“Bye, guys!” Mom called as she shut the door behind her. I looked at my sister.
“Can I watch TV?” That was one of the two questions that I asked Nava every time we were home alone.
“No,” she said.
“Can I have some ice cream?”
She looked at me with her I-can’t-believe-what-I-have-to-live-with face and said, “What do you think?”
“Humph!” I got up. Usually the answer to both the questions was no, so that didn’t surprise me. But every time, it was the same disappointment.
I walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, stared into it for a second, and shut it. That was the routine. I walked back into the living room and sat down next to my sister with a thud.
“There’s nothing to do!” I whined.
“You know what, Bella?” Nava asked me.
“What?” I asked.
“Figure something out and leave me alone!!” She walked into her room and slammed the door.
“Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning,” I said to no one in particular. I sat on the couch for a while, not doing anything. “Ow!” I whispered as our cat Brownie jumped onto my lap, claws first. She rubbed her head against me and purred. We named her Brownie because every inch of her body was the luscious color of the fudgy inside of a brownie. Looking at her, I thought about how much I loved her and how much I loved brownies when a thought went off in my head: I would make brownies.
As I got out a pot and the ingredients, I decided that I would make a double batch, which wasn’t that much harder. I was melting the butter and chocolate on the stove, when Nava came out of her bedroom.
“Whatcha doin’?” she asked, not looking up from the magazine she was reading.
She looked up. “What? Bella, you didn’t ask! You know you’re not supposed to use the stove!”
“Well, you didn’t say no.”
“You didn’t give me the chance!!”
“Well, if you hadn’t told me I couldn’t watch TV, I wouldn’t have had to do anything else!”
“Oh, so now it’s my fault?”
“Yeah, I had nothing to do and you didn’t care, so I had to figure it out on my own and I chose this.”
“Well, excuse me, I was doing the best that I could. Would you like to try having the world’s most annoying person in the world as your sister?”
“Well, you don’t even know my best friend’s name!”
“Oh, I so do!” she yelled back.
“Really? Then what’s her name?”
“Ah, uh, Lila, she has been your best friend since kindergarten.”
“Wrong, guess again,” I said.
“Hmm, Mattie, she has always been one of your closest friends!”
“See, you don’t even realize that the two people you just said are my two least favorite people at school! You don’t pay any attention to me. It’s all just you and your stupid friends. You have not hugged me since May 2010… It’s been like, what? Three years?!”
“I hug you all the time. How about that time that you fell and had to get stitches on your knee, I hugged you then!”
“No you didn’t, you stayed in the emergency room with me for two minutes, faking sympathy, and then you called your friends to come pick you up, and you left!”
“You’re making that up.”
“I am not!” I slammed my hand down on the counter, or I meant to slam it down on the counter, but instead I slammed it down on the only part of the burner that was not covered by the pot.
I screamed and screamed so loud that probably everyone in the neighborhood could hear me. My sister freaked. She grabbed me and pulled me toward the sink and poured cold water over my hand. It didn’t help, it was bubbling and turning dark red.
“Stay here,” Nava told me. She flew across the room, grabbing ice, turning off the stove, and pulling the plastic wrap out of a drawer. In seconds, before I knew it, she was back by the sink, dumping out all of the ice in the ice tray onto the counter. She grabbed my hand with one of hers and with the other she grabbed as much ice from the counter as she could. Putting all the ice in her hand onto mine, she quickly cut a piece of plastic wrap and wrapped it around my hand, holding the ice in place. This soothed the pain enough for me to stop screaming.
Nava grabbed her keys and rushed me out the door. She jumped into the front seat as I slid in the back. Closing the door and quickly buckling up, she took off. She was only sixteen and wasn’t supposed to be driving other people yet, but she could pass for eighteen and this was an emergency.
She drove me to the nearest children’s hospital, which was only a few blocks away. She slid into the nearest parking space and jumped out, followed by me, and we ran into the emergency room.
A few hours later we came out with Mom and Dad. My hand was newly bandaged with some kind of hospital bandage that felt so good that multiple times I forgot it was even there. I thought of all the questions I was going to get at school and what I was going to say to them. I wasn’t sure if I would tell people that I had gotten into a fight with Nava or I would just say that I had put my hand on a burner. The doctor had said that Nava had done the right thing, making the ice bandage and taking me to the hospital so quickly. Mom and Dad were so proud of how we handled the situation that they were going to ease off on the punishments a little, but there was still going to be the whole no birthday parties or TV or late bedtimes and all that jazz.
Later that night, when I was going to bed, Nava came into my room.
“May I tuck you in?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said and smiled.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“Me too.” She lay down next to me and we fell asleep just like that, and I dreamed of the ups and downs of sisterhood.