My Little Sister Cait

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
My Little Sister Cait takes a look at the side to the story you don't see. It reminds us that ignorance isn't always bliss, and that we should all wake up to the realities of mental illness.

Submitted: April 30, 2016

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Submitted: April 30, 2016

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“Bitch.” I mutter haughtily, my sister Caitlyn wandering into the room wearing my favourite top. She halts and freezes at the sight of my cold stare. “Nice top.” I hiss vindictively. A guilty smile flashes across her face before her expression turns to one of panic.

“Oh my god is this yours?” She stumbles, grasping the hem of the shirt and staring at it dubiously, “Mum put it in my room, sorry- I’ll just put it back, yeah?” Her hopeful face drops into a scowl as I raise an eyebrow and cross my arms.

“How many times have I told you not to take my clothes, Caitlyn?” Her mouth opens momentarily before she realises she’s already lost this argument. I point my finger out the door, gesturing for her to change. With a huff she stamps out the room,

“Fine! I didn’t even like it ANYWAY!” The door slams behind her and I scoff at her comment, yeah right. If my little sister could, she would take my entire wardrobe. It may even be quite sweet if she wasn’t so damn annoying. I swear she’d become me given the opportunity. Although, at 15 I probably would have been doing the same things if I had had an older sister to constantly bother. To be fair to her, she isn’t so bad, she’s rather sweet, a little oversensitive but very kind, and she can take a joke- most of the time. She’s pretty too. She has the most beautiful green eyes, and long auburn hair. Her soft, round cheeks make her look so cute-you know- before she opens her mouth and speaks. I’m the opposite. My eyes are almost as black as my pixie crop, and I have the figure of a ten year old boy. I mean, I’m skinny I guess, but I don’t have boobs or a bum like Cait. She looks more like a woman than I do, despite our 4 year age gap!

 

It’s Saturday morning and I’m heading into town, Cait decides she’d like to tag along, apparently she wants to go shopping. To be honest, I could do with the company, running errands is pretty boring without someone to talk to. Cait seems pretty quiet as we’re perusing through the rails at Topshop. She’s fumbling with the hangers and rifling through them, eyes darting through the sizes with a frown. I laugh at her expression and she looks at me suddenly,

“Are you alright, Cait?” I sneer, raising a sarcastic eyebrow like I do so often at her. She nods enthusiastically but her frown says otherwise. “Hey, what’s up?” I stop being the bitchy big sister and become a little concerned, unused to seeing her upset.

“They don’t have my size.” She glances at the floor with a shameful dullness in her ever-sparkling eyes.

“Sure they do, what are you? Like an 8?” I start sorting through the garments, scanning the racks, Cait shakes her head and swallows, as if choking back a tear.

“I wish… try a 12.” She looks at her shoes as I pick out a dress from the rail.

“I think a 10 might fit you, here, try this one on.” I put my hand on her shoulder and steer her towards the changing rooms.

I wait outside the crowded room sifting through texts; she comes back out, handing the dress to the sales assistant and looking down.

“Didn’t like it?” I ask nonchalantly, not looking up from my phone.

“Didn’t fit.” She mumbles, already leaving the shop, her hands stuffed into her coat pockets. I mouth an ‘oh’ and follow her, feeling a little more than guilty.

Cait’s decided she wants to get fitter, she’s started running every morning and she’s taken up netball again. It’s nice to see her getting happier, I think she feels a little more in control about her body. Not that anything was wrong with her in the first place! But I get what it’s like being teenage girl, there’s a lot to live up to, and it can get a little overwhelming. Apparently she’s going to ‘eat clean’ for a while, in the hopes that she can lose a bit of weight. I say good luck to her, you won’t see me giving up chocolate or pizza though.

Quite honestly I’m a little astounded. It’s been a couple of weeks since Cait’s been watching her figure, and I can’t believe how great she looks! I swear she must have dropped a dress size already?! I didn’t know a little exercise could do so much! If I thought she looked stunning before, I can’t imagine how good she must be feeling right now.

“You’re looking amazing Cait, your waist is tiny!” I beam at her as she wanders out the bathroom in her pyjamas, her hair scrunched back into a bun on top of her head. She jumps in surprise and smiles dryly,

“Still a bit more to go…” I watch her disappear into her bedroom and jump in the shower.

 

I’m making dinner as Cait comes in for a glass of water after her second run of the day,

“I’m making some pasta, do you want some?” I continue chopping veg for the sauce as she shakes her head and gets another glass of water.

“No thanks, I ate before I went.” I shrug, more for me I guess then. She turns and leaves, heading back into her bedroom.

 

It’s been five weeks since we last went shopping and I need some retail therapy after a stressful week at Uni. I invite Cait, after all, a few of her clothes are a little baggy after all the hard work she has been putting it. We end up in River Island, she’s looking through the jeans and picks out a pair to try on. As I stand outside on my phone, I wonder what size she picked up, I didn’t notice. Before I get the chance to think on it any longer, she returns empty handed once again,

“Didn’t like them?” I ask, she pauses and shakes her head,

“Didn’t fit.” Her tone is not as melancholic as it was a few weeks previously when we faced the same predicament. I smile sympathetically,

“Oh well, the sizing in here is small anyway, shall we try somewhere else?” I put my phone back in my bag and begin walking out when she responds,

“I think I should try the size below.” I turn and smile, a little shocked at her results.

“Wow! Well done Cait! I bet you feel great!” She shrugs and steps over the rails of jeans, I take care to see which size she picks up this time. To my disbelief, and slight awe, her fingers lock around the hanger of a size 6. I stay silent as she tries them on, I don’t know what to say quite honestly. I’m not upset or jealous, I’m just a little concerned. That’s 3 dress sizes in just over a month. That’s a lot.

She walks out the dressing rooms with a small smile on her face and makes a stop at the tills, purchasing the tiny jeans. I notice for the first time how truly slender she has become. Her arms look so fragile and her chubby cheeks have thinned to the point where her cheekbones look sharp against her skin. I hope that’s contouring, I think to myself anxiously. She looks tired too. Maybe all of this exercise is taking its toll…

“Happy?” I ask as we wander out the shop, she smiles vaguely and nods. “Shall we grab some lunch? I’m starving.” I moan. She pulls a face,

“I’m actually not that hungry, but I’ll get a coffee or something.”

 

It’s probably been about 3 months. I noticed something that scared me today. Cait doesn’t have boobs anymore, her bum’s all but gone too. Her eyes look hollow, and no matter how many baggy jumpers she wears, her collarbones still look like they’re about to pierce her pasty skin. She’s an awful shade of blue-grey. Her hair doesn’t shine like it used to, and her eyes have lost their sparkle. Her wrists look breakable at a touch. Her knuckles are white against the tight skin that stretches over her bony hands. The jeans she bought a few weeks ago have become too big for her and she’s said I can have them. I don’t think she’s very well. I’ve heard her throwing up. Maybe she’s stressed.

 

“Cait! Please, I need to pee!” I bang on the bathroom door, clutching myself and dancing around in the hallway, desperately trying to hold it. “You’ve been in there for ages!” I can hear the water beating down onto the shower floor and her loud music echoing against the tiles. For god’s sake, I mutter in my head. I hammer my fist against the door to no avail and revert back to the childhood games we would play to wind each other up and get our own way. “Fine! I’ll go in your roooom!” I whine melodically as I stamp melodramatically down the hallway. I watch the bathroom door as I step into her room. It stays closed. Ugh! I slump onto her bed and kick my legs back and forth, scared that if I stop moving, my body will think it can relax enough to pee. Yes. I am that desperate. My heel kicks something hard mid swing and I curse under my breath, rubbing the bruise already appearing. I reach under her bed and close my hand around the object I’d just kicked. I pull back my hand, revealing a pair of scales and frown, my heart begins to race. A small book is partially visible under the duvet that hangs over the side of the bed, gently scraping the floor. I pick it up- a notebook- and open it to the first page. 65. I flick through the next pages. There is a number on every page, each one slowly decreasing as I get further and further into the book. The final number I see sends an icy shiver down my spine. I clutch it with both hands as my eyes well up with tears. 40. As I leaf back through the pages, I stop dead. 50- ‘Less than Jess, keep going’. It is in this moment that I make the connection. It is now that I stop being so blind to what is obvious. It is here that I realise, that I, Jess, weigh 52kg. That I, Jess, have spurred my little sister to hate herself, to starve herself and hurt herself, to beat me. To beat me at a game I’m not playing.

Before I can say or do anything, Cait swings the door open, her hair high on top of her head, just as it is every time she goes to the bathroom. Her hand is at the corner of her mouth, wiping it. She drops it immediately at the sight of me and her eyes go wide as she sees the scales and notebook in my hands. I open my mouth but no words appear. Instead I begin to cry. I look at my little sister and I cry. I look at her gaunt face and angular shoulders, her tiny arms and her legs. I see the way her knees seems to be too big her for. And the way her forearms are bigger than her biceps. I see her thin, dull hair. Her horrified expression at what I have done, what I have found. And I stand up, and I take her in my arms, and I hold her, and she cries. And her body rattles at every sob and I tell her that she’s beautiful. And I tell her that she’s worthy. And I tell her that I love her. And I tell her that we’ll help her. And still she sobs. And still she rattles. And still I hold her. My little sister Cait, littler than ever I’d known her. My beautiful little sister Cait, feeling less than perfect. My little sister Cait.


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