“You're awfully quiet tonight, baby sister. More so than usual, and that's sayin' somethin'. And I haven't gotten a single smile since I got home!” Adrienne strokes my hair as she passes by me to put a plate back in the cabinet.
“What do you mean?” I wash another dish and hand it to her to dry.
She tucks a periwinkle stripe of hair behind her ear. “You didn't say a word during dinner.”
“That's not that unusual, Adri.”
“It is when I'm home,” she replies.
I hand her another dish. “I'm just tired.”
“Bull, Jessamine,” she snaps, slamming her towel and bowl down on the counter. “I can tell when you're tired and when you're isolating yourself, kid.”
“I'm only two years younger than you, Adrienne. I'm not a kid.” I cross my arms over my chest and lean my hip against the counter.
“Well, you sure are acting like one.”
“Whatever,” I say.
She grits her teeth but goes back to drying dishes without replying. I look out the window at the inky sky dripping down into the remnants of the sunset and bite my lip. Being the drama queen she is, Adrienne makes as much noise as with every dish she puts away.
I lean my head back and stare at the ceiling. “I ran into Isaiah today.”
“Who's Isaiah?” Adrienne asks, obviously relieved I'm talking instead of retreating. “Wait, isn't he the –?”
“The boy who went blind during your senior year? And one of my friends from elementary school? Yeah.” Of course Adrienne would only remember that he was blind. Not that I had any sort of connection to him. She probably doesn't even realize he used to be able to see.
“I thought so. But why does that matter?” Oh, sometimes I hate being right.
“I literally ran into him.” I look her straight in the eye and watch the realization dawn on her face.
“Oh. Well that's not good. Is he alright?”
“I was able to swerve enough to only get him with my handlebars. I crashed, but it was better than running him over.”
“That's not so bad.” I roll my eyes at her, but she keeps going. “Are you alright? And if you didn't hit him too hard, why is it making you moody?”
“Just forget it, Adrienne. You don't get it,” I sigh. “I can't explain it, anyways.”
We finish up the dishes in silence, and my nerves are standing on end. I don't like fighting with my sister but sometimes she makes it hard not to. Right as I'm about to slip out the door for my evening walk, Adri grabs my arm.
“Jessa, listen to me for two seconds, even if you don't want to.” I can't remember the last time my sister looked this serious.
“I don't seem to have much of a choice.”
She rolls her eyes. That's better. “I know we're on different wavelengths and that I'm not home much anymore, alright? But that doesn't mean you can't talk to me. I might not completely understand, but I'll try to and you know it. Okay?”
I look at her without saying anything for a moment, and her shoulders fall. I can't handle my capable sister looking helpless. “Okay,” I nod. “I'm glad you're home, Adri.”
“Me too, kiddo. Want me to walk with you?”
“I kind of want some me time right now. I promise I'll be social when I get back, though.”
Adri blows at her bangs, shaking her head. Finally, she says, “I'll make cocoa.”