One Less

I could feel the exact moment when my twin sister died. Abigail and I were always like that, we always knew, in some capacity, what the other was feeling, or if we were thinking of each other. So when she died, I felt it like someone who had been reading over my shoulder for my entire life had just turned away. It wasn’t a sharp or frightening feeling—quiet, actually, like a whisper. I had been sitting in our bedroom. It was getting cold, so I shut the window, and felt in the returning of warmth that she was gone. I knew before my parents. I remember descending the stairs and hearing them in the kitchen, making dinner and joking. They smiled at me; my mother brushed my hair back. I couldn’t say anything.

Abigail was supposed to be on her way back from rehearsal for our school play. I stepped outside, and everything seemed to be floating and silent. It was a car crash. I waited about a minute, until I saw the first police car drive by. The screen door opened behind me, and my father wondered out loud what it was headed for. I still couldn’t say anything. The calls came three minutes later, and then the fragile air that had sheathed my house the moment I first felt her leave seemed to shatter into a million fine shards.

The hardest thing about it was trying to sleep in that half-empty room. Abigail’s things still hung on the walls, her sheets were still crumpled from the morning when she’d gone to school and hadn’t made the bed. Abigail never made her bed. After the funeral, my parents wanted to take all her things down. But I wouldn’t let them. Every night since then I slept in Abigail’s bed. And every night I would wake up in the dark and stare across the room to my lonely half and pretend like I was Abigail missing me. Abigail was always better at dealing with her feelings like that. I bottled them up, but Abigail was a firecracker. She always said what was on her mind and in her heart. Only she wasn’t saying anything anymore.

If I were Abigail, I would have been crying, I thought. So I thought about crying. And I thought and thought but I couldn’t get any tears to come. I thought about crying until morning, and then I thought about it during the day. But I didn’t cry. When summer came, I still didn’t cry. I kept the window in our room open all the time, and slept in Abigail’s bed. I wore her clothes. She always had the nicest summer dresses, and a floppy straw hat she had bought for herself last winter and had worn it every weekend since, no matter the weather. It just sat on a lamp on her dresser now.

People kept asking me if I missed her. I never knew what to say, because they couldn’t understand. They had never known Abigail like I did. How could I miss her? How could I miss her when I saw her in the mirror every day? I didn’t understand how you could miss someone when you had an exact copy of all their DNA. I was Abigail and Abigail was me. I would never miss her. Sure, we couldn’t catch each other’s eyes across the dinner table anymore, and I would never have to refuse her requests to borrow my hairbrush again. But that didn’t change anything. If death convinces you that a person you love doesn’t exist anymore, then your relationship with them was probably pretty flimsy to begin with. There were a million Abigails scattered across every inch of our room. Every tube of lipstick, every summer dress, every crumpled sheet. Abigail was everywhere.

So, yes, I could feel the exact moment when my twin sister died. But I never lost her. There was only one less Abigail to talk to.

Carly Racklin loves storytelling in all its forms, but is especially passionate about the fantastical and the visceral. When not writing, she can be found drawing, playing video games, or plucking at her guitars. She is usually thinking about birds.