My twin was stillborn. It is all I can think of as I hear the footsteps. One by one, they are the patter of little feet; wet on tiles across the kitchen and then slightly softer as they move up the stairs towards the bedroom. There is a soft clanking sound and the void of fear between each of my ragged, icy breaths.
“Hello…?” I try to call but it comes out hollow, as if there is no air in my lungs, “Hello?”
I am sure that I hear a distant scream and a cold wind sends chills down my spine.
One by one, the little feet step forward feeling their way. I can remember the childhood with two loving parents. Teddybears and presents; sweet cake and dentist visits. Warm sunshine in the park with the coolness of the lake water. I can see the first day of school and the childish fear of the playground filled with strangers.
“Is that you?” I am sure that I hear a distant voice call, it sounds filled with fear and makes the hair on the back of my neck rise, “Is that you, little sister?”
One by one, the little feet step forward, softly crunching on the hard carpet lining the corridor at the top of the stairs. I can remember the first kiss from a boy and our tears when it ended. The darkness and light, the smoky bars and the fast cars. The warm silence of the library when studying. How the light from the full moon broke through the curtain at night and scattered the bed with glowing patches creating a halo around my beautiful sister.
She is lying there in the bed, but she is wide awake now. She is reaching for me with pale, moonlit arms as tears run down her deathly-white cheeks.
“Sister? Sister, is that you?” I am not sure if it is her speaking or me. The room feels cold, like a grave, or is it me that is so cold?
I reach out to take hold of her hand, but I pass right through it. She shivers, tears still streaming down her cheek. She is speaking quickly, words tumbling out. Her ruby red lips are moving quickly but I cannot hear what she is saying. I lean forward to try to hear, and that is when I see–or feel–the cold chains covering me.
“Little sister, it is not your fault. I will always love you,” she is saying again and again as tears keep streaming down her cheeks in the silvery moonlight, “Little sister, it is not your fault. I will always love you.”
One by one, the memories start to crystallize. I remember watching her naked, bloody and screaming as she left the womb. I watched as she grew up loved by two warm parents. I was there as she ran through the park, splashed in the cool lake and made her way through school and then varsity. How many nights did I just stand there watching her sleep, I do not know? I have been there all the time watching the sister–my sister–that was born. Watching my sister that existed.
Because I am the sister that did not.