My Twin
Jordan, Age 15, Portola Valley, CA

I fell asleep to the smell of death and incurable sickness that ravages the innocent. I awake in a stiff chair holding the hand of my comatose sister. Her breathing is irregular and spasms of coughing rack her body with each breath. Her hand is so small in mine even though mine is no bigger. Her face is empty. I can’t remember when there weren’t sketches of black and blue under her eyes. They call her ‘sleeping’, but I know she’s really not. She is fighting but even Cora might be losing. I hurt to see my twin alone on the unforgiving hospital bed so I climb up next to her. I hug her and don’t let go. My embrace is what’s keeping her from leaving this world without me. I don’t let go of her hand, I grip it tighter.

The leukemia has destroyed my fighting sister. She can’t fight anymore, not like this. After Chemo her immune system can’t fight the coughing sickness. She was so strong but Bronchitis makes her gasp for breath. I protect her now by freezing out anyone who comes near her. I glared at the nurse until she left. She came to check up on my sister, she left beaten by an eleven year old. The dark brown lustrous hair that used to be brushed every night is now spread out on the pillow, unbrushed and dry.

No one expects her to wake up so I am her keeper because I still believe. She has taken care of me all our lives so now it’s my turn. My leg is asleep and as I move slightly, she twitches. I sweep aside the strands of my healthy chestnut hair and my fingers catch my necklace. My fingers play with my necklace feeling the body heated golden letters. She has a silver necklace, one she picked out as I chose mine. Our parents saw them at some dainty craft shop and said to pick the word that described us. She chose ‘princess’ and I chose ‘sister’.

This morning she slapped me because I wouldn’t let her wear mine. Then she collapsed coughing and choking on air. Her immune system has stopped fighting.

I unclasped my necklace and gently clasped it on her. My lips brushed her cheek, an airy kiss. They came away damp, she was crying. Her tears let loose the storm I held back. Even though they gave her oxygen, her body struggled for air. Her eyes flew open and she began to sit up. I raced into action helping her get upright so she could breathe. There was plenty of air but it wasn’t reaching her lungs. I wanted to help her but my arms didn’t reach the call button. I didn’t want to leave her even briefly so I screamed.

After seconds of forever a nurse appeared at the doorway and took one look at my dying sister and brought my parents and the doctor in. I wished I could take some of her pain, I’m her twin so weren’t we supposed to share? An IV attached hand felt for the comfort of her necklace and felt both. She fell back on the hospital bed, and faint words came from her mouth. I leaned closer ignoring my parents standing on either side of the bed and tried to coax her to saying it again. A whisper barely any words at all,” You’re my sister, half of me. I love you” and as she spoke damp lips brushed my cheek, an airy kiss, a whispered goodbye. “We can’t share everything sis”.

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