Silly Parts Talking Emo
The big brother in me is just a wee bit embarrassed, but what can I do? She's eleven, after all, and when I was eleven, I was listening to Whitney Houston and MC Hammer.
We were in the kitchen. Briana was watching as my other sister, Nerissa (23), was preparing the desserts. Our mom (43) go ahead and do the math was getting the turkey ready.
I was crying (the onion I was chopping up for the stuffing was incredibly strong) when I asked my mom if I could play a CD.
"Yeah, but why are you crying?"
"This onion is making me sick."
"Yeah, right. You're crying because you miss...."
"Well, I do, but, seriously: there's something wrong with this onion."
"You should have told her to come over for dessert."
"I thought about it. I really wanted to."
"You should have. When are you going to bring a girl home? I need a friend. I want someone to talk to and go shopping with."
"Mom, you’ve got me," Nerissa laughed.
"It's not as easy for everyone as it is for Nerissa," I returned. "Some of us go from one relationship to the next..."
With my teary eyes, I threw a sharp, but playful, look in Nerissa's direction.
"...while others," I continued, "spend lots of time in between alone."
"Years and years and years, it seems," my mom agreed.
Briana laughed: "You're making him cry more, mommy."
"Whatever. Put some music on."
"Alright, I brought some stuff that I think you'll like. Where's the CD player?"
"Briana, where's the CD player?"
"Hold on. I'll get it."
Briana ran downstairs into the basement and came back hauling a three-foot tall, blue and silver monster: a television screen for a head, a CD slot for a mouth, and two cassette decks for feet.
"What the heck is that beast?"
Confused, Briana replied: "It's my CD player, brother."
"That thing? That's a karaoke machine."
"I know it's a karaoke machine. It's a karaoke machine, and it's also my CD player."
"What? We can't listen to music on that thing."
"You've become a music-snob, Stephen," Nerissa said.
I thought about it.
"You might be right," I said.
Briana plugged the karaoke machine in.
"It’s all I've got," she said.
"Then tell mommy to buy you something new."
"She wants an iPod for Christmas," my mother said.
I turned to Briana: "Here, put this in."
I handed her Sufjan Stevens' Illinois.
"What the heck is this?" she mimicked me, giggling.
"It's good. You'll like it."
Two minutes later, Briana had her arms crossed and eyes screwed.
"I don't like this," she said.
"Why not?" I asked, disappointed.
"I don't know. I just don't like it. I like punk rock."
"You like punk rock? This is more punk rock than anything you listen to, little girl."
"It is?" she asked, sincerely.
I wasn't even exactly sure what I meant, but I stood firm: "Yes."
Finally finished with the demon onion, I walked into the bathroom to wash my hands, dry my eyes, and blow my nose. Two minutes later, I walked back into the kitchen to find that Sufjan Stevens had been replaced by Fall Out Boy.
Or was it Blink 182?