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by Cezarija Abartis

No, it’s not my fault, now Mama will punish me and I didn’t mean to do it and neighbors will think I’m a bad girl and no it was an accident and I’m innocent and it wasn’t like I killed anybody, I didn’t mean to break the bowl and I’ll save my allowance and buy another one, but no, Mama will say it was her grandma’s and there’s no replacement of such a treasure because her grandma died and is in the cold dark ground from which there is no escape, no salvation, no joy and all we have is what we have above ground under the sun and moon and I once said that the gravestone is under the sun too but she looked at me as if I was crazy-insane and told me to go take a nap in my room and turn off the light and see if I wanted to talk back to her anymore but I wasn’t talking back and Mama paced on the carpet up and down and then she telephoned Daddy and said her uncle in Ireland had died and she hadn’t seen him since she was a child so why was she upset I wondered, lots of people have died, and of course we all will die and be put in the ground—I know that and nobody gets out alive Daddy says—but all I did today was brush up against the bowl and maybe it’s true I was mad at my sister and maybe I flicked my arm at her but she had called me a stinkybreath who would never find anyone to love me, nobody never, and my arm lashed out and pushed the bowl off the mantel and it didn’t even touch Molly, who laughed at me and said now I was in real trouble and she would go tell Mama who would for sure ground me for a month and I hate my sister and hope she dies the death and I know Mama will forgive me and I will collect up the broken pieces and put them on a newspaper so she can see I’m sorry and yes I love her and Daddy but not Molly who I will forever hate, well maybe not forever, and yes, maybe I’ll forgive her, I am a saint, I am a good girl, yes, I know she’s an ignorant foolish person, yes, and I’ll forgive her, yes.

Author's Note

On was posted a flash prompt to write a story as a one-sentence paragraph that meandered (thank you, Kathy Fish!). I wrote “Sisters” through several drafts and responses to the encouraging and demanding readers on Zoetrope and the Internet Writing Workshop (thank you, kind reviewers!). I wanted to end with "yes," acknowledging Molly Bloom's soliloquy, the first one-sentence monologue I read, ah, decades ago (thank you, James Joyce!).

Cezarija Abartis has published a collection, Nice Girls and Other Stories (New Rivers Press) and stories in Baltimore Review, Bennington Review, FRiGG, matchbook, Waccamaw, and New York Tyrant, among others. Recently she completed a crime novel. She lives and writes in Minnesota.

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