A Sharing of the Heart This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Beep! Beep! Beep! I rolled over to see the glowing red letters on my alarm clock. It’s 5:50 a.m, 40 minutes before what I had set it for. Forty precious minutes subtracted from my six hours of sleep. “Ugh,” I moaned, rolling off my bed into a crumpled heap on the floor. Sitting up, I directed my attention at the irritating beeps, and shouted, “Cara, turn your stupid alarm clock off now!”

Only the beeps replied. After two more attempts at screaming through the wall, I charged into my younger sister’s room, unplugged her alarm clock and threw it into our hallway. That sure woke her up. For several minutes, we shouted at each other, which resulted in both of us stomping off, unable to take it any longer.

As I brushed my teeth, I read the words painted inside a heart of flowers in a frame in my bathroom: “Sisters share a lot of things, but most of all they share their hearts.” As if! Moments later, I felt foolish and guilty, knowing those words really were true.

Later in the car, it was obvious we’d forgiven each other and discarded all those hateful feelings. Our attitude toward each other was indifferent and polite, which has been the norm lately and that bugs me. How could we have been so close and then grown so far apart? Years ago, we never fought. Years ago ...

On the day my sister was born, I was ecstatic. Even now, I doubt I’ve ever wanted anything more than a sister. It was unnatural not to adore her. Watching her learn to walk and talk, I made it my goal to be sure she knew everything. Once she was a few years old, it became obvious she wanted to be just like me, and I had to find things she couldn’t do, like gymnastics, so she couldn’t duplicate my every move.

As time passed, she developed her own personality, which made her more interesting. Over time, we became as close as sisters could get, spending long afternoons together and playing endlessly. We understood each other perfectly.

When I entered middle school, homework arrived. No more games. No more laughter. No more time together. It hit her hard, having her companion locked up every night, studying. During that time we both changed drastically, but I only noticed recently.

Somehow, Cara morphed into the kind of person I never wanted to associate with. She talks on the phone at least twice as much as I do, and most of the time it’s to gossip. To feel secure, she must shop at all the stores I shop at, although some of the shirts she buys say things she doesn’t even understand, and everything she tries on droops miserably on her twig-like body. She wages an unending war with my mother, gaining pleasure from every gray hair she causes, and crying if she doesn’t get her way. From my perspective, she’s become a bickering, demented ditz. I’ve lost all connection to her.

Occasionally, though, we still have our warm moments, and she reminds me of her former self - funny, thoughtful, bold and a little crazy, instead of moody, self-centered, argumentative and just a big pain to be around. I always cherish those few happy moments when I can still agree with the quote framed in my bathroom.

But mostly there are the frequent fights, or the times when we ignore each other. At those times, I can’t help but yearn to reach out to her, yet whenever I try, we end up arguing over something. Everything I work for gets destroyed. I wish I could end this, but we’re so different that it’s almost impossible to get through a day peacefully. This ongoing conflict bothers me so much, but I don’t know how to stop it. Restoring our former relationship seems hopeless.

Earlier tonight, we bickered over whether or not I was blowing hair into her sink with my blow-dryer, which is probably the most ridiculous of our constant arguments. Frustrated, I had turned back to those words in that frame, and once again secretly admitted they were true, even though I felt so angry. She caught me staring at them, and I think she knew what I was thinking: Why can’t we always live by these words? She reached over and hugged me, and then I knew that at that moment she missed me, too. And although we might not always show it, I know that that thought is something both of us share.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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