Twins share, they say, a bond stronger than most siblings. I can’t speak to the veracity, but this story certainly does a wonderful job of exploring that theme: “They’re not like puzzle pieces that always fit together; they’re the same shaped piece of different puzzles.” This is one of the most fantastically lovely lines I’ve read in quite some time.
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Read on: it’s worth it.
Life as One by Shreya Tripathy
They are synchronized entities with feet pointed at an eighty-five degree angle. Each identity lifts her leg at the same pace as the other’s shadow. Their dark feathery skirts blend together as they continue to flow throughout the empty dance hall. The surroundings are desolate, and it reminds each of the repetitive lives they go through. Twin girls, born only seconds apart, are exact copies of each other. Since they are essentially the same, they believe there is no real purpose in their lives except to please others.
Their black hairs have all been combed back into a tight bun. There are no stray hairs sticking out to be criticized. Their frail arms softly float through the air and create a melody. The girls believe that they don’t complement each other. They’re not like puzzle pieces that always fit together; they’re the same shaped piece of different puzzles.
The girl on the left’s foot slips on the wooden floor, only a minor mistake. However the pompous woman watching them clicks her tongue and shakes her head in disapproval. Her voice rises like a perfect ballerina’s arms stretching to the ceiling and her back has been set with excellent posture. This woman doesn’t believe in mistakes. She scolds the two loudly in the empty room, her voice reverberating and knocking into the girls’ weak figures. Her judgmental grey hairs don’t move a centimeter as she continues to yell.
The girls start to drift off, and focus their gazes on the dirt in the corner of the room sitting, imperfect, and not having to worry about a thing. No one yells at it. The one who slipped nearly chokes on the irritation that filled the air, restricting them since birth. The other undoes her shoes on the shiny wooden floorboards and leaves them there as she strides out of the hall, ignoring her mother’s words. Eventually the other one leaves as well, leaving the heaving woman with a sore throat and two pairs of worn down ballet shoes.
Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com.
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