The Limit

25 January, 2021

Just say it, I silently reminded myself. You know you’ll regret it if you don’t.. This has been the story of my life since I can remember. I always said, “Of course, I love your food, grandma!” even when her old age made it difficult to differentiate between salt and sugar.

“No, you don’t need to go shopping for me. I have enough clothes.”, I would say, dismissing the fact that I had been wearing the same 3 t-shirts in a loop.

“Yes, I understood the lesson.”, I said, trying to hide the half-drawn diagrams in my notebook because the class moved too fast for me.

It’s just…I have always been a low-maintenance person; the person that never complained; the person that was likeable because of it. This has led to some issues, of course. And, I have sought help for it too. But that has mostly led to a change only in thinking, not in practice. Now, I think like an individual who respects themselves and knows they deserve to have their views and feelings considered. But that doesn’t stop me from getting mini anxiety attacks when I even think of asking for a second serving of lasagna at the dinner table.

Say it. You can’t let her say these words. Not in front of you. Well, I guess everybody has their limits. But, even then, I try to think of ways I can avoid saying this; avoid the can of worms this will surely open up. My friend, Jane, once told me that I shouldn’t think about what I’m going to say. “Just say what comes to mind. That’s my motto in life. Don’t care about what others think.” I took that advice for a while and it worked fine until the day that she got suspended from school for saying a cuss word in front of Sister Amelia. I reconsidered a lot of advice from her that day.

I try thinking of the exact words I want to say, letting my mouth get ready to say the words. They sound a little angry, but even as I try to rephrase them, I can’t think of a better way to say this. I think and think and think, but the same exact words keep coming back to my head in a rush. I try thinking of politer words I can insert that make me sound more like my usual quiet self. I get a little further this time. Now, that I have the exact words dangling from my lips, I look her in the eyes—my sister, the girl I grew up running around the house with, the girl who stole clothes from my closet to look more grown-up and smile internally at the memory. I still can’t believe the words she just said. They make me feel like I’ve been living in sin. But I know I’m right! I open my mouth and…

Hesitate

Is it really worth it? Should I say this even as I know that she won’t believe me? That she’ll call me a liar and a monster? Am I prepared to undergo the consequences that my words will surely bring? I decide that this, what I was preparing myself to say, was something that she needed to hear. It irked me slightly, that I had to actually say these words. I’ve always thought that we, as a species that has dominated most of the planet and brought all of life on Earth down to their knees, that has sent satellites to Mars and even invented the Internet, would be smart enough to already know the words that I was going to say.

Stop stalling! Just say it! Do you want her to live her whole life thinking these terrible thoughts?

I let her finish ordering dinner for tonight. We’re celebrating her acceptance into college. Pizza seemed a good fit for the occasion. I can’t let her go to college with such backward views. She puts the phone down and looks at me, staring at her face.

“What’s wrong? Did you want to order something else?”

I take in a deep breath and blurt it out.

She looks stunned for a second, but laughs and says, “Good one!”

“I’m not kidding,” I say. Her face falls. She tries to reason with me but I stand firm.

She starts yelling.

My mother walks in and asks us what happened. My sister, already in tears, tells her. She looks devastated, too. She can’t believe the words that have just escaped my mouth. She asks me if this is some weird joke. She asks me if Jane told me to say it and tells me that she’s always hated her, that she was always a bad influence on me. She begs me to forget her, to take my words back.

I refuse.

A single tear rolls down her cheek as she tells me to get out of the house. My father watches, confused, from the corridor as I slam the front door on my way out. My mother will explain it to him later, and I know that he will have the same reaction.

Outside, in the sticky, summer air, I wonder where I went wrong. I did everything I thought I should have to be kind. I phrased my words as nicely as I could, but in the end, none of it mattered. They couldn’t accept me as I was.

But, that’s alright. Not many people understand. Not many people agree.

I take my phone out to call a cab to Jane’s house. She was the one that made me understand in the first place. And I’m grateful for that.

I’m grateful that she finally made me see, or rather taste that pineapple really does taste good on pizza.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

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Author- Vanshika Sood

About the Author

My name is Vanshika Sood, and I’m in grade 11 at Carmel Convent School, where I’m a part of the school choir and the school band.  I love to write short stories which are thought-provoking and often, humorous.

When I’m not writing or singing, I enjoy reading about obscure topics on the Internet and generally learning about new things.

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Published by Lukshita

Using my words to express the feelings of the world...

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