A small figure burst through the door and leaped onto Nora’s bed. The miniature body landed on top of the unsuspecting woman with a significant force that knocked the wind out of Nora Lucile.
“What was that for?” Nora spluttered, wheezing for breath.
“Guess who woke up late today?” Samantha sang triumphantly. Nora winced at the recollection as to why she had woken up late in the first place. She had experienced yet another nightly terror and woke up around midnight. At the time, she figured she might as well stay up since she wasn’t going to get any sleep anyhow. I must have accidentally fallen asleep eventually, she mused. Checking the clock beside her bed on her nightstand, Nora realized it was already half past ten.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?” Nora sighed, choosing not to comment on the reason as to why she had woken up late, so as not to worry the eight year old child with her own problems.
“Did you already forget that you’re supposed to wake me up? Not the other way around?” Sam laughed gleefully.
“Uh-huh… well I guess it can’t be helped. Might as well skip school just this once,” Nora rolled her eyes before gently pushing her off. She then got up and called in sick to work before going about her usual morning routine.
“How about we go to the cafe today?” Nora offered sometime around noon as they sat in the living room watching tv.
“I’ll get my shoes,” Sam affirmed immediately, as she shot up to her feet and promptly disappeared within the blink of an eye.
“Well, that was fast,” Nora remarked flatly, staring at the empty seat where her sister previously sat mere seconds ago. Nora had never really been able to understand her sister’s obsession with food. She was aware that it was normal for children to have good appetites, after all they are still in the process of growing, and it might sound a bit hypocritical coming from her, considering her own large appetite but really Nora’s appetite could never compare with her sister’s. Sam, even as a mere toddler could eat a whole bowl of baby food and still cry for hours for more once she’d finished the entire meal by herself. At times Nora couldn’t help but wonder if her sister was just a natural born foodie.
Nora went ahead to start the car, opening the front door as she stepped outside. She took notice of a dark object moving near the woods in the corner of her eye, but paid no mind to it, writing it off as just another fox. As she turned the car on, she checked her phone and realized she had seven new messages. She opened her inbox and skimmed through them.
“Where are you???”— Robin Hood
“Are you not planning on showing up for work today? You didn’t make breakfast this morning… You fell asleep again didn’t you ?”— Diane
“Nora…”— Little Red
“Felix and I didn’t see you come in this morning, what happened?”— Elliot
“If you don’t answer right this second, you can forget about me sharing my new coffee grinds”—Robin Hood
“You still alive…?”— Little Red
Nora chuckled at that last message, wondering why all of her friends were so over dramatic before sending them each a quick response as she got out of the car to lock the front door that Sam shot through a few seconds ago. Once they arrived at the café, Nora just barely managed to stop her sister in time by gently tugging on the back of her jacket before she tried to ram through the entrance and ransack the place.
“Where do you think you’re going bookworm? Try not to go overboard this time will you?” Nora warned her.
“When have I ever gone overboard?” Sam replied innocently, slyly avoiding a straight answer and rushing inside the shop before Nora could utter another word. Nora exhaled in resignation as she pushed the door open and stepped inside the shop. She decided to wait at a table near the cash register for her sister, not bothering to get anything, not because she was obsessed with her figure but because breakfast had been enough for her. She also didn’t want to be there while her sister contemplated buying everything the café had to offer because of the mere fact that she had witnessed her sister’s food obsession for years, leaving her now slightly traumatized.
Nora let her mind wander about as she perused a riveting novel about the life of Hellen Keller, from an assortment of books the cafe had to offer for the public. Eventually she began to wonder what was taking her sibling so long. She began to question if giving her the money to pay had been such a bright idea after all. From time to time, Nora encouraged Sam to embrace her independent nature and would allow her to partake in things such as doing the occasional chore or placing the order when going to a fast food restaurant. The first few times Sam had requested to do the latter Nora was a bit dubious but ultimately relented, however she’d made sure to coach Sam thoroughly so that she wouldn’t end up getting ripped off in the near future.
Looking back, perhaps she should have placed some limitations on how much Sam could order; god knows how much her sister would end up buying if left to her own devices. Nora’s question was answered moments later as Sam came up to her, effortlessly balancing a tray with three plates, one with a slice of pie, one with a slice of chocolate cake, and another with a slice of cheesecake, all on one arm. With her other hand, she somehow still managed to carry an enormous looking cheese covered pretzel and glass of milkshake.
I didn’t even know that this place sold milkshakes, Nora mused in bewilderment as she reached out to help Sam to set the items on the table. An old lady stopped her though as she passed by the table in amusement.
“Well aren’t you a cutie?” The elderly woman crooned.
“I don’t think even I could balance all those things at once. The portions here are awfully big too, so what’s the occasion sweetheart?” the lady asked out of pure curiosity.
“What occasion?” Sam scrunched her face in confusion, making Nora want to facepalm in embarrassment. As smart as she was, Sam had the tendency to be rather single minded whenever food was involved.
“Well that’s a mighty lot of food for two young ladies to eat by yourselves alone, I imagine there must be some special occasion for you to order so much,” the lady rephrased her words before it finally dawned on Sam what she meant.
“Oh no, you’ve got it all wrong. There’s no occasion. Besides, this is all for me,” Sam explained casually, causing the poor old lady’s jaw to unhinge in disbelief.
“I don’t mean to be rude ma’am, but can we hurry this up? I’d really like to get back to my food,” Sam demanded becoming increasingly impatient. She was obviously irritated at the old woman’s nosiness by that point.
Nora sighed in dismay, sending an apologetic look towards the poor old woman. After Sam had literally devoured her food, they both walked across the parking lot heading towards the car.
“So where to next, kid?” Nora was mystified at how her sister always got in an extremely good mood after having eaten.
“To the ends of the earth,” Sam giggled, mirth dancing in her eyes. Nora merely shook her head in amusement.
“You do realize this is really sad even for you, right?”
“Oh come on Sammie! You know, you’re starting to sound a lot like Diana. You guys really need to learn to pull the stick out of your ah…” Nora shut up as soon as she noticed the murderous look in Sam’s eyes and laughed sheepishly, suddenly remembering she was speaking to her eight year old sibling and not Diana herself.
“I just don’t understand why you would want to go to a park of all things,” Sam grumbled sourly.
“Look, I’m teaching you a very important lesson okay?” Nora desperately tried to reason with her, in an attempt to justify her seemingly… questionable actions.
“Hah, never mind! Why do you have to be so uptight?” Nora huffed in exasperation at her sister’s stubbornness.
“So goddamn childish...” Sam muttered under her breath
“I know you are but what am I?” Nora shot back without hesitance, making note of having to work a little more on her sister’s colorful use of language. Sam on the other hand merely groaned in exasperation.
“Can you at least answer me this one question?” Sam asked wearily.
“Depends on the question,” Nora grinned as she launched another pebble from the park bench she sat cross legged on, at a rusted tin can she’d placed alongside an empty milk carton and an old plastic bottle on the fence opposite from where they sat.
“Why the pebbles?” her voice dripped with utter disdain at her elder sibling’s actions.
“Why not?” Nora shrugged, before pulling back on the slingshot and firing. A satisfying clang was heard and Nora let out a cry in victory at having successfully managed to knock down the can.
“Okay, I’m done! I’ll just go wait for you in the car,” Sam announced without preamble, not wanting to partake in another one of her sister’s childish antics. Bending down to collect Nora’s purse off the ground, she rummaged around inside the bag for a moment before stalking off with the keys.
Now, it might seem a little strange for Nora to drag her sister out just to play such a childish and albeit antiquated game, but like any other parent, Nora had her motives for doing so. In this case, Nora’s true intentions lay in the fact that she wanted to show her sibling that although school is also important, there was absolutely nothing wrong with letting go and having fun every once in a while too.
To be honest, there were times when Nora couldn’t help but feel as though the roles are actually reversed, with Nora being the child and Samantha the condescending adult. Nora sighed, picked herself off the ground, dusting off her pants in doing so.
Gathering her oversized soccer mom purse, Nora jogged to catch up to her sister. By the time she’d finally reached the child, Nora was entirely out of breath. Gasping for air like a fish out of water, she stumbled over her own feet.
God I’m so out of shape, she grumbled whilst muttering a few incoherent words under her breath. As they reached the car Nora, felt her phone vibrate in her coat pocket. Reaching into her pocket and pulling out her phone, Nora failed to recognize the caller id flashing on her phone screen. A subtle sense of foreboding raked through her body. For a moment, she considered ignoring the unknown caller, but ultimately decided against it and took the call.
“Hello?” she questioned hesitantly.
“Nora!” Diane’s panic ridden voice could be heard, causing Nora to tense up.
“What’s wrong?” Nora responded without a moment’s hesitation.
“It’s Robyn, she’s… We’re at the Adventist Health, there was an accident and she’s in the ER right now. Nora I… I’m-” At the sound of Diane’s voice cracking, Nora felt her blood run cold, her mind having instantly gone blank.
“I’m on my way.”