Pinecone


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Hello! My name is Katherine Davis and I am currently a senior at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities for creative writing. I have not submitted my work very much, although I have ... [+]

Image of Short Circuit - Short Circuit #11

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The sisters had walked these trails many times when they were little. But this time, the older sister was walking with her boyfriend. The younger sister stayed in front, pretending not to be bothered by their hand holding and public displays of affection. He was taller than the younger sister and his voice echoed throughout the forest when he told jokes. Jokes that the older sister laughed at a little too hard.

The boyfriend had long brown hair and pale skin. He got offended when the younger sister stepped on ants, declaring that all animals have souls and that even the little ones should not be killed unless they committed some horrible violation. The little sister thought he was full of shit.

The boyfriend smelled like grass and always wore flip-flops (even on hiking trails). His pupils were tiny and his eyes were green. The younger sister thought his eyes looked like avocados. She began to call him avocado-boy, but then the boyfriend went off on a tangent about how avocados are a good source of fiber and healthy fats and the joke wasn't funny anymore. The younger sister continued to walk while the couple giggled and whispered in each other's ears behind her. She crossed her arms and kicked a pinecone, thinking about her sister and how she wished she was holding her hand.

The two girls had different ways of showing affection. The younger sister was always ready for school in the morning before the older. The older would come frantically running downstairs, her cheeks red and out of breath saying, "You don't have to wait by the car like that," but the younger sister continued to do so anyway. The younger found purpose in being punctual, although she missed the days when her mom would drive her and her sister to school and they would sing cheesy songs like, "Finally Friday" by George Jones. She missed long car rides where they would make up hand claps and breathe hot air onto the window so they could draw pictures. She missed fifth grade when her mother would make her and her sister wear matching outfits to school. The younger sister would pretend to think it was lame and tug at her collar. The older didn't have to pretend. She would bring extra clothes to school to change into. The younger's lips would pout and her stomach would curl as if food had been rotting inside there for a long time.

On their previous hikes without the boyfriend, the two sisters would play hide-and-seek together and wade through the creek. They'd splash water on each other and giggle when their pants got wet, making it look like they had peed themselves. On the way back home from the trails they would pick up pinecones to make bird feeders out of. The younger sister smiled to herself as she recalled these past memories. She picked up the pinecone she was kicking and put it in her pocket. Perhaps they could make a bird feeder later.

The younger sister looked behind her. The older sister and her boyfriend were far behind. However, they were close enough so that the younger sister could see that they were still holding hands and smiling. They looked at each other and giggled from time to time. When they finally caught up, the younger sister suggested they all go to the creek. She thought maybe she could hunt crawdads with the boyfriend like she did with her sister when they were little. The boyfriend did not want to, claiming that hunting crawfish was extremely immoral. He then went on to say that he and the sister needed to have a private conversation. He said the words, "private conversation" with his avocado eyes all wide. The younger sister didn't like that, so she shrugged her shoulders at him and walked to the creek to pick up more pinecones.

She wondered when it had gone wrong. Perhaps there was something she had done to make her sister want to change out of the matching outfits. Perhaps there was a reason the older sister came to love a boy she had only known for three months. The younger sister thought of this while rolling up her pants to wade through the creek. She looked under the rocks and picked up a crawdad. She put it in her pocket and she made her way back to the couple, grabbing pinecones from the ground as she walked. She thought about how she and her sister would play hide-and-seek in these woods. She remembered the time her older sister climbed up a tree and the younger sister couldn't find her. She'd cried and howled in the forest, her older sister above her giggling with her hand over her mouth. The younger sister could now see the couple. They were sitting on a rock, their hands stacked together. She could hear their conversation: "Your sister's kinda weird," said the boyfriend. The older sister just sat there, looking at the hand that wasn't underneath the boyfriend's. "You don't even know me," thought the younger. Without thinking, she reached into her pocket to grab the pinecones. With all the force her arms could emit, she threw the pinecones one after the other against the boyfriend's back. 

He turned around to look at her, and she waited. Waited until his eyes locked on hers. Waited until she could cause him the same pain he had caused her. And then, when she was sure, she pulled the crawdad from her pocket and stomped on it, breaking its spine into a bunch of tiny pieces.

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