“Ari, a nice young boy is here to see you.” My mother said to me as she came in and sat at the end of Ali’s bed. I was sleeping in it and I sat up almost immediately. My mother smiled sadly as she touched the covers. “He seems much more Ali’s type though- don’t you think so, honey?” Mum’s bottom lip quivered and as she bit it she started sobbing quietly. She stood up and regained her composure. She sniffed into a tissue and looked up at the roof. I knew she was looking at the fan.
“How can you sleep in here, Ari? Isn’t it too painful?” She asked. I nodded.
“But sometimes…. Well….the good outweighed the bad memories in this room. Sometimes I can still act like she’s over at Iris’s house and I’m just sleeping in her bed as usual because I’m lonely.
Mum took a deep breath and told me that she was going to let the ‘boy’ in, AKA Ashton and I got out of bed immediately. I looked at the clothes in my cupboard and then closed the doors. Moving to Ali’s, I saw a pretty long sleeved dress and hastened to put that on. It was way above mid-thigh and I looked at Ali’s cluster of hair bands. I chose one and pulled my hair into a high ponytail. I looked into the full length mirror and then quickly took everything off. I looked like her. I looked exactly like her and it was just too hard. I carelessly chose a singlet and skinny jeans. Ali was the one who wore these last. I took out the hairband and brushed my hair.
There, sitting on the bedside table was something silver. It had caught my eye and, leaving my hair out, I went to find out what it was. It was Ali’s charm bracelet. She never took it off. But now that she was gone…. I was the one who was never going to take it off.
I walked downstairs slowly, touching each of the stairs with my bare feet, knowing that just a few days ago, Ali walked these stairs. None of us knew what she was going to do. That she was going to hang herself on the ceiling fan with rope. I swallowed the tears. It seemed that whenever I was with Ashton now, all I did was cry.
At the bottom of the stairs I stopped to spy on what my mum and Ashton were talking about.
“She was very pretty.” Ashton was saying. I could practically sense the smile on my mum’s face.
“Did you know her well?” Mum said. I frowned.
“Not really. I knew Ari better. But…”
“You were in love with Ali?” Mum said hopefully. Ashton laughed. I could hear him shaking his blonde head.
“No… I know I moved here about two years ago-
I guess I was wrong about him coming here just a year ago. I hastened to keep listening.
-and I’ve only known the twins for about a month or two, but I really think Ari is more the type of girl I’d go for….” I gasped and covered my mouth.
Mum had frozen.
“What.” She said. I took after her in that way.
I decided it was time to make my entrance. I took my time making it to the kitchen and looked at my mum’s fair skin and brown hair and green eyes before I turned to Ashton. He looked the same as always.
Like Ali had described him as a few days ago.
Cute and perfect and concerned, but why was he concerned? He was probably concerned for me- actually probably for my mental health because to be honest I was also concerned with my mental health. I mean who actually thinks to themselves that they are concerned with their own mental health?
That’s right, someone who is not mentally healthy. But who could blame me? My twin sister just died and here I was thinking that a guy looked nice today. What the hell was wrong with me?
Ashton didn’t look a bit embarrassed. I think he knew that I heard him, but he didn’t say anything. I walked up to my mother and asked if I could talk to her alone for a second. Ashton leant against the countertop and waved us on cheerfully. I smiled apologetically at him before ushering my mother into the lounge room.
“Mum!” I said. I was surprised at what she had been saying. She sat down on the lounge. I stood, above her.
“What?” She asked. I huffed and looked around.
“You know, for once, a guy comes to this house asking for me and not for Ali. And you try and turn him toward Ali. Can’t you just accept that maybe I like him too? Maybe you can stop pointing people toward Ali because Ali is gone now. Ok. She’s dead.”
I was yelling at her now. But it had to be done.
“NO MUM, JUST STOP. I WISH THAT EVERYONE WOULD STOP SAYING THINGS TO ME IN THAT SYMPATHETIC TONE AND BEING ALL CHEERFUL AND HAPPY TOWARDS ME. I WISH THAT ALI WAS HERE TOO OK, MORE THAN ANYONE. BUT IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.”
“Ari, stop this, it is nonsense.”
“Don’t tell me it is nonsense, mum, sometimes I think that it would be better if I was gone too.”
Mum stood up and walked up the stairs. In a minute she was back with my penguin backpack. I opened it and saw lots of my clothes and a hairbrush packed tightly into the bag.
“Go then.” She said simply. She led the way to the door and I saw Ashton standing there with his hands in his pockets, ready to go. “Maybe it would be best.” Her voice was a whisper and as I looked at her with awe, I saw just how much she looked like a 38 year old Ali. Familiar tears sprung up in my eyes. Ashton sauntered out the door, probably happy to be out of my house. I made sure he had made it to the white picket fence before I followed him, stopping in a way that Ali did just as I had reached the door.
I bit my lip and looked my mum in the eye.
“She cut herself. You know that right. She tried to kill herself a while back. Then two girls saved her. But they threatened her to keep cutting…. She told me she never told you. But I don’t think you would have helped her. You’re throwing your other daughter out of the house. She would have died anyway.”
I watched mum flinch but she kept staring at me in stony silence. There was no response for me, I figured and at that, she waited till I had walked a few steps back from the door and slammed it in my face. I gulped and turned and ran.
“Hey, hey, Ariel….a….” He had heard everything. I flinched this time and looked desperately at him.
“Please, will you help me, Ashton? I have to get away from here.” Ashton nodded, concerned and took my hand. We walked in silence to his house.
“Ashton, I know you heard everything so I want you to know that I heard everything that you said as well.”
I bit my lip. I had thought that he knew. I nervously stepped over a piece of broken glass that was siting peacefully on the sidewalk. As my own mother had thrown me out of the house (well not literally, I was the one who had walked out) I had been barefoot when I walked out and there was nothing to protect my feet from broken glass.
“This is too complicated.” I sighed. We were sitting back at his kitchen table. “Why can’t I just make a deal with the devil or something to get Ali back and then in ten years, the devil will come get me?”
“It wouldn’t be the devil who made the deal; it would be a cross roads demon.”
I stared at him. Who would know something like that except Ali? She had this obsession for this TV show about Supernatural stuff. It was-funnily enough- called Supernatural. He flinched underneath my scrutiny and shrugged helplessly, orange juice in hand.
“What? I watch a lot of Supernatural…” He said defensively.
I smiled sadly.
It was getting dark outside, a symbol that I had been sitting at his kitchen table for a few hours. Time passes quickly when you are having fun. But it seemed to pass even quicker when I was a sad, miserable, lonely, scared to death, twin-lost, whatever else.
“Do you want to watch an episode of Supernatural with me? Since you are staying here for the night and even if you don’t want to, I will force you. I will call the police and borrow handcuffs and then handcuff you to a bed…. Um….”
I stifled a laugh.
“Wow, Ashton, you really know how to talk to girls don’t you….”
“It’s not that. And I just don’t want you to be alone tonight. Oh god, everything I say just sounds so wrong!!” We both laughed together and he got up and led the way to his lounge room. There in the corner was his drum kit. He put in a DVD and turned the TV on. “Warning, this may scare you.” He said with a smile. I froze and my face crinkled in memory of Ari.