Two sisters have a talk for the first time in a while.
|Terry gasped. The vivid colors she had expected, but actually experiencing them was still a shock to the system. A good one, she decided, as an unusually pleasant thrill of electricity tickled up her spine. She let her breath out again in a satisfied sigh. The sound image was even more impressive than the visual. She really felt like she was immersed in the scene; she could even almost ignore the throbbing pain in her lower back.
She faintly heard her mother's voice from the kitchen, muffled by the headphones but recognizable. Terry turned up the volume. No way was she going to let her mother interrupt her first trial run of LA Race. She had waited for months to get her hands on this one. None of her old games could compete with the fully-immersible 3D experience of her newest addition. It really made her feel like she was racing along the streets of Los Angeles on her motorcycle. Almost as good as the real thing. God, how she missed the real thing. She hadn't sat on a real bike since.... "Theresa!", her mom admonished. Terry started as her mother's hand pulled the 3D glasses from her head.
"Mom!", she exclaimed in a childish voice, taking off her headphones to confront her mother. "Stop it! You'll ruin them." Her lower lip formed a definite pout, as she looked up at her mother from under furrowed brows.
Terry's mother met her glare with a more restrained one of her own. "It's dinnertime, honey, and your sister would like to see you before she leaves for dancing practice. She misses you, you know. You hardly ever talk to her anymore. You two, who used to be so close—racing your bikes and having fun together—before the accident."
Her mother had found the most sure fire way of losing her attention: mentioning the accident, again. Terry was endlessly weary of hearing the word, and so she felt her focus gliding back towards her screen. She could feel her mother's eyes boring into her from the side, but she ignored it in favour of tinkering with the game settings. Her mother sighed heavily. "Please talk to her, Terry. It won't be long before she moves out. How will you two ever have a good relationship again if you just let her go now? She's having a tough time too, you know. She needs to know her big sister cares. You've been ignoring her. Do you even know what's going on in her life? "
Terry simply let out a half-hearted snort at her mother's words, although the small twinge of guilt in her stomach was undeniable.
The twinge grew stronger over the next couple of hours, to the point where it was really detracting from the joy of playing. Resigning to the inevitable conclusion, Terry made her way to the living room even before her sister's return. She had as usual skipped eating with her family, preferring to grab a bite on her own when no one's around. Now she sat with a severe wrinkle between her brows, trying to get comfortable on the couch. Her crutches were laying half-hidden by the armrest next to her; she hated looking at them.
Finally, she heard the front door open and shut, a bit forcefully. Her sister was kicking her shoes off in the hall, she could just make her out from her place on the couch. Anita then came striding in to the living room, all lean legs and athletic grace. Terry felt a pang of resentment for that, hate almost, but luckily Anita had her eyes downcast, and didn't catch the look on her big sister's face. By the time she looked up with a start, Terry had schooled her face to hide the unpleasant feeling. "Hi. How was dancing?"
The two girls sat for a while just small talking, sipping tea that Anita had brewed for them. Anita spoke with excitement in her voice about the new dance routine, and about the dorm she would be moving to in just a weeks time. Terry thought her eyes looked dull with sadness, though, and felt the pang of guilt again. "I'm sorry! ", she blurted out, interrupting her sister's detailing of which clothes she would be packing.
"I'm sorry, Anita. I'm sorry I've been so distant. Ever since... well.."
"What are you talking about?", Anita replied. "Terry you've been grumpy ever since you came back from the hospital. You just sit in your room and play video games. But I understand. I'm not mad at you, Terry. Who can blame you for being grumpy? Anyone would be in your situation. "
" I know, I just thought... ", Terry stuttered, wrong footed. A lump was forming in her throat, and she suddenly felt embarrassed for her outburst.
" Don't worry about it, ok? ", Anita gave a small laugh, and petted Terry on the knee.
The lump turned to a flash of hot anger instead, and Terry gave Anita a hard shove on the arm. "Oh, never mind!", she all but yelled, "I was just trying to be nice to you". Terry felt her face grow hot with her sudden outburst, but she continued in a sour voice, "I just felt sorry for you 'cause Mom said you've had a hard time too. I shouldn't have bothered."
To her surprise, heat rose in Anita's face as well, and her sister's features contorted into an angry grimace for a moment. "Sorry!? For me?! You're the one to feel sorry for, Terry, you're the one who's just sitting in her room with a broken back."
Terry was taken aback by her sister's anger, but didn't have any more words, so she just huffed angrily and reached for her crutches. Anita made no move to stop her from leaving, and didn't seem to have anything more to say either. The two girls parted frowning and breathing in huffs, but Terry thought she glimpsed a guilty quirk to her sister's brow before she left the room.
It was getting late, and usually Terry would have gone to bed already. She was still riled up from her argument with Anita, though, angry energy making it impossible to go to sleep yet. She opted to sit up and play her new game instead of lying awake in bed, and so she was wearing her headphones when the knock came at the bedroom door. After overhearing it the first time, the knock came louder, and Terry finally registered it. "Hello?", she called, pausing the game and taking off her gear.
"I knew you'd be awake", Anita said, as she was opening the door. She peered at Terry, sticking her head into the room, but still hanging on to the door knob. "Can we talk?"
"Sure you want a repeat?", Terry shot back, indecisiveness rolling through her stomach.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry about earlier. Just let me explain?"
Anita's tense smile and sad eyes eased the churning in Terry's stomach, and she let out a sigh. "Of course", she conceded to her little sister. "I'm sorry too, Anita".
Anita came into the room fully, and sat herself on the bed, while Terry swiveled her chair around to face her sister properly. The two girls smiled appeasingly at each other, before Anita started to explain.
"I haven't really kept you in the loop, Terry, because you were going through such a hard time. But I've talked a lot with Mom lately, things have been pretty tough. There's this boy you see.."
"Ah..", Terry said with newfound understanding, "Not that Evan guy you were sweet on?"
"Yes, if course Evan. And I'm still sweet on him, but he dumped me kind of harshly", Anita explained.
She went on to relay the details of her unfortunate relationship with Evan, while Terry listened on in silence. Sympathy and embarrassment both blossomed in Terry as the story went on. She was angry at Evan for dumping her sister, and at herself for not even knowing how serious the relationship had been. As Anita's story was trailing off, she averted her eyes from Terry, wringing her hands in her lap. Terry couldn’t stand to see her little sister like this, and silently decided to be a more attentive big sister from now on, even after Anita moved out. Figuring she better start mending their relationship while Anita was still there, she opted for action instead of commenting on Evan's behaviour.
"Hey, let's forget about all that for a bit, and do something fun. Come race with me!", she patted her hand on her gear. "You'll love it. I have extra equipment, we can set it up for two players!"
Anita's face brightened, and her posture straightened as she let out a surprised laugh. "Now!? Terry it's late.."
"Oh, never mind that", Terry countered. She could hear the excitement in her own voice, finding back to a happy feeling she hadn't felt for a long while. "Come on Annie-Bear, we haven't done anything fun together in ages. This game is great, just wait till you see the colors! It's supposed to be in LA, and you totally feel like you're there!"
"Okay, okay!", Anita laughed, the giggle in her voice reminding Terry of how they played when they were younger
The girls set up the game for two; Terry hooked up the extra gear, while Anita grabbed an extra chair. They immersed themselves in the game, and marveled together at their digital surroundings. Buzzing down a virtual highway together, the girls could be heard giggling excitedly together, long into the night.