The Idiot

January 13, 2009
By Goergen Alyssa, Solon, OH

“Alyssa Kyli, what have you done? Go sit on the staircase!” my mother commanded. It was so final and so angry that it resonated off the walls; her accusation smothered me from all sides. After a fight with my twin sister, the staircase or the bedroom was always the punishment, since the two of us shared a room. Now, my crying accompanied Carli’s and the two despairing tones intertwined to fill our house with the melody of a separation much larger than the distance from the bedroom to the staircase.

The bickering began simply and immaturely, as it always does with children. When I learned to read and she called me a nerd, a fight ensued. Other times, battles would emerge from mistakes she made, like when she confused left from right and I laughed at her.
This fateful day, as she chased me for whatever reason, I was caught and we smacked and kicked and screamed, but then she ran away with the last hit. Oh, I how I hate it when that happens! She scurried into the guest room, and I pursued her until she was cornered. Carli hit me again and I knew how I could win the fight.


There was no retaliation. She sat there dumbly, almost comically, with her hands still half raised as a shield and a look of defeat on her face that I didn’t recognize translated into agreement. The sudden, surprisingly thick silence that followed the insult rang in my ears and filled the room, triggering my stomach to twist sharply into a sick, “uh-oh” feeling. I looked around, but nothing seemed to be moving. In this unique, unnatural pause, if everything in the world had eyes, I was sure they’d be glaring at me. The weight of this foreign and immeasurable guilt lingering in the air confused me and pushed me so I stumbled backward and tripped. As bewildered as I was, there was one thing I was sure would happen next. I curled up in a ball and attempted to protect myself from the horror that was waiting to erupt, watching from between my fingers as that innocent face sunk into a crestfallen, hopeless expression. Her lower lip trembled lightly, and then fully detached from the upper to release the most tragic sound of all. She sat there helplessly with tears streaming from her eyes over her reddened face—perhaps due to embarrassment?—and I could do nothing but watch her suffer the raw devastation I had inflicted. The caustic taste released by my twin’s anguish caused me to recoil further and snap my mouth shut in a feeble attempt to banish it.

With one word, I buried our carefree fights and easy-going relationship. Although my intention was small, I slowly realized that she took my slander as much more than a simple strategy to win the feud. My stomach sank further and further as I realized the pattern between every time we had quarreled: there was always dejection carved deeply into her easily influenced features. With that one small word, I carelessly clawed a hole in her self-image and our relationship. No, this couldn’t be the end. I tried to muster up a clumsy apology, or just say anything at all, anything to stop her from crying.

“Carli, I—”

“Alyssa Kyli, what have you done?” implored my mother, but she bore an expression of complete understanding of the situation, transforming my guilt into shame.

I had idiotically missed my chance. Regret filled me entirely and poured out of my eyes; it was my turn to cry.

The author's comments:
This article started as a simple narrative assignment, but blossomed into a truth-revealing analysis of my relationship with my sister. My parents say that we used to be very close, but I don't recall that ever happening. We could be the most distant twins at our school. I once thought we were just different, but once I dug through my memories for a short story, I realized the truth. My simple childhood cruelty corrupted our relationship. I still wonder now, does she think I think she's stupid? What would happen if she ever sees this? By posting this, I'm giving her an opportunity to see what I see. Perhaps she already knows. We'll find out.

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