It was her funeral. I had been sitting in our room, sleeping in her bed and wearing her pyjamas for a few days now and I wasn’t planning on getting up to change and go to her funeral. I couldn’t even think her name let alone say it and see her coffin in front of so many people. And I didn’t want all the people there to see me cry. I didn’t want any of them to see me cry when I was supposed to be the twin which never cried, the twin who barely showed emotion and the one who was always there for Ali.
I ended up changing and going to the funeral. I broke down before I even made it into the church. The image of my sister hanging from a ceiling fan was burnt permanently into my brain and I took one look at the coffin and saw her face in my mind. Her dead face. There was nothing that took it away and even when Carrie took me by the hand and literally dragged me into the church, I still could only see her face.
I was expected to give a speech. I wasn’t sure that I could hold it together but I wasn’t sure that I was expected to hold it together. I was confusing myself and then I heard my name. I heard it twice. And then I heard my name called for a third time.
“Ariela, get up there, you can do it.” Words of encouragement from Carrie and Samantha, they didn’t help.
“It’s alright Ariela.”
“You’ll be alright, Ariela.”
Ariela, Ariela, Ariela
That’s all I was hearing. I stood up. I walked to the place where the speeches were said. Mum just said one. I gazed at the closed coffin and then glanced around the room.
“Ariela, Ariela, Ariela. That’s all I’ve been hearing. But in my mind, I’ve been reversing my name. Why? Because my name backwards spells Aleira, and her name backwards spells out mine. There is nothing that will make me forget the image in my head. I was the one to find her. I was also the one to scream and mourn for days on end.”
I paused to get a good look at my friends. Carrie and Samantha had watery eyes and Iris’s face was hidden by her hands. In her hands she held a tissue, which later turned into a box of tissues. She looked up for a moment, seeked out my face and then returned to her sobbing.
“I look in the mirror sometimes. I see me. But I also see Ali. And when I wear her clothes- like this dress for instance…. It makes me feel like she is alive and I am the one who is dead. I feel like, being the older twin- by a few seconds- I didn’t do enough to take care of her and I should have been there for her always but I wasn’t and now she’s dead…. And I can’t do anything to reverse that.”
I wiped the tears from my face.
“We used to joke about how we could do what we wanted now because we had our whole lives ahead of us and now I have no one to say that to anymore.”
I wiped another few tears and closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them again, my mother and a few more people who I didn’t even know had joined the crying club.
“I loved her more than anything and we shared a bond and now that bond is gone and I feel broken. Like a part of me has gone away somewhere we don’t understand. We don’t know why she did it. But she left a note. Not a long one, only a few words.”
I took a deep breath before reading out the words from her note. I had memorised the words.
“Nothing is endless. I know that now.”
At those words, I broke. I fled from the podium thing and ran out the doors.
I ran to the only place where no one I knew lived.
I ran to the only street I could be alone.