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Little Sister arrived late last night, they tell me this. As if she came in a taxi, and the hospital was just a convenient place to meet up with my parents. I think maybe they bought her from Babies R Us, and even though Big Brother says you can't buy a baby I think you can. They probably just keep the babies in the back room, so nobody tries to steal them. Big Brother tells me he knows how she got here, but he won't say how unless I give him a dollar. I don't even have a penny.
Would you like to go see her? Scary Neighbor asks. I shrug, because we're already walking towards the car, blatant evidence that I don't have a choice in the matter.
The Hospital is not scary, it is just strange. Loud, unfamiliar noises grate against my ears, and an odd smell fills my nostrils. French fries and soap. A ride in an elevator, a confused walk through halls that all look the same, and a turn into a door.
Sit in the chair, Dad tells me and Big Brother. We squash together in a plastic chair, and a thing wrapped in a bundle of blankets is set in our laps. Big Brother moves the blankets away from the thing's face, and I immediately come to the conclusion that my parents have made a mistake.
It's all wrinkly, I say. What's wrong with it? Big Brother asks. Mom and Dad and people we must be related to laugh. They think it is funny that they got an ugly baby. I push the baby's feet towards Big Brother and slide down from the chair. I stand on the other side of the room, waiting to go home.
When it first comes home, everybody calls it The Baby. The Baby won't sleep. The Baby won't eat. The Baby won't let you look at her without screaming. The Baby doesn't like the light, or the music, or anything remotely fun.
The Baby is driving me crazy! I scream at the walls. You were born crazy, Big Brother tells me, but he's got his fingers in his ears.
The Baby gets bigger. The Baby becomes Little Sister. I think it's because she finally grew some hair. She is just as loud, and she is learning to walk, which is unfortunate for the rest of us. Little Sister scribbles on my homework. Little Sister steals my clothes out of the laundry basket and yet rips her own off. Little Sister hides the mousepad from the computer, Little Sister spits on Big Brother's food. Little Sister cries over dumb things, and Mom and Dad let her. Big Brother and I spend a lot of time outside, where we can be noisy too. Because when we want to be loud, Little Sister is almost always sleeping.
Little Sister grows again. She is going to go to school. Little Sister pinches my fingers when she holds my hand, and she always smells like macaroni and cheese. Little Sister doesn't like to wrestle, which is shame, because Big Brother doesn't play with me anymore. Little Sister is fat, but Big Brother says I have no room to talk, because I am fat too. I do not care what Big Brother says though, because he gets bad grades and makes Mom angry. Little Sister is still a crybaby that can't do anything for herself. Mom says in a few months I will get my own room, and then I will like Little Sister more.
I think my mother lied. Scratch that. I know she lied. Little Sister has a foul mouth. Little Sister emits a foul scent. Little Sister's room is a permanent pigsty, no matter how much my mother tells her to clean it up. Little Sister threw away the television remote. Little Sister leaves a trail of personal possessions wherever she goes. Little Sister slams her door, Little Sister does no chores. I have to do them all, because Big Brother moved out to live with our father. Little Sister gets sick often, and watches stupid shows. I do not like to be around her because she is still fat. And while Big Brother says I am still "built like a heavyweight" I have grown tall and started lifting weights. I use my new found strength to push Little Sister out of my way when we meet in the hallway.
Little Sister is still fat. But I have stopped growing. And she has not. I can still see over the top of her head, but Little Sister no longer makes a decent armrest. Little Sister causes problems in the house. She makes our mother angry, like Big Brother did so long ago. Big Brother moved back home, because he has "mellowed". He is a "grown up" now. He dislikes work, he likes sleep, and he drinks coffee. Little Sister still has a pigsty room and a face to match, while my room is clean as is my face. I am tall and slim and muscular while she is short, stout, and flabby. I am light and she is dark. We are not as alike as relatives want to believe. Since I am getting older and will soon be out of the competition, I figure I have won.
However, earlier we met in the back hall. I saw my destination over her hair, and I had grown much too civilized to punch her out of the way. To avoid a disaster, I swerved to one side, hoping to be able to cut around her with my thin new body, but it did not work. Little Sister was wide enough to take up the whole hall. I stopped for a moment, a slim finger and thumb to my chin so I could think. I took a couple steps back, and let her pass.
I suppose Little Sister is not so little anymore.