002 - Complicated
(Jimmy's Note: This is fictional. I don't actually have a younger sister, and I am not the narrator. The narrator here is a 15-year-old teenage boy in suburbia. In reality, I am born on the year 1992, and I live in an apartment.)
I looked at myself from the reflection of the glass sliding door at the front porch as I brushed my scruffy, messy black hair with my fingers that have been so calloused from years of playing the guitar. I looked alright to myself even though there are some things that I really didn't like such as my rather frail built, but I know that I simply can't have everything, and neither can anyone else. I sighed in boredom and sat on the rocking chair right beside the door and picked a book from my backpack for me to read. I had been ready for school since a while ago, but there is just one person who often takes too long to get ready, sometimes causing me to be late for school. Yes! My younger sister is driving me mad sometimes!
I wasn't really that focused on the book that I picked. It was just some boring algebra textbook, after all. My mind often wandered off to various, often more important, things that aren't even related to the book.
I really have no idea why everything always has to be so complicated for her, such as getting ready for school. For her, it was never really as simple as getting up in the morning, eating breakfast, bathing, putting on shirts and pants randomly taken from the closet, lacing up shoes, and brushing the hair. No! For her, she has to always get dolled up, as though she is attending the Oscars everyday in school.
There are just some things about most girls that I will never really understand, such as why they go to the bathroom in droves and then complain about long queues, whine about an outfit from their seemingly endless closet that is 'so last season', or why they cake their faces with makeup in order to look almost inhuman, like a Barbie doll stuck inside Uncanny Valley. Whenever I would muster up the courage to ask, they would often explain to me that all the ridiculous things they are doing are part of the 'girl code', and nothing more, as though it is some sort of Bible to them, just like how those conservative religious fanatics justify their homophobia. As simple as that explanation might sound, it's actually quite complicated for me. But then, I always wondered who was that asshole who wrote the mostly absurd stuff there. I reckon that the writer is probably some sexist douchebag who dictates the rules of how 'proper' girls should act. And if this is how proper girls should act, I guess the proper girl is not my type. Whatever. I guess that is something I should not really care about, seeing that I am a dude.
I decided to put the book back in my backpack and go back inside the house. Mom and dad were in the dining room, and they were having a conversation about diet pills and emetics that mom found under my sister's mattress and how my sister has been losing weight, seemingly exponentially. I've been noticing the weight loss too, but I decided to remain silent about the entire issue. I thought it was just my sister dieting like most people who care about their health.
I thought it was none of my business at all, but no longer. I knew that I had to worry about my sister already when I started to notice her bones showing through her skin. What if something nasty happens to her if she carries on? But just when I was about to eavesdrop on the conversation, being the concerned older brother that I am, I heard the loud steps of my sister's pink high heels against the wooden, mahogany treads of the staircase behind the lime green sofa where I sat.
"I'm ready for school!" she finally said in a seemingly-faked enthusiastic manner.
"Well then," dad said as I stood up from the sofa and went with dad and my sister to the red sedan parked in the garage.
She looked as dolled-up as she usually would, face full of make-up as though the school dance is everyday, hair dyed platinum blonde instead of her natural black, and an almost-skeletal body draped in the trendiest dress style that I see in every window of every shop of every mall my family goes to on the weekends. My sister is such a shopaholic who is so wrapped up in body image issues that sometimes, she would skip lunch and use the money to buy clothes. At first I thought being a shopaholic was normal for girls, seeing that there is obviously more variety in women's fashion, which I find complicated in itself. But I knew now that she is going overboard, with a room filled to the ceiling with fashion magazines. I understood eventually that she wants to emulate those size zero models who often graced those glossy pages. However, what I really don't understand is why she is doing all of this. Was it because of an obnoxious, little boy she wanted to please? Was it because, apparently, looking like a skeleton in a nice dress is in vogue? I thought of all these things as I observed the moving sceneries from inside the car.
The day went by as usual for me in school, but as soon as my sister and I got home, my sister didn't even go eat dinner with the family anymore but went straight up to her room. For the whole time, she was looking down at the ground and concealing her face with her handkerchief. I knew that something was horribly wrong.
"Son, please tell your sis that it's meal time," mom said. "When I say that it's meal time, it's meal time."
"Okay," I replied as I left the dining area and went up to my sister's room only to find that the door is locked.
"You okay in there?" I asked worriedly, even though it was obvious that she wasn't okay.
There was no reply. There was only a deafening silence emanating from the room.
"Okay, this is unusual," I said to myself. "She would usually play some pop music from this room whenever she stays in here... As annoying as her music is, I'd rather hear those boy bands on repeat than this eerie silence."
I kicked the door in order to catch her attention. There was still no reply. I felt my heartbeat speed up in anxiety.
"What if..." I thought to myself. "No! This can't be! She's only thirteen! Sure, I may be a bit obnoxious to her sometimes... But no! This can't be happening!"
I ran down the stairs and heavily panted as I got to the dining table.
"What happened?" mom asked anxiously. "Son, you look like you've just run a marathon! Where's your sister?"
"Mom..." I replied. "I don't know how to say this, but..."
"What is it?" dad asked, also as worried as mom is.
"I tried to call her to mealtime, but she would not reply. I tried more drastic means such as kicking the door, but she didn't answer. She didn't even tell me to leave her alone."
"Let me handle this," dad said, leaving mom and I on the dinner table. The soup was already getting cold. I attempted to grab a serving, but mom stopped me.
"We eat together as a family," mom said. "This is to ensure that your sister gets a fill of today's meal, and besides, studies show that eating as a family increases the chances that we all stay together. You see, we're all getting worried about her obvious eating problems that she insists on keeping to herself."
"But why does everything have to be so complicated for her?" I finally asked. "You have once been a girl, after all, so maybe you would understand."
"Media often places those ridiculous standards of beauty that affects young girls the most, seeing as their minds are as easily reshaped as modeling clay," mom replied. "We live in a cruel, patriarchal society. Back in my day, real curves were in the vogue. I don't know how it all came to this now, though..."
"No!" Dad shouted all of a sudden, and cut mom's explanation short.
"What happened?" I asked worriedly. I felt my whole body shaking as I prepared myself for the worst. I was almost certain that she has done the unthinkable.
Mom and I hurriedly went up the stairs. Dad was just standing by the broken door, frozen in horror. The sledgehammer he used to force the door open was next to him. Mom and I immediately went into the room.
"No!" I shouted in anguish as I looked at the frail figure hanging from the black vintage chandelier over the hot pink bed. She was so thin that the chandelier was strong enough to carry her weight. "This can't be!"
Mom started to cry on my shoulder. "She was only thirteen!"
I found a piece of folded paper under the lifeless body, which must be the suicide note. I unfolded it to find out what it says. There wasn't any other writing on it, but the words: