Favouritism

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a story of a girl whose parents are showing more favour towards her more talented sister. I did this for a class essay, but I thought you people might like to read it...
P.S. Not that my parents were like that. This is just a story out of my imagination. My own parents would never do that.

Submitted: October 11, 2007

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Submitted: October 11, 2007

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Favouritism
 
 “If there’s anyway I could help,” I kept my gaze focused on the cucumber, occasionally glancing at my niece, only to see her calculating eyes watching me back. “You know, if you want to talk about anything…” I trailed off with a somber lack of words. I didn’t deal with teenagers often, and to tell the truth I had forgotten what it was like to be one.
 She dropped her eyes onto the tiles on the ground. “I’m cool,” she muttered dispassionately. Her eyes did an alert rotational sweep-stake of the kitchen, her face still tight and unreadable. It was hard to imagine her lying on a hammock in a beach, reading a book or whatever a normal kid did. I felt a pang of pity for her. I never had to be so tense. Detached silence followed, and it was as if we were challenging each other to speak up. I mentally braced myself for a hard time.
 “How’s Emma?” I asked without thinking. Colour drained abruptly from her face, faster than I had ever seen. The bit of air she had gasped in earlier whooshed out from her nostrils.
 “The usual,” she said forcefully, and I nearly heard her voice quake. “Better than I’ll ever be.”
 I raised an eyebrow as she stormed out of the kitchen, glancing back at the chopping board just in time to avoid severing my fingers.
 
 I had no children of my own, not even after I was married to Charles for nearly ten years now. My sister had two lovely daughters, though, much to my envy. Aly was the older one, and Emma followed two years later. I would love to have Emma here too, of course, but she was in Paris with Anne and her husband.
 I could pretty much guess now Aly felt. I would have felt the same, if not much worse. They had taken one child and left the other behind with her stinking aunt, who probably could not talk about anything else other than cooking and gardening. Weren’t all aunts supposed to be like that in the teen world? And where were her parents and her sister? All the way in Paris, having the time of their lives. Now that would be an excellent summer arrangement for the family, wouldn’t it?
 Aly refused to come out of her room all day. Getting worried, I called Anne.
 “Maybe you should speak to her,” I suggested, pretty sure that Anne was not even listening. “She’s a little mopey around here.” 
 “Uh huh.”
 “She’s not eating properly. She can’t seem to sleep at night.”
 “Whatever. That sounds great,” the bored voice at the other end droned. I frowned. Anne really was not paying me the slightest bit of attention.
 “Really. You should tell her you love her or something. Make her feel better—”
 “Mel! Oh Mel, have I told you about the time Emma won this robotics competition?” She seemed to suddenly remember something. “There were so many schools—”
 I clicked loudly, not caring if she heard me. “Anne! I mean Aly. Tell her you love her and you’ll be back soon.”
 Anne seemed to come to her senses. “Aly?” she sneered. “Aly? That girl can’t do anything. If she doesn’t want to eat or sleep, don’t mind her. Oh, and then Emma had this amazingly programmed…”
 I slammed the phone right back into its socket.
 
 Aly was sprawled inelegantly on the couch, flipping through scores of magazines and not seeming to be really reading anything. She didn’t notice me at the doorway, studying her and sighing. I could hardly imagine her life. But more than anything, I couldn’t believe Anne would be that type of mother—a mother who would love the smarter, prettier and more accomplished child. I leaned against the shelves, trying not to sigh. I was growing gradually more furious by the seconds. What did Emma have which was superior to this quiet, pale girl before me? What did Aly do to earn this treatment? Nothing; she was born with what she had. Just because Emma earned heaps of prizes and praises, it doesn’t mean that she was any more brilliant than her sister. Whether she won a robotics competition or not should not affect the fair distribution of love handed out by parents to each child.
 I shifted my feet. Aly was an equal to Emma, all right. She had no less than what Emma was born with, possibly even more. Emma was intellectual and unusually gifted; there was no doubt about that. She was like wind on the badminton and basketball courts, like music in the eyes of her admirers, like water in her speech. She could ace every imaginable test effortlessly—like she was a superhuman designed just for the purpose. She was an effective leader and a flawless role model for anyone and everyone, at the same time a God-blessed violinist and a slender dancer. People give would give anything to be like her.
 Yet on the other hand, Aly led a silent, withdrawn life, more or less shut out from society apart from a few friends and relatives, who were more like strangers to her than family members. She kept everything to herself, spoke far less than she listened and was always composed and alert. She never spoke her feelings or problems to anyone, but occasionally, her eyes would betray a tiny spark of emotion in the mist of their unknown depths. She had an indecipherable features and a mouth often unwilling to speak, and therefore she remained a mystery to most of the world. She was tall and willowy, unlike her tanned and fit sister, but she had a sort of grace and beauty which was unique to herself. I could not understand her immediately, but Anne never understood her all throughout these sixteen years. How could she? I felt like flying over to Paris right then to give her a good shake. Then perhaps a sound slap across her face. Maybe that would wake her.
 That night, I heard Aly crying. I lay in bed for a moment, unsure whether to go up and find out what the matter was, or whether to respect her privacy and leave her until she calmed down. I berated myself. She had overheard my part of the phone conversation, and guessed the rest.
 Her body convulsed and shuddered whenever she took a gasp, and she whimpered softly to herself. I sat silently beside her, but she did nothing to acknowledge my presence.
 “It will never change,” she whispered finally. The bleakness in her voice tore my insides and churned my emotions violently. She turned a teary face to me. In her eyes, I could see the striking shade of green, with the quality of the finest emeralds, just like Anne’s. “You know it wouldn’t. We all know.”
 I tried to deny that, but my throat closed and left a tart taste in my mouth. I pulled her into an embrace, and let her bury her face into my shoulders. Poor Aly. All her life she had known parents who shunned her and preferred her sister, instead of supporting her and valuing her the way she was. I stroked her hair gently until her muscles slowly loosened and her sobbing ceased. Soon, the only thing which reminded me of her presence as the occasional spasm of her body as she breathed. When I tip toed out of her room twenty minutes later, she was fast asleep. Why couldn’t Anne do that? I never uttered a word, yet having someone to hug her gave Aly so much comfort.
 Charles never approved of Anne either. We spent long nights over the summer discussing ways to reprimand my sister and help the poor Aly, while I took her to the malls and parks occasionally, making sure I gave her a good time. Soon Aly grew more attached to Charles and I than she ever was to her parents, and she turned significantly happier. It was great to see her relaxing more each day, giving in to the love and affection she found in my home.
 I had never seen Aly more joyful when we announced that we were going to adopt her. With her under my care, I could protect her from all the nepotism her mother so unfairly showed her. It felt right; since I had no children and that we understood and depended on each other so much. There was one setback though.
 Aly started to miss Emma.


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