She sat on the floor of her parent’s closet searching for words. There had been an accident, she knew that; but nobody was hurt. She knew that she was not driving, but she knew that her lack of responsibility did not excuse her from the blame. This was absolutely ridiculous. She had to fix this somehow, keep her parents from reprimanding her sister too severely, keep her sister from what seemed like an impending nervous breakdown, and somehow manage to prevent the inevitable familial implosion. After all, it was only five days before Christmas.
This was not going to end well. She knew that she was going to have to handle the situation herself, since her less responsible counterpart was clearly not capable of solving the lovely conundrum into which she managed to place herself. The pressure of responsibility weighed heavily on her shoulders. She hadn’t the slightest notion how to handle the situation, yet it was left up to her to come up with a solution. What was she to do? She felt completely trapped in an un-winnable problem. Considering her options, she realized that any direction in which she moved, she was going to cause damage. She could attempt to cover for her sibling and take the blame herself, or try to soften the impact of the scenario, but that seemed doomed to fail miserably.
Just then her sister pounded her way into the closet where she sat mulling her options. She looked at her sister’s face, and understood the anger and fear and violence expressed on it with a sense of assuredness, but felt no emotion. The girl sitting on the floor watched as her sister’s jaw muscles tensed and released, watched as her lips darted with irate words, watched the face skew itself into some unrecognizable misrepresentation of the person she knew. Yet in spite of the presence of a scenario in which equivalent desperation would have been the appropriate response, she was aware only of a low, throbbing numbness. She understood the predicament perfectly well – if she had one talent, it was recognizing the circumstances of a situation quickly and clearly – but she still felt nothing in the way of sympathy. Her sister had an unintentionally cruel inclination towards putting her into positions like this frequently; now, she felt she had solved quite enough of her sister’s problems.
Watching her sister’s rabid caricature launch into yet another tirade, she felt only the lack of compassion. She listened quietly to the seemingly endless stream of verbal abuse, but did not hear a word. Her sister had managed to put herself into another tiresome predicament, and yet again she was expected to solve it; but this situation was different. There was no possible way that she could be at fault, since she was not driving; no possible way that she had caused these results. Her sympathy well was bone dry, and, knowing that this was an unfixable, unmovable, unchangeable scenario, she simply let the situation lie.
She sat and listened to her sibling rant endlessly without feeling anything for her or expending the energy to process a single word. The girl felt that she was unable to move, yet strangely enough she felt no desire to even attempt to think of a solution. It was about time that her sister was served justice for her irresponsible actions, but she never for a moment felt hatred or schadenfreude – just the reassurance that retribution for irresponsibility was occurring.