I can’t stand it when my sister touches me. Her skin has bumps on it, and she makes weird noises when she breathes. She’s a little fat. She always wants to do what I’m doing, and she never shuts up when I tell her to.
We’re watching Johnny Carson because that’s what we watch whenever we spend the night at Grandma’s house. Grandma is in the kitchen cleaning up messes, and we are all trying to fit on the sofa bed and couches in the living room. There’s no room to walk on the floor because it’s filled with furniture and kids. The sofa bed goes all the way to the t.v., so you can get really close to Johnny Carson if you want to.
My cousin, Stacy, and I are best friends, and since our other cousin, Andrea, is retarded, we’re the oldest. We rule the sofa bed, and all the other cousins have to share the couch and the recliner. It’s just how things go, but Arica was whining, so Grandma let her get in the sofa bed with us.
Now she’s touching me. And she’s breathing. I push her and tell her to shut up with the breathing, and she whines again and moves over. Then her fat arm with the bumps gets on my arm and creeps me out.
I push her again. She doesn’t move. Just more whining.
Johnny Carson isn’t very funny tonight, and the bar inside of the sofa bed is cold and hard, and I don’t like the way I have to lie right on top of it so I can avoid touching my sister.
She shouldn’t even be in this bed; she should be on the couch where the little kids belong.
Now her fat leg is touching me on my leg. It’s warm and a little hairy, and it feels like when you pet a wooly caterpillar. I don’t like it.
I pull my leg back and tell her to move again. When I put my leg back down, her leg is still in my space.
I kick her a little bit.
Her whine makes me want to kick her again. So I do.
Then she starts to cry.
Her crying makes me want to kick her more.
So I do.
I hear fast footsteps coming down the hall from the kitchen, and then my Grandma comes right up to the sofa bed and points at my face.
“You little bitch!”
Her words scare me, and I stop kicking.
“How can you be so mean to your sister?”
I’m not really sure, so I don’t answer.
“There is plenty of room on that bed for all of youse! Now stop that! And go to sleep!”
The room gets real quiet.
Even Johnny Carson gets quiet. Like he’s talking from the bottom of a hole.
Nobody moves. The not-moving makes everything seem like it’s frozen. Then there’s just jaggedy breathing and sniffing from my sister because she’s trying to stop crying and get normal again.
In all of the quiet, my face starts squeezing, and my eyes get blurry. My mouth opens, and then a weird sound comes out of me and I’m crying. Big crying. And I can’t make it stop.
Then I hear slow footsteps in the hall, and my grandma sits next to me on the sofa bed.
She puts her hand on my face and pushes my hair away from my hot, wet eyes. The feel of her hand makes the big crying get smaller.
“I’m sorry I called you a bitch, but…you were being a little bitch. You can’t be like that to your sister. That’s your sister, and she loves you. She just wants to be up here with you and Stacy like a big kid.”
“Okay, Grandma,” I say, but my voice sounds funny.
“Now, you go to sleep.”
She walks back down the hall to the kitchen with normal footsteps, and I lie there.
The room is still quiet, but it isn’t as frozen.
My sister is still making the weird noises with her breathing.
She moves her leg, and it touches my leg.
It makes my muscles twitchy, and I pull my leg away.
Maybe I am a little bitch.
I was a child in the 80s. Need I say more about my inappropriate use of words and body shaming of my beautiful sister? My Grandma is my hero, so it was worth telling this story even though I’m still embarrassed by what a little bitch I was.