Never Again

“Never Again!” I grumbled, trying like mad to get all the balloons in the bin. They weren’t going to fit, I knew that. I also knew I should puncture them all and look up the recycling rules, but I had had enough for one day.

Never had there been such an ungrateful child, I thought. Yes, she was my sister, and I loved her, but it was getting more than a little tiresome knowing that no matter what she got, it would never be enough.

I had spent days planning and organizing. Mom hasn’t been able to do these things since the accident. She can’t concentrate; she forgets even the overall picture, let alone the small details. Besides, Nancy demands every second of her attention, milking Mom’s guilt over her confinement to the wheelchair.

The accident wasn’t Mom’s fault. But Nancy insists that nothing would have happened to her if she’d been allowed to stay home while our mother went to the grocery store that day. It’s not as if Mom could have known a drunk driver would slam into them when he ran the light at that intersection, but to hear Nancy tell it, our mother destroyed her life.

Honestly, what good mother would leave a five-year-old child home alone?

Nancy wears on my nerves. More for Mom’s sake than my own, I resent her narcissism. She blames her disability, but it’s not true. This is her personality, and she would be the same even if she had full use of her legs.

She didn’t get a dragon. She wanted a dragon. The party was ruined, and it was all the fault of all the guests who didn’t bring her a dragon. She screamed and cried her crocodile tears, pounding her fists on the arms of her wheelchair. Had she been able, she would have kicked her feet as well.

Naturally, the guests fled. Who could blame them?

Knowing full well that I’d be returning in an hour to deflate them, (there are laws regarding the disposal of balloons, I’m sure) I left the mess at the curb and stomped into the house to confront my bratty sister and my poor, befuddled mother.

No more birthday parties for you, Nancy.

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