Posted in Stories

Too Late For Empathy

shhhh“I hate you! Why are you always ratting me out! Go away!” I yelled at my sister and slammed the door. I slumped on my bed and hugged my pillow. My sister found out that I had been bunking my tuition class to go hang out in my friend’s place. And she told my parents that I was doing that. I have missed a week’s tuition class. Can you blame me? It’s so boring and the teacher doesn’t even care if the students understand the topic or not. So I just go there whenever I feel like it.

I hate my sister because she is always telling on me. She found out I had been eating Suparis secretly and told my mom. I also got busted when I went to school without doing my homework a few times. I mean why does she has to tell them!  I would have corrected myself.

“I told you to finish your homework several times! But you didn’t listen to me” She had said.

“Yeah that was the first time. I was going to finish the other day but you told them!”

“If I hadn’t, you would have kept doing the same!”

“You don’t know that! You never give me a chance. So you can always tell on me so I will always be the bad person!”

**10 years later***

I looked up startled. The bicycle had fallen and my niece was trying to take it. I went to help her with that and we went bicycle riding. Even though my sister isn’t my favourite person, I love spending time with my niece, mostly because she tells me I’m the best aunt in the whole wide world. We practically grew up together so she spends most of the time with me.

One evening I was helping her with her homework. While I was I rummaging her backpack for a pencil, my hand touched something soft. I took it out and held it in front of her, my mouth wide open! She snatched it immediately and looked at me guiltily.

“You are only 12 for god’s sake! And don’t you study science? You know how bad it is for your health!”

“Shhh..i will only smoke just once. Everyone else in my group does it. They say it’s fun!’

“It’s addictive! You can’t stop! Oh my god, I can’t believe you are really considering this! I have to tell your mom!”

“NO!” she grabbed my arm. “I will throw it away. I promise. You can’t tell my parents please! You are supposed to be that cool aunt who can keep a secret.”

A strange familiar sensation came over me. The following day I found a pack of cigarettes in her bag. I looked at her angrily. “I thought you threw it away.”

“Trix said to try it once before I threw it away. And I did and I liked it so she gave me a box. But don’t worry it will be just one cigarette every day. Look at people who is smoking. They are not dying, right?”

I gaped at her. I just couldn’t believe what is happening to the kids of the 21st century. When I was in grade 7 I was so naive! I stormed toward the door. “I have to tell your parents before it gets out of hand.”

She grabbed my hand again and tugged. “No please! You can’t. Don’t you dare rat out on my parents!”

I froze in my tracks. It all came back. Now I remember why it felt so familiar. Those were the exact words I told my sister a hundred times when I was a kid. I looked at my niece and thought. If I tell her parents she is going to hate me, just like I hated my sister. If I keep on telling on her, she will grow up hating me! And I didn’t want that to happen. I wanted to be the coolest aunt ever.

So I didn’t tell her parents. I watched helplessly as she smoked, every day. Before her parents come from work, she always spray the whole room with perfume. But I knew her parents would find out eventually. I thought hard about what I should do. Suddenly I knew exactly how my sister would have felt. How pressured she would have been because of me. She must have thought like this every time before she busted me. I felt so sad and guilty for realizing it too late.

Finally I decide to tell them. I waited for them to bring her from school. Suddenly I got a phone call from her mother asking me to come to the hospital as soon as possible. I rushed to the hospital, my heart thumping. I wondered what could have possibly happened.

I saw them, pale faced, outside the ICU. My sister was crying while her husband patted her back. Horrified, I asked what happened. “She had a drug overdose!”

It was as if my heart stopped beating for a second. I opened my mouth, nothing came out.

“A teacher found her body in the toilet. Thank god, it wasn’t too late.” He said, relief in his voice.

“I didn’t even know.” My sister croaked. “Did you notice her acting very weirdly?”

I looked at them. Oh no! What am I going to tell them? If I had told them the day I found the cigarette in her bag, this would never had happened.

“It’s all my fault!” I explained everything to them gloomily.

“So you knew and didn’t even stop her!” Her eyes flashed

“I didn’t know she was using drugs. I only knew she smoked.”

“And that was okay? Oh my god! How could you have been so stupid?”

“She made me promise not to tell. She begged me. She told me she would stop. So I gave her a chance to stop before telling you.”

“And look how well that turned out.” She narrowed her eyes at me. “And you know why I always ratted on you. To avoid this kind of thing! God knows what you would have done if I wasn’t there to stop you. I know you hated me for telling on you but I did it to protect you!”

And I realized she was right. I wiped away my tears. I would have ended up like that if I hadn’t had a sister who loved and cared about me. Love comes in different ways. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much someone cared about you, until it’s too late.


2 thoughts on “Too Late For Empathy

  1. that was freaking beautiful,,,, unknowingly i had held my breath throught out !! Awesome ,,, keep doing that !

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