I'm here today with my multi-part short story called, "Watch". It's about the youngest of five children who struggles and yearns for many years to receive her siblings' love and attention. Hope you enjoy!
Ever since I was young, I have always looked up to my big brothers and sisters. Being the youngest of five children, I was always the one who followed an example rather than giving one. I had watched them in awe as they grew up winning soccer tournaments and performing as one of the lead characters in a school play since I waddled in diapers.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to fair among my family, but I did know this: I wanted to be great and my two brothers and two sisters are and get their respect and admiration.
I remember the first time I had tried to vie for their attention. I was five years old, a messy of wiry blonde hair squabbling around on a small hill as a neighborhood summer barbeque commenced. Adults brought out their lawn chairs or their red-and-white checked picnic blankets. Many conversed in small cliques about “big people talk”, as I liked to call it at the time. As for me, I was having the time of my life, squealing and attempting to clasp bubbles. Life couldn’t have gotten any better.
From far away I eyed my older brothers and sisters playing with a floating pink balloon. I never forgot how it looked like: it was an elliptical pink water balloon shrunken down since the day of its inflation. The snot which had dribbled down my nose went unnoticed as I stared them laugh and play with wide eyes.
I wanted to touch the balloon. I want them to come over and play with me!
“Big brother! Big sister!” They made no indication that they had heard me. My cheeks blew up and I tapped my bare foot angrily in response. I skittered over to their area and pull on sister Jenna’s shirt.
“Big sister?” The four of them stop their game and look at me. I give a toothy grin in response. “Will you watch me?”
Jenna bent down to my height and smoothed my hair. “Do what, Melody?”
“Um…” I thought for a minute, then an idea popped into my head. “Do a cartwheel!”
“Oh! You want to be a gymnast like me, huh?”
“When I grow up, I want to be just like you!” I felt my cheeks fluster as the four of my siblings looked down on me, feeling them embrace me with this newfound respect and love their action seemed to show.
“Well, go on, then!” Jenna flicked her hand, suggesting a take several steps back. I ran as fast as I can a little more down the hill. My eyes peered out to see my brothers and sisters facing my direction. I, had being five years old and never had attempted a cartwheel before, did not feel a benefit of doubt. My grubby palms raised up to their air, made contact with the ground, and kick my legs up to the air.
The feeling was not sensational. My skirt came down over my face and hindered my sight. My bottom is brought down by the force of gravity. I felt the cold metallic blood rush down my arm. Being the young little girl that I was, I began to cry.
Twenty minutes and a bandage gauze later, I had found myself sitting next to Mom and Dad on the grass. I felt terrible. They had recently finished scolding at my four siblings for not shadowing the situation. The worst part was, the four of them admitted that they knew nothing about my accident.
I remember feeling the worst dummy. They had lied. They did not watch me.
Did they not care?
I still watched them. I watched them play with that pink balloon—that pink, dratted balloon. Clusters of confusion had swarm over my head. The drawing which is laying on the grass depicted my attempt at a cartwheel, balled and crumped into a ball. I turned and said, “Mommy?”
“Do Jenna and Riley and Nate and George,” I said, gasping in a breath of air with each “and”, “Do they love me?”
Mom had placed her novel face down on the ground and faced me. “Of course.”
“Why won’t they notice me, then?”
Mom, who was wearing shades, did not answer right away. I waited patiently for an answer. My eyes, fear-filled, did not leave her face. That’s when I knew and realized: Mom knew that they did not talk or see me as often as they should. That day, I learned that my brothers and sisters are not perfect. She pulled me closer to her. After several minutes of silence, she cooed softly, “I don’t know, honey.
“I don’t know.”
P.S. Forgot to mention that this is kind of inspired by this piece.