than I had anticipated with my phone. She took it after a few hours and forced me to move its charging station to her bedroom. I was filled with rage when she took it away and forced me to go downstairs and hang out with Ally. I mean, how many times can I possibly watch Freaky Friday with her before it gets old?
My resentment towards my mom continued but because I wanted my phone privileges I never lashed out at her. Instead, I channelled my frustration towards Ally. Ally all of a sudden wasn’t my best friend anymore, she was just my little sister.
The night before Ally started sixth grade I heard that familiar crackle of the walkie talkie hidden under my dresser, accompanied by the 2 knocks on the wall to signal she wanted to talk. I got up and grabbed it.
“Kate I’m nervous, what if I get lost, or my outfit is weird?” Ally said.
“Don’t worry about it Ally, everyone feels that way the night before. I’ll help you tomorrow.” I reassured her.
Spring of Sophomore Year
“I HATE YOU!!!” Ally screamed at me.
It had been 6 months since the last time we got along. We had moved again and this new house and our shared room were tearing us apart.
We had a shared closet, shared bathroom, shared TV, shared everything. My parents told us that this would be fun, that it would “prepare us for a college roommate”. Little did they know how different Ally and I actually were.
“MOOOOOMMMM!!!!!!! I NEED a lock on my part of the closet! Ally won’t stop stealing my things.” I yelled down the winding staircase.
“Maybe if you just let her wear some of your things she wouldn’t have to steal them.” She didn’t understand. My black cardigan would not return in the same condition that it had left in. She would ruin it somehow, I just knew it. My mom was always sticking up for her. To make matters worse, Ally was wearing it on a date with some freak in MY grade. I wish she’d listen to what I told her about him, guess she’ll learn the hard way.
11 o’clock that night I couldn’t sleep with the muffled sounds of my sister’s sobs in her pillow. Her date had gone as I had told her it would. This guy was not a good guy. I couldn’t tell whether she was crying about him or the fact that she knew I was right. Didn’t matter to me.
An hour later, her sobbing had subsided and both of us had our computers out and headphones in. We were a few feet away from each other in our own little worlds. After my episode of Gossip Girl had ended I shut my computer and took out my headphones. The only light in the room was coming from my sister’s laptop.
“Can you turn that off?” She didn’t hear me.
“ALLY! Turn that off please.” She still didn’t hear me.
I got up, walked to her bed, and shut her laptop. She looked up at me and even though it was dark, I could see how swollen her eyes were and the smeared mascara across her face. My heart broke and I sat down next to her.
“Tell me everything.”

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