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Swallow Your Pride

by Abbey 2 months ago in Pride Month / Identity
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Can you forgive me, though?

Swallow Your Pride
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

I looked out the peephole and was astonished at the sight. My older sister, Julia, stood at my door. It took me a moment to even realize it was her. She looked so different from the last time I had seen her. It was like a stranger stood in front of me. Her hair appeared darker, her bright blue eyes seemed duller, and age had faded her once freckled face.

It had been eight years since we last saw each other. I was only fourteen. Over Christmas dinner she decided it would be funny to tell our whole family about the little secret I had shared with her.

“Did you guys know Michelle likes girls?” she said, making sure to be loud enough for everyone to hear.

I was mortified. I wasn’t even sure if it was true at the time, but I felt secure enough to tell her about my conflicted feelings. Before she ruined any ounce of trust I could ever have in her.

“Oh stop it Julia, of course that’s not true,” Mom said.

My cheeks burned red as the eyes of everyone in my extended family burned a hole right through me.

“That’s not true, right?” Mom said again, more like a statement than a question.

I felt tears welling up. I was ashamed and embarrassed, all because Julia couldn’t keep her stupid mouth shut. I stood up abruptly and slammed my chair in.

“Don’t ever talk to me again, you bitch!” I screamed before running off to my bedroom.

And that’s exactly what happened. Julia had already moved out of our family home into her own apartment on the other side of town, so it was easy to stay away from her. We never called each other, never texted, never sent birthday cards, nothing. Whenever she’d visit the house, I’d simply stay in my room.

Sometimes I regretted what I said. I missed having my big sister around. It felt like I was losing out on a major part of my life because of something I did as a young teen. She hurt me, though, and I couldn’t forgive that so easily. But now here she was, standing at my door.

“Hello,” I said, my voice cold and flat. I didn’t want her to know that I was nervous, and almost a little excited to see her. I was happy that she was the one who was able to swallow her pride so that I wouldn’t have to.

“Hi,” she said. “Can I come in?”

I shrugged. “Sure.”

We both sat rigid on the old floral sofa. It felt weird, almost unnatural to be near her.

“So,” she started, “I guess I should tell you I’m sorry.”

“It’s a little late for that,” I said.

“I know it’s been a long time, but can you please just listen to me?”

“Why should I? You ruined my fucking life,” I snapped. “You don’t just out people, Julia.”

“I didn’t know what I was doing, okay? I know you were just a kid but so was I, and I’m sorry. Now will you please let me tell you something important?” she said.

I rolled my eyes but let her continue.

She let out a deep sigh. “Again, I’m so sorry for what I did to you. It was fucked up and I know that now.” She paused, looking very anxious about what she was getting ready to say. “And I know that because I realized that I’m gay too.”

My eyes widened in surprise. I didn’t even know what to say next.

“Oh,” was all I could muster.

“Yeah,” she said.

“So how long have you known?” I asked.

“I think I’ve always known, you know? But I didn’t really admit it to myself until, I don’t know, maybe a few weeks ago? It’s still pretty new to me, but I just knew you were the first person I had to tell,” she said.

“Well, I appreciate your apology,” I said. “And I’m glad you can finally be yourself.”

“Can you forgive me, though?” she asked.

I hesitated. “I think I need a minute,” I said, and excused myself to the bathroom.

I splashed some cold water on my face to try and ground myself in reality. The whole situation still felt so surreal. It was hard to believe that Julia was in my living room. I genuinely believed I would never see her again. Forgiveness was hard, but deep down I really did miss her. It would be nice to have her around again.

I looked back up at myself in the mirror. As the water droplets rolled off my face, I couldn’t help but notice that the features I once thought were all my own actually belonged to Julia, too. Normally I would say that we didn’t look alike, but for the first time in my life I could actually see it. Our hair was the same shade of chocolatey brown, our lips curled up in the same way, and our noses had the same narrow slope.

I heard the front door open and close before I had the chance to leave the bathroom. I ran out quickly, but she was gone. On the coffee table, she had left a note. Please call me when you can, her scratchy handwriting read, along with her phone number scrawled across the bottom. I ran out into the hallway to see that she was on her way out, about to round the corner out of my sight.

“Hey!” I yelled out to her. She turned around. “I forgive you!”

She smiled and ran back towards me. She enveloped me in a hug with a warmth I had not known from her in a very, very long time.

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About the author

Abbey

Creative Writing major looking to share my stories with the world.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insight

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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