Linda hated my guts. And I knew this because she told it to me herself. However, It was out of the threshold of my capacity to deal with her abhorrence for me. Every time we crossed paths, she would either pretend to not have seen me or she would give me one of her signature looks of disgust she was eminent for. But it was clearly written on her face- she was jealous. Because I had something she didn’t. Not one actually, but lots of things she didn’t possess and I did. One of them was pulchritude. We shared the same brunette hair but mine was longer and silkier. Hers always looked like she had forgotten to run a comb through it- untamed and crimped. Our features were almost similar. And we both had the same complexion except for conglomerated freckles sprinkled on the bridge of her nose that spread upto her cheeks. I was the flawless one. This hatred that she exhibited towards me was first created when I was six and she was eight.
On Linda’s eighth birthday, mom and dad had gifted her a perfect dollhouse. It was actually a huge house divided into different compartments and each compartment had different accessories complimenting the particular room. It had a kitchen, bathroom, playroom, terrace, garage, and a car too. I had always wanted something like that. But me being the bookworm, was always gifted books on my birthday and it was like a tradition. Moreover, people thought I was a bit boyish and I wished to maintain that reputation. It saved me from all the “ girls are so dramatic ” stuff. So, one day, Linda had gone out with mom to the nearest market and I sneaked up to her room. I liked going through her stuff. That was the only thing that kept me updated about the likes and dislikes and what was going on in my sister’s life. She was not one to share things and secrets. While going through her drawer where she stored all her toys, my eyes landed on the dollhouse. I played with it for hours. Then came my best friend, Chloe. She very politely asked me if she could play with the dollhouse too and I agreed. I regret that decision till date.
“ Rosalie!!! WHERE IS MY PINK SWEATSHIRT?!” Linda exclaimed.
“ How would I know?! ” I replied.
“ Oh really? You go through my stuff all the time, so you must’ve taken it or something. You had your eyes on it since the day I bought it and don’t you dare try to deny it. ”
“ Stop accusing me of theft every time something of yours goes missing. I didn’t take your sweatshirt. Ask mom if she’s seen it. ”
“ Right... like I don’t have a reason to doubt you. ”
She left the room muttering to herself. I honestly didn’t know where her sweatshirt was but the way she so confidently challenged me was a bit intimidating. She didn’t talk to me for the next couple of days which was nothing new. We could go for days without interacting with each other and when it was very necessary we made sure that mom or dad couldn’t escape being our personal communicator.
A week after that incident, Linda got suspension from school. I was filled with aghast and mom and dad were dismayed. She had a great repute at school and her teachers loved her. Her acuity was very much approbated and people knew when to back off. According to the principle, she was caught cutting not one, but a lot of classes in a row, playing the role of the warmongering teenager, failing tests, bullying juniors and lots of other allegations that were unbelievable.
But there wasn’t anything we could do. Linda gave us all the 'devil may care' attitude and it really pissed off mom and dad. The day she got suspended, my mom went to pick her up. They both came back and I could sense the tension between them. Mom had a grim expression on her face and Linda just looked like she was bored.
“Linda, are you okay?” I cautiously asked her.
“Oh puh-lease!! Don’t pretend to care.... I can tell you’re secretly enjoying this. But you know what, I don’t care.”
“What on earth is wrong with you?! What have I ever done to you to deserve this?”
“You have done nothing little sister!! I am the one who’s done everything...it’s my fault my life is a mess...isn’t it?” She asked sarcastically.
My eyes brimmed with tears. There was a time when I looked upto her as my role model, when I knew whatever happened, she would never leave my side. But situations change. And people too. I ran to my room and buried my face into my fluffy pillow. I couldn’t stop the tears that were now flowing endlessly.
I poured my heart out and cried until my mom came upstairs to ask if I was okay. She knocked once and I didn't answer. I didn't feel like talking to anybody at that point and wanted some space. But of course, this is my mom we're talking about. She kept on knocking at my door until I got off the bed, swiped away my tears and pulled open the door.
She took in my face and immediately got that something was wrong. Concern was etched across her face and I felt guilty to have ignored her for so long. I was confused whether to invite her in or not. Cause, at one hand, I just wanted to go back and sleep. I felt wearied and on the other hand, I felt some weird kind of endearment towards my mom.
"Uhh...do you want to come in, mom?"
"If it's okay with you?" She said it like a question.
"Yeah, sure. Come on in."
I waved her in and sat on my bed, patting the empty space next to me, gesticulating her to come and sit there.
“Rose.... i need to tell you something....”
“Yeah? What’s up?”
“Well...Linda...I know she can be a bit difficult to deal with, sometimes.”
“Sometimes? Mom... are you sure we’re both your daughters? Are you sure one of us is not adopted? It’s very difficult to believe we’re sisters.”
“Shush, baby. Where is all this stupid stuff coming from in your head?”
“Mom...why does she hate me?”
“She does not hate you dear. She’s just tangled up in her own problems. Once she gets through them, everything will go back to how it was before...you’ll see.”
“I don’t know what it was like before, mom. All I know is that my sister hates me for some reason. Anyway, you were saying something....”
“Oh, yes, that. Umm...so, me and your dad have decided something.... I don’t know if you’ll like this but it’s for your benefit. We just want you to be happy, and honestly, this whole stuff going on with Linda isn’t really helping. So, how about you and Linda sign up for that camp for your vacations...you both will get some time to relax and bond with each other and hopefully, you’ll start treating each other as sisters again.”
“Mom!! That’s a terrible idea. You know Linda would never agree to go on that camp.”
“Yeah so we were thinking...that maybe...you could convince her...you know?”
I sighed and gave her my best 'unconvinced' look. If mom thought that Linda would listen to me (highly unlikely) and would agree to come with me, she really didn’t fathom her daughter at all.
“Alright...suppose she’s ready to go on a vacation...but she’d never agree to go on that camp, mom. She hates it.”
“Okay...how about you guys go on a vacation but not on that camp?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, you guys can still go on a road trip or something like that right? Just go somewhere for a few days, know what I mean?”
“Yeah...so we don’t really have to go on a camp...just anywhere. Yeah, I get it. I’ll try convincing Linda....see if she agrees or not.”
She patted my knee affectionately and said,“Yeah! That’s my girl!”
She gave me a rueful smile and stood up.
“Alright. Let’s see if I can fix you guys something for dinner.”
And with a final glance, she walked out of my room. That night I thought about the vacation and how I was going to convince my sister who could barely stand me. And then I formed the perfect plan that actually made me believe I wasn’t completely useless at all.
My alarm rang at exactly 7’o clock. I woke up groggily and got ready. Today, I was going to implement my plan and I was very nervous. My antagonistic thoughts weren’t really helping so I put on some make up, straightened my hair and went down to cook myself some breakfast.
While flipping pancakes, I called Olivia...Linda’s best friend. She was her only friend who knew that I existed and I loved her. She had every attribute I wanted my sister to possess. That is probably why I always approached her when I was feeling low or when I needed someone to simply accompany me to a party or stuff. And I’m blithe about the fact that she always chastised Linda when she ignored me or made a rude remark. She was the only one who had guts enough to aggrieve her.
“Hey rose!! What’s up?” She chirped.
“Hey Ollie! So, listen. I need your help. Desperately.”
“Ok-kay...someone looks like she’s in trouble! What do you need my help with?”
“Would you like to go on a trip?”
“Wow! Who’s going on a trip. Wait... I thought you needed some sort of help? What’s with the trip?”
I sighed and braced myself for what was coming.
“Do you think you can fool Linda?”
“Umm...isn’t that something I’ve been doing since the day I met her?”
I let out a short laugh.
“Yeah, so. This time you need to do it on a bigger scale.”
“I don’t get it.”
I told her everything and to my utmost bewilderment, she agreed almost instantly. In fact, she sounded so determined, as if she was heading to fight a war. I shook my head and smiled to myself. Typical Olivia.
“How about we involve Abigail and Madison too?” She asked.
“Sure...why not. I just hope it works.”
“Hike up your spirits, Darlin’. We’re going to have an adventure of a lifetime!”
“Good to see you’re so motivated. Would you mind contacting Abbi and Maddie and let them know about our plan?”
“Sure thing, Rose. See ya.”
I hung up the phone. I couldn’t hold back the little squeal that escaped from my mouth and started doing my happy dance. Out of nowhere, a familiar voice startled me,“ What the hell do you think you are you doing, LITTLE SISTER?!”
To be continued...
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