“Sis, you’re late today.” Ian shouted from the living room.
“I got stuck in traffic.” I took off my shoes and went to my room to drop off my backpack. “It took more than an hour on the train.” I couldn’t believe it was already 5:30 pm when I glanced at the clock.
“I think the food is cold now.” Ian stood up and stretched like a cat.
“It’s alright. I’ll just warm it up again.” I went to the kitchen table and examined the food. “They’re not that cold. I can eat them like this. Did you eat already?”
“Not yet, I was waiting for you.” Ian turned off the TV and came to the kitchen table. “Are you sure it’s not cold?” He picked up a piece of sushi and stuffed it in his mouth.
“It’s fine for me. Do you want it warmed up?”
“Nah, it’s ok.” He sat down and started to wolf down the food.
“Where’s mom?” I joined him.
“She went back to the shop.” He answered with his mouth full. “She just left about five minutes ago. You didn’t see her?”
“Really? I must’ve missed her. When did you come home?”
“Around 5:00 pm.”
“Around 5 pm? That’s only half an hour ago.”
“Yeah, but I was so hungry cause we had a game today. Hey, guess who won?”
“Who won?” I already knew the answer to his question.
“Guess!” He smirked.
“You guys won.” It was obvious because he was so happy. Every time his team lost, he’d mope for the entire evening.
“Bingo! Guess who scored the most?” He looked at me with his big brown eyes. They are big and sparkly like our mother’s, but I inherited the not so big eyes from our father.
“Let’s see…” I paused to pick-up some food. He followed my chopsticks to the dishes, then to my bowl, and into my mouth. I like to keep him in suspense in moments like these. I continued after chewing a mouth full of food. “Other than the team captain, I think someone named Ian is the best player on the team, so it must’ve been him.”
“You guessed right again! How’d you know, Sis? Haha!”
“How many points did you score?” Even after all these years of watching his games, I’m still not familiar with the scoring system. I only watch the games to cheer him on.
“More than half of the points on our team.” He knew there was no point in telling me exactly how many points he scored. “The other team sucked so bad that their total was less than half the points I scored.”
“Really? You must be super happy then!” I was proud of him.
“Of course! I’m your brother after all.” He smiled. “See, you’re going to the best University in the country, and I’m the best player in my high school, well, one of the best. I want to get a sports scholarship for University since I suck at studying.”
“I think you could if you worked hard.” I encouraged him. “Do you know what kind of scores you’ll need to get a scholarship for basketball?”
“I’m not sure, but my teacher said if we win the finals this year, I’ll have a good chance.” He explained with excitement. “We’ve won all the games so far. So there’s a good chance that we’ll win this year.”
“That’s great!” I was really happy for him. A sports scholarship could really help with our finances.
“Of course. That’s why I’m working hard.” Ian glanced at his watch. “I have practice at 7:30. I should get ready soon.”
“Ok. By the way, you don’t have to wait for me for dinner in the future. I’ll probably have to stay late to study sometimes. You can eat first when you get home, especially when you have practice in the evenings. You should let the food digest for at least 20 minutes before you play.”
“Ok, if you say so.” Then he mumbled to himself, “but it’s kinda boring eating by myself, plus, I’ll have to clean up after.”
“Don’t worry about cleaning up. I can do it after I eat.” I was still savouring the rest of the food on my plate.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, you can go now. I’ll take care of the rest.”
He bounced up from his seat. “Thank you, sis! I’ll see you later!”
“Just be careful and don’t stay out too late!” I feel like a mother to him sometimes. Our parents run a small shop and usually come home quite late, so I’ve been taking care of him since we were kids.
“Yes, mother! I’ll be back before 10.” He chuckled.
“Ok, have fun then!” I yelled from the dinner table.
“Cya!” He locked the door behind him.
Memories flooded into my mind as I did the dishes. The first time he played basketball was when he was in grade 3, and I was in grade 5. I took him to the tryout at our school team. He wore his favorite shirt, but didn’t make it. That’s because he had never touched a basketball before, he’d only watched it on TV. He couldn’t even bounce the ball properly. He cried for the whole evening and told me that he never wanted to play sports again.
The next day, I saw a group of kids playing basketball in our neighborhood. They were around Ian’s age, so I asked them to play with him. They were hesitant at first, but I refused to leave until they agreed. Those kids taught him how to play basketball and became his best friends. Michael is the captain on his school’s basketball team, and Cody is the co-captain. In grade 6, he started playing for the school team, and I went to every single game to cheer him on.
But now, I’ll have to spend most of my time studying. I really hope he makes to University with a sports scholarship. I sighed when I saw the time on the clock. School is very important, but I secretly wish that I could spend more time with Ian and Linda…
‘Beep-beep! Beep-beep!’ What? It’s 7:00 am already? It felt like I had just fallen asleep. I looked at my alarm clock and snoozed it. ‘Beep-beep! Beep-beep!’ Oh no, it’s 7:10 am! I have to leave in 20 minutes. “Hmmm.” I groaned as I forced myself to sit up, but I was so exhausted that I fell back asleep again. ‘Beep-beep! Beep-beep!’ 7:20 am! I rolled out of bed and forced my eyelids to stay open. I had to leave in 10 minutes in order to make it to class on time. I’d better hurry.
‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ A loud knock from the other side jolted me out of bed. “Yes, who is it?”
“Sis, why are you up so early? Your alarm is so loud!” Ian swung the door open. He stood there in his pajama. His hair messy and his eyes half closed.
“I’m sorry. I’m running late. I have to hurry!” I dragged my body to the bathroom across the hallway.
“What? You have class on Saturdays too?”
“No, of course not! Wait? Today is Saturday?”
“Yeah, today is Saturday. And tomorrow is Sunday.” He placed both hands on my shoulders. “Sis, I think you need more sleep.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought today was Friday. Let’s all go back to sleep.” I must’ve forgotten to turn off the alarm last night.
“You’re turning off the alarm, right?”
“Yea, right away. You can go back to sleep now.” I reassured him.
“Ok. Good night.”
It was 11:30 am when I woke up again. ‘Ring! Ring! Ring!’ I stumbled out of bed and charged to the phone in the living room. I hesitated for a moment, what if mom wants me to help at the store. I won’t be able to go like this. “Hello.”
“Hello.” The voice on the other line was so low I could barely hear it.
“Hello?” I asked a second time. “Who am I speak to?”
“Lori, it’s me!”
“Linda?” I couldn’t believe that Linda finally called. It’s been at least 2 weeks since we last spoke. “How are you doing?”
“I’m pregnant.” She whispered.
“I’m pregnant.” She repeated.
“What happened?” My head started to spin. I wished what I saw in my dream wasn’t true.
“Can I come over?” She was sobbing now.
“You mean now?”
“Is that ok?”
“Um, sure. Just give me a moment to…”
“I’ll see you soon. Bye.”
“See you soon.” I rushed to the toilet and did my morning routine as quickly as possible. She lived about 15 minutes away, so I didn’t have much time to get ready. The doorbell rang while I was still brushing my hair. I rushed to the door and let her in.
“Lori, I’m such an idiot!” She threw herself on me and gave me the biggest hug me as soon as she came in.
“Hey, come sit down. Do you want something to drink?” I led her to the couch where Hero was fast asleep.
“No, it’s alright.” She wiped the tears from her face. “I’m fine.”
“You’re clearly not fine. Tell me what happened?” I sat down next to her and held her hand.
“Is anyone else home?”
“No, it’s just me and Hero.”
“I’m sorry for barging in on you like this. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.” She calmed herself and started to pet Hero.
“I’m just so happy to see you!”
“Me too! It’s been so long!” She looked worn out even though her face was still just as pretty. Hero came to sit on Linda’s lap, and started purring. He’s afraid of most of our visitors, but he loves Linda.
“So what did that jerk do?” I placed Hero on my other side so we could talk, but he climbed back onto her lap.
“It’s okay, let Hero sit with me.” She said with a faint smile, and tears trickled down her eyes. “I…I saw him with another girl.” She sobbed uncontrollably. “I was going home…from school last night, and he picked up…another girl in front of the theatre.”
“Are you sure it was him?” I was a little confused.
“I,I was going to see…a show with him last night, but I had to finish a project, so I couldn’t go…” She wiped the tears gushing out of her eyes. “And after I finished, I walked past the theatre because I was curious about the show. It was near my school. The show had just finished, and a group of people came out. And a friend of mine came over. And…and I couldn’t believe my eyes!”
“Who did you see?”
“She came over and said, ‘Hey, Linda. Let me introduce my boyfriend.’ But, but her boyfriend was Joe! He just stood there and stared at me.” Her tears trickled down on Hero. He licked his fur where her tears had fallen.
“You mean your friend said that Joe was her boyfriend? Was it a joke?” I was incredulous. “Didn’t she know that you were going out with him?”
“She’s been in love with Joe for a long time,” she sobbed. “So I asked him to explain, but he said there was nothing to explain and walked off with her. I called him later and he hasn’t answered. I texted and he hasn’t responded! I don’t know what to do! What should I do?”
“Did you guys have a fight or something?”
“No.” She said without hesitation. “He didn’t sound very happy when I cancelled on him last night. I really wanted to go, but a new project came up and I had to finish it, so I had no choice but to cancel on him.”
“Have you seen him since last night?”
“No, he hasn’t answered his phone.”
“What do you plan to do then?”
“I don’t know, I don’t know!” She shook her head. “And now he disappeared. What should I do?”
“I don’t know either.” I’ve never been in a situation like this before. If my boyfriend walked off with someone else, I don’t think I’d ever want to see him again. “Does he know that you’re pregnant?”
“I told him a few days ago, but he told me to get an abortion. He says he doesn’t want to be a father.”
“What! Forget about him! What do you want to do?”
“But mom said I should talk to the baby’s father first before deciding on anything.” She caressed her tummy. “She also said that if any guy makes me pregnant, then he should marry me and take care of me and the child.”
“Do you actually expect him to marry you right way and start acting like a decent husband and father?”
“I don’t know, Lori, I don’t know…”
“So your mom knows about this already?”
“No, I only asked her hypothetically…”
“Do you plan to tell her soon?”
“No, she would kill me! Lori, don’t tell her please.”
“How did this happen? How did you end up with that jerk?”
“How was your day? How did you do on your midterms?” He only asked me questions like that when he was in a good mood.
“It was good. School is very tiring, as usual.”
“What about your midterms, did you ace them?”
“Yea, of course. Hard work always pays off, remember?” I answered with a smile. I couldn’t tell him that his sister almost failed a midterm. That would be a disgrace to the family.