Small Gifts

Small Gifts (March 2020, Week 2 Day 5)

“Fran, what are you doing?”


“You are so doing something. I can hear you.”

“Shut up. I’m not doing anything that you need to worry about.”

“Who said I was worried? Do I sound worried?”

“You sound annoying.”

“That’s not very nice.”

“Neither is nosing into stuff that isn’t yours to nose into.”

“I don’t know how I was supposed to know that I wasn’t supposed to know if I didn’t know what you were doing in the first place.”

The silence that filled the room made Nell smile. Outthinking her sister was almost better than knowing what she was doing. 

“You’re so annoying.”

“So you mentioned.” Nell reached over and flicked on the light that sat on the bookshelf behind her bed. It made the room glow in a warm pink that gave her sister’s eyes an extra twinkle even as they glared at her from across the room. “What are you doing?”

Fran slapped the bed before throwing off her comforter. What she had been doing came into full view. “This. But it’s still totally none of your business. And don’t say anything to Mom.”

Nell leaned forward to see what her sister had in her lap. “A present?”


“Were you opening it or wrapping it?”

“What does it look like?”

Nell crossed her arms. “Well, as I didn’t see it until this very instant it’s a bit hard for me to glean what might have been happening in the dark. You could have been turning it around, looking for the very best possible piece of tape to remove first.” 

Fran had this weird habit around opening gifts. She would never just tear them open like you were supposed to – she always had to inspect the wrapping and touch each piece of tape. There was some set of criteria that, no matter how much Nell teased her, Fran kept to herself. The search could take three minutes, or it could take close to an hour. The current maximum, because of course Nell kept track, was forty-eight minutes and had happened on Fran’s fifteenth birthday. 

The flush that filled Fran’s face that had nothing to do with the lamp-light proved to Nell that she already had the answer. She continued anyway. “Or you could have been fumbling with tape that’s still out of sight to wrap up some naughty gift you didn’t want me or Mom to see.”

“I hate sharing a room with you.”

“Like it was my idea.” 

Nell had moved back into their shared bedroom a few weeks ago when their grandma broke her hip. Sharing a room with your big sister when you were fourteen and she was seventeen was, so far, the worst thing that had happened to Nell. She imagined that Grandma’s hip hurt more but wasn’t entirely sure that was true. “Nice deflection, by the way. I’ll leave you to your naughty package. I wonder who you’re going to find to open it.”

“It’s not something naughty. And stop saying naughty – that’s a stupid word.”

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