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Sister Sister (a short story)

Bella looked at her phone’s caller ID. It was Lindy, her sister. She sighed, whispered a quick prayer of tolerance, and answered the call.

“Bella! I’ve got good news!” shrieked Lindy.

Bella looked at her watch and sighed. Of all days, this was not the day. She simply had very little patience for her sister today. On her way to work she’d hit a pothole and got a flat tire. The flat tire incident made her late to work. And of all days, she needed to be on time today in order to steady her nerves for the big presentation she had to give to the stakeholders of the highly visible project she’d been managing over the past eighteen months. While the presentation had gone well, nothing about the remainder of the day had. All she wanted to do was to go home, crawl into bed and allow some insignificant dribble on television numb her mind. She was not in the mood to hear about Lindy’s boyfriend drama or her struggling art career. Maybe she was calling to tell her she’d found a real job and was giving up on the art career.

“Don’t you want to know what it is?” she asked when her big sister didn’t respond.

Ever since their parents died in a car accident when Lindy was nineteen Bella had taken on the responsibility of looking after her younger sister. That was ten years ago and as hard as she tried not to, Bella continued to try and fill the void left by their parents. Lindy didn’t always make it easy.

“I’m sorry, Lin, what’s your big news?”

“Do you think you could sound a little more enthused?”

“The news, Lindy. It’s been a crazy day and I’ve got an appointment with my bed, a sandwich, and a few hours of trash TV.”

“Bel, it’s only 6:30 in the evening. You’re too young, beautiful, and fun to be sitting around the house in your PJs as the world passes you by,” Lindy remarked.

“The news, Lindy? What’s your big news?”

Unable to contain herself any longer, she blurted out, “I got it, Bella! I won!”

“Won what?”

“The Digby-Pearce Award, Bella! I won the award and get this – it comes with an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii!”

“The award,” Bella remarked, feeling a sense of pride for her sister but at the same time ashamed that she had forgotten all about it.

“But that’s not all,” Lindy continued, sounding more like a child than an accomplished, award winning artist. “I get to take someone with me. And that someone is you!”

“What? Me? Not Felton?”

Lindy sighed. “Of course you. You’re my sister and my number one supporter. This experience is something I want to share with my sister, not some on again off again boyfriend. Besides, ever since Mom and Dad died, you’ve sacrificed for me and encouraged me like no one else. If I could take you on a thousand trips, I would. Let’s at least start with this one.”

Bella couldn’t believe her ears. Not only had her little sister just snagged one of the most prestigious awards in her field, one that she knew came with a sizeable cash prize, but she thought enough of her to share the experience. Bella had been so busy with her own career over the past few years that she hadn’t noticed her sister maturing and slowly coming into her own. Bella also felt a little ashamed because she had never seen many financial gains from her sister’s art career and had always secretly hoped she would give up on her dream and find a real job.

“I don’t know what to say, Lin.”

“Say yes and pack your bags. Look, I’ve got to get ready and go, but I want you to know something before I hang up. I know I haven’t been the easiest person to be related to.”

They both laughed.

“But, Bella, I want you to know that you’ve been the best big sister anyone could ask for. I love you and I know Mom and Dad would be proud of you. You don’t have to worry about me anymore.”

Bella was almost in tears.

“One more thing, Belly.”

Lindy hadn’t called her that in years and it made her laugh.

“What’s that, silly girl?”

“Happy Siblings Day!”

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