When school had finished, I walked up to the front gate, with Ali in tow. She was holding some big folder in which she had all these sheets and other stuff folded and put in alphabetical order. I cringed whenever I was away and she brought back the work I had missed in that folder. One day, I was going to take that folder and empty it, and then burn it. Burn it until there was nothing left but ash.
I jumped into the front seat of our parent’s metallic red car. Ali would have been able to recite the number plate and the model but I just wasn’t that intelligent. To tell the truth, I was more intelligent than Ali, I just didn’t use my brain as much as she tried to get me to do. For instance, when I was in the top Science class- and I hated it- I stopped trying in the tests and assignments until I was put into the second best class. I wasn’t ashamed, I was happy. But Science was just Science, bad and completely horrible. Every subject was better than Science. Except Maths, but then, everyone hated Maths anyway.
I sat in silence as we drove the short distance to our house. Ali sat in the back, I could see her studying me through the mirror but I ignored her. She didn’t deserve my undivided attention today.
“Ari, there’s something I want to talk to you about.” Ali announced quietly as mum passed us to go to her home office. We barely ever saw her except when she dropped us off, when she picked us up and when we had dinner. I stared after mum.
“Have you talked to mum about it? And what was up today?” I asked, angry at my twin for telling Iris something that she wouldn’t tell me. Ali sighed.
“Just… come into our room. It will be better if I tell you there… And I have to ask you something.”
I nodded and stomped up the stairs after her. I sat on my bed once we made it to our room and Ali closed the door after me. I stopped her as she closed the door and twisted the handle. I grabbed her wrist and she gasped.
“Ari, no please don’t touch my wrist. I will tell you anything if you let go.” I narrowed my eyes at her but didn’t let go.
“Whats up your sleeve, Aleira?” I asked nastily. She shook her head. I took hold of her sleeve carefully and pulled it up slowly. There it was. I saw it. I dropped her wrist like it had electrocuted me. She stared at me wistfully but also…. I had only noticed what I had been missing from her expressions lately.
“Ari, I can explain…. Please.” She shook and I turned away from her. I put my hands to my face and shook my own head.
“Why? Why would you do that, Aleira, why?” My voice was a whisper and I turned back to her. “It’s called suicidal when you cut your wrist like that Aleira…. Don’t you know that you can die from cutting it that way?”
“I didn’t know before, but Joscelyne and Maria found me in the bathroom and told me and they helped me. They took me to the hospital and I got it stitched up. I promised them not to tell anyone… Then they showed me theirs. They said they won’t tell if I join them and I didn’t want to. Trust me Ari, I didn’t want to. They kept cornering me, telling me, asking me, threatening me… I had to keep going…
“No you didn’t.” I yelled at her. “You could have told me and I could have stopped them. We have Carrie and Iris’s boyfriends to threaten them.”
“I couldn’t tell you. I wanted to, but all you wanted to do on those movie nights was eat popcorn and gossip and then you talked about Joscelyne and Maria and I couldn’t talk to you without spilling everything. Ari, sometimes you take things too far. Let’s just forget about it.”
“Fine,” I retorted, “but don’t think that if I see Joscelyne and Maria talking to you I will just walk on by. I will be coming over there and bashing it into their skulls with words that they are complete and utter sickening morons. They don’t deserve to be left alone.”
Ali nodded and I felt better after that. Ali looked on the verge of tears. I held out my arms and we both collapsed into a sobbing heap.
“Ari, can I ask you something…” Ali asked me.
“Sure Twinnie.” I said. She pulled away from me and blushed.
“You know the other day you were talking about that new guy, Ashton?”
I froze and stared at her. I forced my mouth into a smile and raised my eyebrows.
“Yeah what about him?”
“Do you reckon he likes me?” I almost puked.
“WHAT?” I asked. I took a deep breath and settled down. Ali looked panicked. “I mean- what would make you think that?
She blushed deeper and I felt like strangling her. She wiped her eyes and smiled so brightly I felt like strangling her again. “Well, he smiled at me during Extension Maths and said- ‘Hi, I’m Ashton.’ And, honestly, if there is one thing that would help me forget about all this,” She gestured to her wrist and then shook her head. “It would be a relationship, especially with someone as cute as that.”
My hands balled into fists.
“Don’t even think about it.” I said.
“What?” Ali asked, confused. I looked straight into her bright green eyes and felt so much anger.
“You heard me.”
“I thought…. You don’t- I can’t- Ari….” She stumbled over her words.
“Sheesh, calm down, Ali, it’s just a guy, one that I already claimed dibs on, especially since I saw him first and you didn’t. There are other guys at our school you know, and this isn’t the first time that you’ve gone for a guy that I liked first.”
Ali stood up nodding. She made for the door and paused before pulling her sleeves down she looked at me in a real disappointing way before opening the door.
“Sheesh, calm down, Ari, it’s just a guy, huh. You can’t control everything; least of all love, real love.”
I snorted. What did my suicidal sister know about love?