The Merits of Selective Caring

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It was snowing when I stepped off the bus. Just a soft, dancing snow that melted as soon as it landed. The temperature had been hovering right around freezing all day, though it seemed to have dipped slightly once the sun went down.

I stuck my hands in my pockets and scanned my surroundings as I stepped out of the way of the other passengers getting on and off the bus. None of the faces I could see belonged to my sister. I’d only half expected her to be waiting for me anyway. Her place wasn’t far, and I didn’t mind walking on my own after being crammed in with strangers for the past couple hours.

Cars passed me frequently as I walked, but the sidewalk was mostly clear of pedestrians. The noise of traffic faded once I finally turned off of the main road. It got to be almost peaceful; just me and my bag, and the faint puffs of vapour forming in front of my face in the chilly night air. I was pushing twenty and only just now beginning to appreciate moments like this. There was something beautiful about being separated from people, and screens, and stimuli in general. It was something my child self had never understood.

I’d only been to my sister’s apartment once before, but I had no trouble finding it again. I grabbed the door as someone exited the front of the building rather than calling Jess to let me in. She was on the second floor at the end of the hall. I knocked on the door and a moment later it swung open.

“Oh my god, David! Why didn’t you tell me you were here?”

Jess enfolded me in a bear hug before I could get a word in. Her cheek was so warm against mine.

“I told you when the bus would be getting in,” I said.

“Yeah, but you could have texted me when you were close. I would have come to meet you.”

She pulled back and ushered me inside her small living space. I scuffed my boots on her door mat and set my bag down off to the side.

“I seem to have managed on my own.”

“That’s not the point. Meeting family at the bus station is, like, festive and shit. Traditional.”

“Well, it could be. If it was closer to Christmas maybe. And we were home. This is just a friendly sibling visit. No traditions or festivities.”

“Pssh, whatever. It’s snowing out. That’s festive.”

“If you say so.”

I bent down to untie my shoes.

“Hey, hang on.”


“Leave your stuff on. We’re going out.”

“We are?”

“I’ve got basically nothing for food in here, so unless you’re fasting today…”

“I am not.”

“Then we’re going out!”

Jess skipped away. I sighed and stayed where I was. I hoped she wouldn’t take too long. I was starting to acclimate to the warmer temperature inside, and if I was going back outside I preferred doing it before I got too warmed up.

She came back shortly enough wearing a nicer pair of jeans and a heavier shirt. I shuffled impatiently while she pulled on a pair of boots and a winter coat, then finally we were off.

“So where do you wanna go?” Jess asked.

“I dunno. I don’t know what’s around, and I also had no plans to go anywhere until about five minutes ago.”

“I’ll pick then?”

“Yeah, you pick.”

Jess nudged me, making me turn my head. She gave me a sickeningly cherubic smile. “Din’tcha miss me, li’l brudder?”

Her smile infected me, despite my token resistance. “You know, I really did. I’m glad I decided to come over for the weekend.”

“Me too.” She manoeuvred her arm around mine and walked closer to me, acting as though she was letting me lead her somewhere rather than vice-versa. “It’s pretty out tonight.”

The snow was still falling just as gently as before. It was just starting to form a blanket over the ground. The paths of recent pedestrians and cars were distinct on the otherwise unblemished sheet of whiteness.

“It’s nice,” I agreed.

“I like this time of year. Before the snow piles up and just becomes a nuisance. The first couple snowfalls are the best.”

Jess led me to a nearby diner. I chose a booth that kept us mostly away from other customers. We only just got settled in before the waitress came by with menus and coffee. Jess got a burger and fries. I decided to trust her knowledge of the restaurant’s cuisine and ordered the same.

“So,” Jess said once the waitress left, “how are things?”

“Things are… things. Life is life.”

“Yeah, but really though. How are you doing?”

There was concern in my sister’s eyes. She must have picked up on something in our recent talks. One of my subtle cries for help, perhaps.

“I’ve been kinda stressed out,” I admitted. I clutched my coffee mug tighter, wrapping the fingers of both hands around it. Its warmth felt nice on my skin. “School’s been kicking my ass.”

She nodded. “I’ve been getting that impression. When you start calling and texting me as much as you have been lately, I have to suspect something’s up.”

I flushed. “That transparent, huh?” I took a sip of coffee. “Does that mean I should call more when things are normal, or less when they aren’t?”

“Neither, silly. I like being able to read ataşehir escort bayan you. Most people are way too much work to want to bother with. But then you have to try anyway, because, you know, emotions and shit.”

“Uh… yeah, sure. That.” Some melted snow dripped down the side of my face and I wiped it away. “Do you ever feel like it’s too much? Like there’s no way you’re gonna make it?”

“Sure I do. Less so now, I guess. It helps once you start to figure out which things aren’t worth worrying about.” She leaned forward conspiratorially. “And let me tell you, there’s a looot of things not worth worrying about that we all instinctively worry about anyway.”

“Such as?”

“Well… for instance, your grades.”

“You’re saying they’re not important? Because that seems-“

“No, I’m saying they aren’t worth worrying about. Or, like, what strangers think about you. Or the world’s political situation.”

“Ok, sure.”

“Or whether you’re succeeding at life. Or what the future holds. Or-“

“Ok, ok. Got it. That’s enough of a list.”

“It’s not a very good list honestly. Just what I could come up with on the fly.”

Our food showed up, interrupting our discussion for a few minutes. It was actually a pretty good burger, and the fries were very near crispy perfection.

“Thing is,” I said once I satisfied my initial hunger, “people are always telling you not to worry. It’s easy advice to give. But actually following through on it is a little trickier.”

“Oh I get that. For sure. I wouldn’t expect you to just stop stressing about stuff. That’s something you’ll have to work out for yourself.”

“And do you have any advice for that?”

“Not really. It’s just one of those things. Wisdom that you can’t appreciate until you look back on it later.” Jess paused and cleared her throat. “I once had somebody tell me that high school didn’t matter. You know, when I was in the midst of it. When I thought it all mattered, and I had to do the best I could or else bad things would happen. They were right, as it turns out. I look back and nothing that stressed me out back then matters at all now. Most of it I can’t even remember.”

I chewed another bite mechanically as I pondered what Jess was telling me.

“I think I kinda get what you’re saying. Buuut it kinda seems like you’re suggesting there’s no hope for me yet. Not ’til I’m older and wiser.”

“Not no hope, just… you’re gonna have to figure some things out at your own pace. Everyone has to. It’s part of life.”


“Sorry, this isn’t helping, is it?”

“Not so much, no.”

“Well, I’m also still here in my capacity as your big sister. That doesn’t take any figuring out. How ’bout we put my pseudo-wisdom aside for now?”

“That’d be for the best, I think.”


We took a different, longer path back to Jess’s place. The air had cleared, and the snow on the ground was turning to slush. My sister’s spirit was undiminished. She hummed to herself as we walked along and spent a lot of time looking up at the sky, even though there was nothing to see. Somehow, just watching her in such a carefree state made me smile.

It was nice to spend time like that; with no particular purpose. Not having to be somewhere, not worrying about coursework or studying. Just walking. I didn’t feel nearly as cheerful as my sister looked, but it was something.

My feet were starting to feel the cold by the time we made it back. I was happy to step out of my shoes and let my toes warm up in the heated apartment.

Jess’s first act after stripping her outside layer was to put some water on for tea. I grabbed my previously discarded bag and carried it toward the other side of the room. Once in motion, it occurred to me almost immediately that something was different. The apartment was only one room, not counting the bathroom and a closet, so I should have been able to see everything from the middle of it. Jess’s bed was still there, and her tv, her desk… everything I remembered from my last visit except one.

“Hey, Jess?”


“Where the hell’s the futon?”

I’d assumed I’d be using the same makeshift bed as before, only it most decidedly wasn’t anywhere to be found.

“Oh yeah. It broke, so I got rid of it.”

“It broke?”

“Uh huh. It was old. Second-hand. Or maybe, like, fourth or fifth-hand. These things happen.”

“So where am I sleeping then?”

Jess waved toward her bed in the manner of a model showing off a luxury car to the viewers back home.

“Ok, sure,” I said. “And where are you sleeping?”

Jess made the exact same gesture.

“What, both of us?”

She shrugged. “Or you can have the floor. Your choice.”

“It’s just, y’know, kinda weird is all.”

“Doesn’t have to be.”

“You didn’t think to mention this at all before I got here? Maybe when we were talking about me visiting?”

“I didn’t want you changing your mind over something stupid like that. You needed a break.”

Jess crossed her arms and cocked her head slightly. escort kadıöy Her eyes dared me to tell her she was wrong.

“Yeah, no, you’re right,” I said. I sighed and looked away. “It is a stupid thing to be bothered about. It’ll be fine.”


I wasn’t entirely over my misgivings by bedtime, but I did my best to put them aside. It was entirely possible that any feelings of weirdness I had were nothing more than my own personal insecurities.

I stepped out of the bathroom once I was finished changing. Jess was already in bed. She was on her phone and apparently oblivious to my presence.

“So, uh, bedtime, huh?” I said.

“Yep. Turn off the big light, would you?”

Jess pointed vaguely toward the switch without looking up. I did as asked, then walked over to her. She had chosen to lie on the side of the bed furthest from the wall.

“Scooch over,” I said.

“This is my side.”

“Yeah, but…”

“But what?”

“Nothing. Nevermind. You’re enjoying making me uncomfortable, aren’t you?”

Jess grinned and finally looked up at me. “Sure am.”

I crawled across her to ‘my side’ of the bed. I made sure to dig my knee into her tummy just hard enough to make her grunt. She smacked my hip a couple times until I got off her.

“Oops,” I said as insincerely as possible. “Clumsy me.”

“Very funny.”

There was enough room for Jess and me to lie without touching each other, but only just barely. I adjusted the covers over myself and tried to get settled. It was no small feat to ignore my sister’s body directly next to me.

“Comfy?” Jess asked.


“Good enough.”

She switched off her lamp, plunging the room into near-darkness. The mattress creaked as she got comfortable, then went silent. I closed my eyes and tried to think sleepy thoughts.

My sister’s immediate presence was mildly disconcerting despite my best attempts to get past it. I wasn’t used to sleeping with anyone in the same room, let alone the same bed. Plus there was something intangibly weird about that person being Jess.

“So this doesn’t bother you at all?” I asked aloud.

“Sleeping with my li’l brudder you mean?” Jess replied. “Nah. It’s kinda cozy actually. You’re very warm.”

She rolled closer still, practically right on top of me. Her breath was suddenly hot on my cheek. She lay her head on my shoulder and her arm on my chest.

“Aw, c’mon.” I gave her a small push. “Cut it out.”

“But you’re so snuggly.”

“That… is so not the point.”

Jess propped herself up on her elbow, lifting her weight off me. “Okay, David. What’s up? Something’s actually bothering you, isn’t it?”

“No, it’s fine. I just want to sleep.”

“It’s not fine. You’ve been weird about the sleeping arrangement since I brought it up, and if anything you’re only getting worse.”

“‘Cause it’s weird! We’ve never ever once slept together, and now you’re acting like it’s normal.”

I felt rather than saw Jess’s shrug. “So?”

Her reply left me drawing a blank. It was one of those things I couldn’t really explain. One of those things you should be able to trust other people to just ‘get.’

“So it’s weird,” I repeated, my voice dropping to a mumble.

“It’s new. Different. Doesn’t mean it’s weird.” Jess paused. “Unless your head is going places it really shouldn’t, I suppose.”

“I… what? What kind of… no, don’t answer that.”

“I just mean that if you’re associating me with other girls who have been in bed with you, then yeah I guess that could be weird.”

The dark room covered the flush that flooded my face. Nevertheless, I couldn’t fathom a proper response to any part of my sister’s statement.

“Or… wait. Shit.” Jess cleared her throat. “David,” she said gently. “Have there been any girls in your bed? Is that what the issue is?”

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck. This wasn’t a conversation I wanted right now. Or maybe ever.

“Technically yes,” I managed. “Not, like, overnight. Or for very long. Or… yeah, no, who am I kidding. It hasn’t gone well for me at all.”

“Aw, dude, I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine. Just something I gotta work on.”

“I didn’t mean to… I didn’t want…”

“I know. It’s okay.”

I hoped that would be the end of it. Jess was finally sharing some of the awkwardness I’d been feeling, albeit for somewhat different reasons. That should have been enough to get her settled down. Instead she lay back down on me basically the same way she had before. She reached her arm all the way across me and squeezed gently for a second.

“You’ll like it if you give it a shot,” she said.


“No, seriously. It’s something you should experience. Snuggling with someone while you go to sleep… it’s nice. It really is. Just try it.”

I sighed heavily, but stopped protesting. It was getting to a point where I wasn’t going to win without someone’s feelings getting hurt, and I really didn’t want that.

The situation wasn’t even all that bad. It had become apparent that my sister had every maltepe escort intention of continuing to use my body as a pillow. She hadn’t shifted since our conversation, and she remained partially draped across me. It was still weird, that hadn’t changed, but Jess’s concern for me definitely helped mitigate my discomfort. In its place, somehow, I found that I did enjoy her presence. There was something instinctually pleasant about such close contact with a girl. Even my neuroses couldn’t mask that completely.


I woke up the next morning with no sister in my bed. Somehow that was greatly confusing to me and my not-fully-awake brain-state. Even worse, beyond all reason, I was disappointed. I hadn’t quite managed to figure out how to feel about it last night, but now that she was gone I missed her. I really badly needed to wake up.

My attention was drawn suddenly to the bathroom door swinging open. Jess came out wrapped in a towel, hair still damp. She must have just finished taking a shower as I gained consciousness. That was fine. I closed my eyes again, barely resisting the urge to roll over and go back to sleep. I fully expected my sister to say something; perhaps tease me about sleeping in. She didn’t say a thing, and after a moment I decided I better say something if she wouldn’t.

Opening my eyes again was a surreal experience. Jess was naked. Fully, utterly naked. She’d dropped her towel while I had my eyes closed and now appeared to be selecting clothes for herself. I blinked a few times in case what I was seeing was a hallucination of some sort. It wasn’t.

My sister was like some kind of urban nymph. She stood there, facing away from me, totally oblivious and totally uncovered. I caught flashes of the side of her breast as her arms moved, her pussy peaked out at me between her legs when she bent over, and her bare ass might as well have been shoved right in my face.

The total effect was far more than the sum of its parts. My eyes bounced helplessly from one part of Jess’s body to another, as though unable to process the whole thing all at once. Naked. My big sister was naked right in front of me. That didn’t happen. It couldn’t happen. This was something I was never meant to see.

Jess, somehow unaware of the world shifting to a state of utter madness, casually selected a shirt to wear. Putting it on helped less than I’d hoped. It didn’t cover her up so much as force my mind to jump in and fill in the visual gaps. And it didn’t help at all with her lower half.

I was turned on. I couldn’t help it. My body reacted all on its own without waiting for approval. My dick was so hard because of my own goddamn sister. I wanted to throw up, or scream, or maybe close my eyes and wait to wake up for real. Instead, I just kept watching. I was transfixed, horrified, and aroused all at once.

Jess put on some panties next. I watched, enraptured, as she lifted first one leg, then the other, before finally sliding the garment up into place. She was finally covered semi-respectfully again, but the damage had long since been done. I knew exactly what my big sister’s body, or at least the rear half of her body, looked like.

I was still staring at her ass when she turned her head to check on me. It took me a second to register that I was being stared back at. Our eyes met. I froze, as though if I didn’t move she wouldn’t be able to see me.

“Enjoying the show?” she asked, breaking the silence.

“Didn’t mean to,” I mumbled, my voice barely audible even in the quiet room.

Surprisingly, Jess smiled. Not a big smile, but enough to register. Enough to indicate that she wasn’t upset.

“Have you been awake the whole time?”


“Huh. Guess I should have checked more carefully. Thought I could get dressed before you woke up.”

Jess turned back around and stepped into a pair of jeans. I, unsure what else to do, continued watching her. She then grabbed a pair of socks and came over to sit on the bed next to me.

“Are you okay?” she asked as she dressed her feet.

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?”

She shrugged. “I suspect this is more traumatizing to you than it is to me.”

I examined my sister’s unconcerned face, then turned inward to the twisted pit of guilt residing in my stomach. “You may be right,” I said.

Jess squeezed my arm. “It’s okay, David. It really is.” I said nothing. After a moment she got up and started pulling her hair into a ponytail. “Anyway, I have to go to work. Just a four hour shift. We’ll hang out after, yeah?”

“Sure. I’ll be… here.”

Jess smiled crookedly, then she was moving again. I felt like I should say more, but she was gone before I could figure out what I could possibly add.


By the time Jess got back, I’d pulled myself together a little. I couldn’t get her out of my mind, of course. And as soon as I saw her again several hours later, the image of her naked body returned with a vengeance. But I was coping, more or less. I was able to look her in the eye when we spoke. Small victories were important.

Jess, perhaps sensing my continued brooding, immediately dragged me out of the apartment. I offered a token protest, but was basically fine with not having to make decisions for myself at that point. I went into puppy mode and mindlessly followed my sister wherever she chose to lead me.

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