Author’s Note: I wrote this story with the fantastic help of my Reedsy friend, Maya Emerson. She will be submitting the same story, in her own style and in Cynthia’s point of view. Please go read it, follow her, up-vote her, and like her stories. She deserves it. Also, there will be three headlines in one part of this story, and I found those on the CNN website. I didn’t make them up. Plus, this is my first story of 2021! Yay! Enjoy! :D
“Wooh! Happy new year to us!” Cynthia hollered. I laughed and clinked our beer glasses together before taking a sip. We continued to sit on the couch and watch the excited-for-2021 people on TV. I broke the calm.
“You know what, we don’t have a New Year’s resolution. We should do one together,” I suggested. Cynthia nodded and her face contorted into the “I’m thinking; do not disturb” look. So, I stayed quiet until Cyn snapped her fingers.
“Got it. Let’s try to be less judgemental of other people. Especially since the people here are so… different. We’ll take different approaches, and compare results. I’ll go out tomorrow and start meeting people. What about you?” She stared at me expectantly.
“I guess I’ll research the people in this town and everywhere else on my computer. See what I’ll find out,” I decided. Cynthia nodded and yawned.
“I’m tired. See you in the morning. Well, later this morning,” she laughed. I gave her a small grin as she walked down the hall and into her bedroom.
The next day, Cyn went out to meet people while I sat in the recliner and opened my laptop.
Google… There we go. Now. What should I search first? Probably Northsin, Oklahoma. See what comes up, I thought. And I did just that. Lots of things came up, like the bake sale happening the upcoming Friday, the sale at the flower shop down the road, all of the usual small-town stuff. Nothing interesting. That meant that maybe they weren’t so bad… Maybe. But what if I searched something that applied to the entire U.S….?
So, I searched “recent new in us”. (Yes, I know. I have bad grammar. It was just a Google search, though, so get off my back, man!)
“Proud Boys leader arrested for allegedly burning Black Lives Matter banner at DC Church”.
“A sword taken from a Revolutionary War statue as a prank 40 years ago is finally returned”.
“Los Angeles County ambulance crews are told not to transport patients with little chance of survival.”
Those were the first three headlines that I saw. These people are awful! How could people do that? It disgusted me; I slammed my laptop shut.
A week later, Cynthia is standing in the kitchen and I’m sitting at the dining table. Fire burns in both of our eyes, our jaws set.
“You’re so stupid! Why would you choose to research?! The Internet is only going to tell you the bad stuff about our country! You have to talk to people. You have to meet them, idiot,” Cynthia fumed. I shook my head and resisted the urge to jump up from my chair and scream.
“If anyone is an idiot, it’s you. Going out there and meeting all of those weird, crazy people. They’re probably already filling your head with all of their wrong ways! You’re going to be just as bad as them soon enough!” I shouted back. Tears rolled down her face; normally I would stop and comfort her, but not this time.
“Oh, shut up! Looking at that screen all day has made you go whack. You’re not thinking correctly. Go into town with me, just once. Meet people. Please, Aislado. They’re nice and normal in their way.”
“That’s what they want you to think.” And I stormed out of the room.
One day later, Cynthia and I are continuing our “experiments”. She always came back home cheerful, especially on Sundays after she went to church with those brainwashers. And Cyn stayed in that good mood as long as she didn’t talk to me.
I became grumpier by the minute. Everything I read about the people of the U.S. was atrocious. The world I was living in was horrible. I got barely any sleep anymore--I stayed up, messaging every organization about the things they were doing wrong. I messaged news networks, magazines, and everywhere else. I told them what was wrong with the world, and how they were making it worse.
This happened day after day. Every morning when we woke up, every night when we went to bed. My days got drabber, Cyn’s were getting brighter.
Until that one day.
Cynthia and I were sitting at the peninsula in our kitchen, crunching on Frosted Flakes. Our Amazon Alexa played country music from the other side of the room. The refrigerator made its usual hum.
“What’s happened?” I murmured. Cynthia peered at me from the corner of her eye.
“If you’re gonna talk when I’m sitting right here, at least talk so I can hear you,” Cyn growled.
“What’s happened? What has happened between the two of us? We used to be so close, Cynthia. There was nothing that could separate us before...” I trailed off, unsure of how to continue. Cynthia was silent for a moment, then began her sure-to-be snarky reply.
“That was then, this is now. Now we have two completely different ideas of this world and the only reason we go anywhere near each other is that our parents won’t let us live in different houses. Now, can we go back to not talking? I’m begging you, please let us stop talking,” she snapped. I shook my head and pushed my bowl of cereal away from me.
“No! Even though I see the world differently than you do doesn’t mean that the two of us should hate each other for the rest of our lives! For Pete’s sake, Cyn, you’re still my sister! Twin! Sibling! Whatever! We’re still… together. So, we should set aside our differences and be civilized adults,” I declared. Cynthia looked at me. And she looked. And she looked.
“Well, if we’re going to be ‘civilized adults’, you better start paying more attention to your grades.”