Sister had gotten everything she wanted. Everyone loved her. Everyone wished to please her. She was the more beautiful one. She was the eldest. Mother and Father favored her over me. The best always went to her and I always got second best, if anything. They all hung on her every word and she got all the attention. I was left to my own design. No one to say I could or couldnt. No one to care if I failed or succeeded. Until one day in the most beautiful spring ever.
He came from a kingdom over. He was beautiful, sweet, gentle, and intelligent. Sister expected him to trip over himself to please her, but he paid her no heed. Instead, he wooed me. Me, the one nobody cared about. Me, the one nobody worshipped. Me, the forgotten little sister.
Sister was only annoyed at first. But as weeks became months, and he still followed me, she grew angrier. She couldnt stand it. She didnt understand how he could want me and not her. It infuriated her, ate at her, and made her bitter.
Then, one day, he asked me to marry him. I was thrilled. I was happy. Mother and Father were excited. Everyone began to plan my wedding.
And so, suddenly, Sister was alone.
I knew how it felt. I felt bad for her, I was used to it. She wasnt. So, I asked her to go for a walk by the lake with me. I asked her to be my maid-of-honor. She smiled and agreed. She seemed to like the thought. Someone was paying attention to her again.
We talked of the wedding as we walked on the shore. We walked out onto the dock and watched the ducks swim around.
I turned to ask her something.
She shoved me into the lake. I reached out but it wouldnt save me. I could not swim. And in my heavy gowns, I sank to the bottom. There I lay, lungs full of air I couldnt exchange for more.
Sister stood at the edge of the dock. She looked down at me and smiled. She turned and left. I was left alone to slowly drown.
Tears wanted to flow down my cheeks. Screams wanted to burst from my chest.
I stared up in disbelief. A fish came to investigate. I looked at him as my eyes began to cloud with death.
I opened my mouth and asked him, Why? as water rushed into my lungs, Why couldnt she let me have the attention for just once? Why Sister? Why?
He stared at me. Mouth opening and closing as though he wanted to answer, but couldnt think of anything to say. Then he swam off leaving me.
They searched for me. For a few months, they searched. They never found me.
A year passed. They never could figure out what happened. I silently watched people come and go.
Some children were playing on the dock one day that next summer. They were jumping into the water and swimming. One dived in and swam deep. He found me, much to his shock and horror. Poor child. He ran and got some adults. A few came down and saw me. They sent for Mother and Father.
Everyone was amazed that I was preserved. I was brought up to the dock and set on a table. I saw Mother, Father, Sister, and my love to my right. There were many others to my left.
Mother and Father wept in anguish. Sister was pale, but pretended to cry. My love came to hold my hand.
As he took my hand, he noticed something clutched tightly in my fingers. He pried them open.
It was a necklace. Sisters necklace she had gotten from Mother and Father for her birthday a couple weeks before she had pushed me. I had grabbed and broke it as I fell into the water. She never knew.
Everyone looked at her in horror. She was paler than me as I lay in death.
Father asked her to explain. She just stared at me. My expression of sadness had turned to a slight smile, even though I was dead. She was horrified.
It was my turn to ask what I had waited to ask for so long. My body released my ghost. Sister grew paler. No one but her saw me. They all heard what I had to say though.
Why? Why couldnt you let me have the attention for just once? Why Sister? Why?
Everyone was shocked. She was on the verge of a breakdown.
I sighed, I love you still. And I forgive you. You are, after all, my sister.
She fell to her knees, sickened by herself.
My ghost returned to my body. My love leaned over, whispered I love you, and softly kissed my lips.
The gods were watching that day and took mercy. Upon his kiss, they thrust life back into me.
My body warmed and gained colour. My blood flowed past a beating heart. I blinked. I suddenly sat bolt up and gasped for fresh air.
Sister snapped. She lost it. She melted to the ground in tears and sobs.
Everyone was joyed at my revival, most especially Mother, Father, and my beloved.
Sister was never the same. She locked herself in her rooms and never came out. She never spoke to anyone. Her meals had to be taken to her. Mother and Father let her be. They could not punish her more than she was already punishing herself. At my request, they all forgave her, but only formally.
It really was not her fault. She had been so used to all the attention that she had no idea how to react when she lost it, even for a little while.
My love and I married. When Mother and Father stepped down, we became King and Queen.
Sister remained in her rooms. She would sit in her little garden and stare at the fountain for hours.
I would visit her. I talked to her. She seemed to take comfort in it.
No one could get her to respond to them except me. She seemed to smile when I visited. She would nod sometimes. Sometimes she would make something to give me on my visits. I kept it all in the top drawer of my wardrobe.
When I first learned I was pregnant, I told her first. She actually looked me in the eye and smiled big. She hugged me before I left. She made lots of things for the baby. When I started my labor pains, I had someone go tell her. She actually left her rooms and came to be by my side. It was a girl, a beautiful, strong, healthy girl. I named it after Sister. As I lay recovering, she held the baby. I heard her speak for the first time in years. Be good, she whispered. Do good.
Sister was by my side at the next two birthings. She rarely spoke, but each time I had a child, she whispered those words to the children.
No one could understand why I always went to see her or why I let her into my life after what she did. At first, I tried to explain, but as the years passed, I gave up.
I told her this one day, a few years after my third and last child was born. She looked up at me. Her eyes looked deep into mine. Why? she asked.
I smiled, You need to know that you are still loved and wanted. Just like that day long ago, when I asked you to be my maid-of-honor. I know what it is like to fell unwanted and unloved. I know what it is like when no one seems to care. No one should ever have to feel and know these things.
.. she said softly and looked down again.
Besides, I said, and she looked up again. You are my sister. And I smiled, got up, hugged her, and left.
After that day, she started to come out of her rooms again and talked more.
That was years ago. Now I sit on the edge of her bed, as she lies dying. I hold her hand tight so she knows I am there.
Her eyes open. She looks at me and smiles, I am sorry.
I know. I forgave you ages ago.
She smiles more, her breathing shallower and pulse weakening.
I love you, Sister, I whisper to her.
I love you too, my dear little sister. And with that, she gives a soft sigh, closes her eyes, and passes away.
I am alone.
Outside her rooms, I hear my husband and others of the court pacing the hall. I rise, kiss her forehead, and leave her rooms. I never go into them again.
My husband welcomes me into his arms and softly kisses me. He knows my pain. He was the only one besides myself who truly forgave Sister. He understood why. He grew up alone like me. His brother always got the attention and love. That is why he left his kingdom. That is why he fell in love with me.