Armina felt calm. Laying on her bed, she read her book as if everything was fine, like there was nothing to worry about. As if moments ago she and her sister hadn’t been trying to tear each other apart. As her fingers moved between the pages, she felt her heart that moments ago had been been beating as if at a sprinter’s pace was now slowing down slowly. She pushed away those thought and let her mind pulled away from the reality. Sentence after sentence she was pulled in to another world.
Time past and after a while a little niggling reminder popped into her mind. Mom would be back sometime soon. This pulled her away from the book. Would Crystal run to their mother and tell her what happened? She felt a little fear of being discovered having done something wrong, that she knew was wrong but had done anyone. As she felt her emotions rise, logic kicked in, evaluating the risk of being caught. If Crystal did tell, no doubt she would, Armina’s logic concluded that her sister would get in just as much trouble as she would. As she convinced herself of this it bothered her less and less. She even felt a little annoyed knowing that her mom would put them through the whole process. Mom was always scolding them and would lay in on thick when it came to Armina. Mom was always telling her that she should be “setting the example” and that she was older and “should know better”, blah, blah, blah. Armina continued to talk to herself in her head, justifying that what she did was right and she shouldn’t be blamed so heavily for what happened. Crystal was really only two years younger than she, Armina pointed out to herself. Her sister was grown enough to know right from wrong and she knew what she was doing when she’d punched her and said the mean things that she’d said. Crystal was just as much of bully, Armina tought. Her parents were always trying to guilt her by telling her that she was the biggest bully. If only they knew, Armina thought, and felt the way Crystal’s words cut just as much and deeply as any other bully’s.
Armina puffed out a breath of air, feeling exasperated with her parents. They thought it was so easy to reason with her siblings. Her sister was always going against her orders. Armina grew annoyed thinking how Crystal tried to treat her as if she were the younger sibling. She was always acting as if she knew everything and everyone else knew nothing. As she thought about it, Armina could feel temper rise a little. Crystal was such a little brat, she got what she deserved trying to pick a fight with her. That fight had been just the thing needed to show how stupid her little sister was to pick a fight with her older sister.
With the book still open in her hands, she didn’t go back to the story but rather replayed her own story in her head. She smiled smugly, remembering how good she had gotten her sister. Armina gave her sister credit for getting a few good slaps and scratches. When her sister had first attacked her, she’s come at her with an open hand and finger curled like claws. Crystal’s arms had swung trying to reach any part of Armina’s face. Her hands had made contact with some part of her face but at the time neither of them was showing signs of pain or stopping to check where the other had hit. They both were out for blood. Coming back to reality for a moment, Armina grimaced a little as she put her hand to her cheek and running it down her neck, feeling the long scratches left by her sister. The raised skin had looked angry and red from when she’d gone to check herself in the mirror after the fight. The skin had barely been broken but red was still visible. Crystal had gotten in a few good strikes but Armina knew her sister couldn’t match her in temper or in strength.
Once Crystal had made contact with Armina’s face and taken that first swing, Armina felt another part of her take over. An animalistic side. This was probably the fight or flight response Armina though, that her teachers had been talking about. Thinking about it now, part of Armina relished in the fact that she’d been able to release of all the pent up anger she’d been harboring. Armina remembered going on full act mode, trying to get a good hold of her sister so she could really release some good punches into her face. She knew that it had been a fantasy of hers whenever she’d been really mad at her sister, of grabbing her or anything and hitting her over and over, feeling a strange energy as if she was the predator finally getting her prey.
Armina remembered slamming Crystal hard into her own door to knock the wind out of her. She’d kneed her in the stomach to cause her to double over, only to raise her head a little with a punch to face that had mainly caught her mouth. Having her there she tried to put in as many punches as she could, feeling her sister trying to squirm away and block her punches. “Stop being a little bitch and take it! Take it! Huh!? What!? You don’t want to fight anymore!? Huh!?” Armina remembered yelling to her sister in between breathes and punches. “Fucking idiot, let me go!” her sister yelled at her. Her sister had been digging her finger nails into Armina’s wrist to try to let her go. It would have been painful any other time and it had been at the time, but Armina’s rage and her adrenaline had been so high, she’d refused to let go until her hand had started to hurt and miss her mark more often than make it.
When Crystal saw that she was at a disadvantage, she hadn’t stopped fighting, but had grabbed at Armina’s legs to knock her over to wrestle her down and gain advantage that way. Armina had stumbled a little as had Crystal. They were both on the ground and kicking at each other, hitting sides and each other’s legs, grunting when someone found their mark. Armina had found a way to get off the ground, the kicks were not sufficient enough punishment for her sister and weren’t packing the kind of hitting power she wanted. As her sister continued to kick her, Armina had gotten hold of one and then another leg and quickly got them between hers so she could straddle her sister. Trapping her sister underneath, squeezing her tight so she’s couldn’t get away, Armina continued to hit her sister. “What now bitch! Huh! What now?! Stupid bitch.” Her sister tried to block her hits and protect her face and starched at Armina. “Get the fuck of me” her sister said angrily, sounding frustrated. “GET OFF!” Crystal yelled so loud, the neighbors probably heard. Micheal, at hearing their loud voices and hearing the loud thumps had come up and tried to get in between the two. “Get of her Armina! Stop it guys! Stop!” he yelled so as to be heard and obey but his attempts hadn’t stopped Armina. Their brother didn’t get that this needed to happen, it was too late to go back.
Thinking about it got Armina’s heart pumping again, remembering the adrenaline rush, she could still feel the sense of victory of having gotten the better of her sister. She felt such satisfaction that she’d proven she was better than her sister. She remember what had solidified the victory, the satisfaction that had felt complete. She remembered taking her hands and grabbing Crystal’s head and started to slam her it against the floor as hard as she could. It gradually built as the first time hadn’t made the satisfying thump she had wanted. In going faster and placing all the force she had, she slammed her sister’s head down harder and harder, hearing the hard thud of her sister’s head hitting the floor and the screams that came from Crystal’s mouth telling her to “Stop, Stop!” It only took a few to get Armina to let go. She mushed her sister’s head down on the floor. “That’s what you get. Next time don’t be do stupid.” Armina said, her breathing labored and her brain still fuzzy with adrenaline and with the single desire to fight anyone who got in her way.
Finishing the memory, as she tried to get back to her book she still thought of how she could have taken it further, how if she’d had that desire to crack her sister’s head open like a walnut. For blood to flow out of the break in Crystal’s skull. But that blood lust scared Armina back to reality, a voice telling her she’d had to restrain herself, restrain the animal and be satisfied with the moaning pain of her sister who’d automatically put her hands to her head to stop the pain. Armina knew that it had been wise of her to stop. In their fights she always knew that she should never mark her sister. It was better not to leave tell-tale signs that they had been fighting. Her sister on the other hand, ran on rage and did whatever she liked. In Armina’s opinion that was why she got in trouble so much, always leaving scratches or bite marks on her siblings just to harm. They would get in trouble as soon as mom saw them, even though Armina had cleaned her wounds and tried to make them less noticeable.
She became alert and pulled out of her thoughts by the sound of the car pulling the drive way. Mom was home. She heard the car door open and the stomp of her mother’s boots on the sidewalk was the countdown to the Armina’s and Crystal’s punishment. Armina listened as the footsteps make their way up the stairs onto the porch and the key being inserted into key hole to open the door. The keys turned and clicked into place opening the door for mom. The rustling of bags gave away that she had gone to the grocery store to shop for something to make for dinner.
Armina curled up tighter into her bed and pulled her book closer, not really reading but waiting for the bomb to drop. “I’m home”, their mother called out, and Armina could hear the bags being dropped onto the table. Footsteps scampered down the stairs and she knew it was her brother. Armina cringed and hated her brother for a moment for being such a tattletale. “Hi Mami! Armina and Crystal were fighting when you weren’t here!” The little brat, Armina thought, scowling.
She didn’t have to wait long for it.
“Armina! Crystal! Get down her now!” mom yelled up to them. Her mind was now on high alert and though she felt relieved that it would be taken care of sooner than later, she still didn’t like the idea of getting in trouble. Armina sighed placing her book down. She heard her sister’s door open first and footsteps walking toward and down the stairs. Armina slowly got off of her bed and followed her sister downstairs. She walked down the hall to the kitchen where their mother was, putting the groceries away. Crystal sat at one of the kitchen chairs looking worse for wears while Armina leaned on the door way of the kitchen trying to be least conspictious. They waited for a while until their mother turned around to look at them, looking tired and not up for their nonsense.
“What happened between you two, huh?” she asked. No one answered. “Somebody say something. Every time leave I leave, why can you two never manage to get along?” Again she waited for an answer but Armina knew that if either of them spoke, they would both end up in more trouble. “Do I really have to stay here and monitor you guys all the time, drag you along because you aren’t mature enough to not kill each other while I’m away?” their mother said moving toward Crystal to look at her. “What happened to you? Why do you look like that?” she asked about Crystal’s appearance. “Nothing, we just got into a little fight. Armina wouldn’t leave me alone.” Cyrstal said, trying to make it sound like no big deal. Their mom went over to Armina and looked at ther face, taking it in her hand and moving it back and forth, spotting the scratches on Armina’s face.
“So this is nothing?! Look at your sister’s face! How is she going to go to school like that?!” their mother
“It was all her, it was her fault. She was the one saying that no one cared what I had to say, that I wasn’t anything, that I was shit and hit me!” accused Crystal.
“Right like you didn’t say anything. And who hit me first, huh?! Right I thought so, Stupid,” said Armina, glaring at her sister.
“Yeah, like slamming my head into the ground was real smart of you, you freaking idiot. But no one cares about me right,” Crystal said, her voice rising with emotion, sounding frustrated, angry, hurt.
Armina felt herself feeling a little bad and guilty but she couldn’t, wouldn’t allow herself to feel sorry for her sister. She had gotten what she deserved.
“Just be quiet both of you,” she said looking at Crystal. “Those marks aren’t just going to disappear overnight, they aren’t going to just go away. She has to go to school like that tomorrow.” She, then turned to Armina. “And you should know better. She is your little sister. You should be protecting her not hurting her. You both were wrong in what you did.”
Armina gave no expression, just kept her face straight, listening to what her mother had to say but not really taking it in. She had heard it all before. He parent didn’t just understand that she did try but her little sister didn’t want her protection, didn’t want her around. And if she Crystal wanted to be like that she was fine with that. Her sister could dig her own holes and get out of them herself.
Their mother sighs and rubs the bridge of her nose, her eyes squeezed shut as if she had a massive headache. They had not put their mom in a good mood but at least it was over thought Armina. “Go upstairs and stay there until dinner is ready.”
Armina took the opportunity before her mom decided on something else and went upstairs quickly, not looking at her sister. Going back to her room and closing her door she jumped back into her bed, picking up her book to pick up from where she left off. She didn’t pay attention to whether or not her sister followed her back up. But she did get distracted by the slow thumps on the stair case that stopped after a while. She then heard a little cry and rolled her eyes. Her sister would do anything to play the victim. They both got in trouble and it was over with. No one was going to believe it was just Armina’s fault, they’d confessed their parts in it.
She then heard another set of footsteps and her mother’s voice. “What’s wrong with you? Why are you walking like that?” her voice holding little sympathy, still angry toward her daughters behavior.
“My head hurts. Yours would too if it got slammed against the floor.” She said, her voicesounding resentful and disrespectful. It only annoyed and got Armina mad at the fact that her sister would be so disrespectful when the only person she should be angry at is herself for the trouble she caused.
“Sit down,” she heard her mother tell Crystal sounding irritated herself. “Do you feel sick? Dizzy? Nauseous? Look at me.” Armina heard her sister mumble something and then her mother ask again,“Do you feel dizzy? Do feel like you have a concussion?”
“Yes,” Crystal hissed out as if it were obvious.
“Okay we’re going to the hospital,” her mom said. Crystal moaned, “Nooo, I don’t wanna go.”
“Oh you’re going because if you have a concussion, then you can’t go to sleep tonight,” her mother said and Armina heard her mom open to closet door for her coat and the sound of her mom grab her keys and purse. “Micheal! Armina! Let’s go, we’re going to the hospital,” she yelled even though Armina could hear her just find without her being so loud.
Armina huffed and groaned in frustration. Thanks a lot, Crystal. They would be in the hospital for hours and there would be nothing to eat or to do there. Knowing that they would be there for a long time, she grabbed her bag and filled it with books, a notebook, pens, pencils in case she got bored. She grew annoyed knowing that there wasn’t going to be any food and she was going to go to end up sleeping late making her even more tired in the morning for school. Cranky and grumbling, she clomped down the stairs in her boots and was pushed outside to the car by their mother to take her sister to the hospital.
In the ER, there wasn’t that many people waiting but Armina knew from having to be there due to having a broken wrist one time and coming in for fractured fingers, the doctors could take forever just to tell you that all you had was a cold. As if these people had no other place to be and didn’t want to go home. They sat in the children’s area where the staff had a movie playing that Armina had never seen before. She sat down on one of the plastic chairs to watch as their mother filled out the paperwork at the check-in counter. Her sister sat a few chairs away from her and their brother became distracted with the blocks and toys that the hospital supplied.
As the movie started to end, she looked over to check on her brother who was still playing with the blocks. Looking over she spotted her mom sitting next to her sister who was in the same spot curled up. She could tell that her sister wasn’t feeling too good. Her head in her hands, the way her body was curled up and rocking back n’ forth as her mom rubber her back. She could see the nausea on her face, knew that Crystal was willing herself to not throw up. Her sister was trying to keep it together just like Armina had when she had gotten some head injuries, trying to hold the pain away until she could see the doctors or until to pain killers worked. The curl of her sister’s body a reminder of how she’d react the same way, not wanting her body not to fall victim to it, afraid that the darkness of the pain would swallow her whole and she wouldn’t be able to get away, to wake up from it.
Looking at her sister, Armina could feel the guilt start to come over, to eat at her. She felt sympathy looking at her sister trying to keep it together and the shame and knowledge that this was her fault was worm its way into her consciousness. She didn’t like feeling like she was the one responsible for her sister being pain and anything else that she could have caused from fighting with her. The victory and satisfaction that she had felt before was giving way to shame and worry that her sister was hurt really bad because of what she had done. She was no victor, she was a horrible for taking it that far and enjoying it.
Maybe her mother was right, she should have known better. She shouldn’t have tried to teach her sister a lesson no matter what she said or did. Armina started not to feel so good herself and it have nothing to do with any physical damage. She’d really thirsted and desired to harm her sister badly, as if she were some evil rival rather than just her sister who could be a nuisance. She should say sorry, she thought, do something. Hug her maybe? Pat her back, anything. Crystal would probably not want her to touch her and would just tell her to get away from her. She felt bad but she really didn’t know what to do. Armina and her sister weren’t that affectionate with each other. They rarely said sorry to each other willingly, their pride wouldn’t allow it. It would mean the other had really won.
She thought about it and then her stomach grumbled a little. She was a bit hungry and thirsty and she bet that her siblings were too. Going into her bag she knew that she had some money left over from what her father had given her. Looking over at the vending machine, she entered money into each machine, putting out some Lays and Dorito chips with some M&Ms and managed to buy a Sprite, too. Going over to where her siblings were, she gave her bother the Doritos chips and sat next to her sister. She opened the M&M and nudged her, angling the open bag toward her sister. “Here,” she said. Her sister looked up at her. She looked at her sister and shook the M&M bag. “Here have some,” she said, and then just handed the whole bag over to her. Crystal unfolded for a little and took the bag, saying nothing back to her. They sat in silence as they ate and shared the Sprite among them. After a while they sat watching another movie the staff put on, one that they’d watched a hundred times together. Neither one of them apologized to the other but then there is an unspoken language of sisterhood where they don’t have to. They just knew.