My distant relationship with my sister — a result of the COVID-19 quarantine


Irene Sheen

Sisters junior Michelle (left) and freshman Irene Sheen haggle over a Choco Pie snack, one of many tiffs they’ve had since the March lockdown.

Irene Sheen, Special Sections Editor

“Where are you going?”

“To my room, obviously. Where else would I be going?” my sister retorted.

“Are you not going to clean up? So you’re just going to leave the dishes like that?” I responded. “Seriously?”

“What do you mean? If you have a problem with that, why don’t you just do it yourself?”

“I literally did the dishes last night. It’s your turn. Go!” I interjected.

“You’re younger, so obviously you should be doing it,” my sister stubbornly said.

Like this, our petty quarrel about doing the dishes prolongs for another five minutes, all thanks to quarantine. 

COVID-19 and its lockdown has me suffocating.

While family bonding is great, being cramped inside the house with my family members all day long drives me crazy — especially with my sister, who’s two years older than me. Our relationship isn’t necessarily deteriorating, but two months into lockdown, it began evolving into daily cat fights between 6-year-old elementary schoolers.

It’s always about who gets to eat the last cookie or whose turn it is to wash the dishes. She does everything in her power to get out of doing all the dirty work, leaving it up to me, the vulnerable younger sister, to clean up after her mess.

While attempting to fix a problematic sister remains difficult, sometimes a bit of blackmailing solves the problem, like threatening to eat the last ice cream bar that she’s been saving up or to expose her secrets to our mom.

Before COVID-19 hit, our sisterly relationship seemed considerably better, with less tension than now.

Perhaps our fights have become excuses to pass away our boredom, or maybe it’s simply the lack of privacy that comes with our uncomfortable proximity and constant room bombardments without a notice.

Nevertheless, quarantining with my family for nine months has made me sensitive to trivial matters especially — toward my older sister.

Once school began in August, it became both a safeguard and a threat to our petty bickering.

Because we’re so busy in our own rooms attending classes or completing homework, we don’t spend as much time together as we did over the summer. That’s a benefit for the both of us, since it prevents unnecessary clashing.

But with the addition of school and its heavy workload comes stress, which inevitably makes us more irritable and intemperate. And contrary to past school years, the awkward adjustment into distance learning and the rapid change in environment also posed as a serious stress factor. 

We’re already burdened by our closure; imagine the non-stop squabbling with all the stress that whirls around us.

To say the least, I seriously need some space!