Let my heart be broken
by the things that break your heart,
Friday, 27 October 2017
Do the Twins Miss Each Other?
Excerpt from the Upcoming book Emily and Alice
Margaret lifted anxious eyes to the sky. Lord, what am I supposed to do, she cried inwardly. The sky looked innocent enough, a few cottony clouds floating by; they weren’t the cause of her turmoil. She wrung her hands in anguish then realized they were still stuck into her slightly shabby gardening gloves. With a sigh, Margaret dropped to her knees in the handkerchief-sized garden behind the tall Victorian style apartment and dug out a thistle. Her mind wasn’t on what she was doing.
Soon the children would be home from school and she must be composed before then. But how could she be? She had been having a peaceful morning with her -turned-six year old but all changed. Alice had been chattering away about what they would do when David and Sally came home from school ‘for good’ and the holidays began in a few days. Margaret knew most of it was fanciful thinking but she liked listening to the lively little girl’s chatter, who wasn’t really her daughter but fostered.
The happy mood continued over the noon hour. Alice didn’t protest being told to rest for a little while since they had walked earlier to the shops in downtown Halifax.
It was after her nap the trouble started. “Mommy,” she called, “I had a dream.”
A dream? a dream? Not one was funny or interesting or scary? Margaret went into the storage area, turned bedroom and pulled the shade up. The sunlight streamed across the rumpled bunk, single at the top and twinned at the bottom.
Alice’s beautiful blue eyes drifted shut then she opened them again.
“I dreamed I had a twin,” She stifled a yawn then sat up.
Margaret’s heart clenched and she sat down beside the precious girl, reaching for her hand. “Care to tell me about it?”
Alice leaned her head against her shoulder.
“She was small, like me, and had red hair like me, but it wasn’t in curls like mine. She had two long braids. They f’opped over her shoulders an’ she got no bangs.”
“You mean she didn’t get hurt?”
Alice shook her head and touched her forehead. “No bangs like me,” she explained.
Margaret felt the colour drain from her face. “Anything else?”
“I was looking in a store window and she looked back at me.”
Margaret was about to say it was her reflection but Alice wasn’t done.
“She looked like me. She looked sad, we both did.”
“ Why do you think you were sad?”
Alice shrugged. “ I guess ‘cuz we didn’t know we were so close. Even our dresses were the same, “ Alice continued. “They were like my first day of school dress.” She bit her lip. “I think you called it a gingham. The green one.”
Margaret swallowed but made herself respond. “’That’s interesting. Did you like dream?”
Alice shrugged her shoulders. “Kinda. But kinda not.”
Alice gazed into her mother’s warm brown eyes. “When I waked up I felt like crying. ” She flung her arms around her mother. “Mummy, I wish I had a twin!”
Margaret stroked her daughters’ long, curly hair. “I think a lot of little girls dream of having a twin. I wanted a sister, badly, when I was a little tyke.”
“But dream Mummy,” she looked up at her Mother again, “Like in sleep-time dream?”
“That is strange, “ Margaret murmured, “Very strange.”
As she twisted one of Alice’s shiny curls around her finger, there was a faraway look in her eyes, her cheeks were pale.
Alice lay her head back on the pillow murmuring “I’m still sleepy, Mommy,” so Margaret tucked a light throw over her and said she would be in the garden.
That was fifteen minutes ago and Margaret still wasn’t in control of her emotions.
Deep down she knew why. With every passing month, no, week even, she felt condemned for not encouraging Marita to break the wall of silence between herself and Randall. Many times she had taken out paper and pen to write 'you must tell your husband Emily is a twin, you must get your daughter back,' but it was too hard, she couldn’t bear to let Alice go, and she knew the rest of the family would be devastated also.
Davy had been tossing the ball up in the air on the way home from school and catching it with his gloved hand until he caught sight of Margaret with a watering can. She was sprinkling their elderly landlady’s petunia-lined walk.
“Hi Davy, how’s my boy?”
“Fine.” I guess.” Oh, no, Mom’s been crying. I wonder what happened.
“Can I have a peanut butter sandwich?”
“Of course, son.
“I meant to make some peanut butter cookies since I know you love them so much but it didn’t get done.”
“’That's okay,” Davy muffled so low he doubted Margaret heard him. He kicked at a pebble on the cement sidewalk then glanced once more at his mother before turning the corner of the house and pounding up the stairs.
“Davy, you scared me!” Alice’s giggle floated through the open kitchen window as Margaret put the trowel and watering can away. She was about to join her children in their hot, stuffy apartment but old Mrs Bentley poked her head out the back door and invited her in for a cup of tea, she couldn’t say no.