Big Sister

Elizabeth is embarrassed when she learns what her sister Stacy has been up to at school.

Elizabeth wonders why her big sister Stacy is so complicated.

She stood on our stoop in the rain, under an umbrella, pretending to get some fresh air. She was supposed to be keeping an eye on me while our parents were at the neighbors’. But really she was getting high. Soon, I knew, she’d get the munchies, too, and probably finish the last of the chocolate-cherry ice cream stashed in the back of our freezer.

I was sitting on the couch, watching her through the window. Why are big sisters so complicated? Stacy drove me crazy. She made me wish I could understand her, made me wish I was just like her, and made me try hard to be totally different. Stacy got in trouble. A lot.

Take yesterday, after school, for example. I came home, tossed my backpack onto the kitchen table like usual, and saw her standing near the fridge with Mom. Wondering if she was home sick or something since she didn’t usually get home before me, I said, “Hey, what-er-you doing here!?”

“Your sister got arrested today. For smoking weed at school,” Mom jumped in, glaring at Stacy while she spoke, not even giving her a chance to open her mouth.

My eyebrows arched. My eyes got wide. I felt myself suck in air. I looked from side to side, from Mom to Stacy. Stacy was silent, giving me a look that meant I’m in big trouble, don’t say anything, or else I’m gonna get it. I began to smirk. My mom kept talking. “Yes, I got a call at work from Officer Kennedy, and …”

Aww, Officer Kennedy?! Man, just my luck that Stacy gets arrested by my favorite teacher’s husband. Man.

I don’t know how long I’d been sitting on the couch replaying that scene in my head. But I knew I needed to get busy on my homework if I wanted to watch my show before bed. I watched Stacy put out her joint on the wet brick, pop some gum into her mouth, and head for our front door. I wondered why my parents thought it was okay to leave her watching me. I dashed to the kitchen to grab what was left of the ice cream before Stacy could.