“Aspasia, I have to go pick up your Dad. Watch Ann, ok?”
I grunted in the affirmative and continued stomping on koopas, briefly glancing over at my 3 year old sister Ann. Tanna was home from college and far better equipped to watch a toddler, being twenty two years old, but Mom had asked me to watch her. It didn’t make any sense. I went back to concentrating on my game.
A few minute later, after clearing two or three levels, I looked up from my game again. It was far too quiet.
“Tanna,” I yelled, “ Is Ann with you?”
Tanna walked over to the door to the living room and said, “Nope. Weren’t you supposed to be watching her?”
“Yea… she was here a minute ago.” I got up and turned off my game. “She’s probably in her room.” Up the stairs I went, calling Ann’s name. Not in her room, or the room I shared with Sam. Back down the stairs I went, calling Ann’s name again. Not in Mom and Dad’s room. Not in the den or either bathroom. Shit, where could she have gone? She’s 3 and I was only paying attention to my game for a few minutes, she couldn’t have got far.
“Tanna, I can’t find her.”
“Shit… ok, come on we’ll look outside.”
So outside we went and I started scouring the yard, the neighbors’ yards, the building where the landlord kept his tractor, yelling her name the whole time. Nothing. I started getting really worried. I knocked on the neighbors’ doors to see if they’d seen her. I walked down to the enormous Baptist church and searched all over their parking lot, the cemetery, the trees. Nothing. She wasn’t answering my constant calling of her name and no one had seen her. I was on the verge of tears. What if she’d gotten hurt? Mom and Dad would murder me, but I didn’t even care about that at this point. I just wanted to know she was ok. The tears spilled over and began streaming down my face.
As I made my way back from the church, I looked back hoping I’d just missed her sitting near a car or a fence post or something. I didn’t see her, but on the highway past the church and down a hill, I saw Mom’s huge blue conversion van. I was done for.
I was about halfway home when Mom pulled into the driveway and passed me. I continued trudging up the driveway toward my doom as the van came to a stop. As I approached, I saw Mom and Dad get out of the van. Then, Dad reached back in and pulled out… Ann!
Tanna was standing with them cracking up. Dad tried to keep the ruse going by claiming he and Mom had picked Ann up down on the highway on their way home. I. Was. Livid. They had made me sick with worry. I had been bawling as I searched for my little sister, and the entire time she was with my parents?!
Apparently Mom and Tanna didn’t think I’d been paying enough attention when Mom asked me to watch Ann. Tanna had suggested to Mom that she take Ann with her and they would see how long it took me to notice. I think they were trying to teach me a lesson, and I’d like to say that this incident made me realize how much I loved my little sister and that I needed to pay more attention when I was supposed to be watching her. Unfortunately the only thing that was going through my mind when Mom and Tanna explained what they’d done was how unbelievably fucking evil they were.