Chapter One My dad didn’t even stay to watch me leave. He’s the one making me go and he couldn’t even wave goodbye. I hate him. He never cared about who I am or what I want to do with my life, he’s just sending me away to some grandmother I’ve never met so that he doesn’t have to “worry” about me when his new job moves him to Japan. I was supposed to go to NYU. I was supposed to be a dance major and join the American Ballet Company. I wanted to make my own money and finally get out of my dad’s cold, empty apartment. But he just couldn’t let me do what I want. No money for college, no downtown apartment, no car, nothing. He’s just so selfish, I hate him. And when I get to Georgia I’m just going to have to find my way back to New York, where I belong. I don’t even know my grandmother, Ophelia Davis. Dad says she’s sick or something but I think it’s just part of his excuse for getting rid of me. I don’t get why he couldn’t have just given me money for college and sent me on my merry way. Sure, I wasn’t the best student and I got in a lot of trouble, but I still kept my grades up. And more importantly, no dance company is ever going to notice me if I don’t have some kind of credentials. This has been my dream since I was a kid and he’s just throwing it out the window because his own job is more important to him. I wish I had a mom to talk some sense into him. The train ride is long but peaceful. There’s no one in the cab with me so I drift in and out of sleep, dreaming of dance recitals and grocery stores. I’m supposed to get a job in Ft. Bosher, but I refuse to work in the grocery business. The train attendant disrupts my thoughts when he passes by to offer me snacks. He asks where I’m headed and when I tell him he says he knows the area pretty well. Apparently it’s a harbor town with lots of fisherman. Probably smells like fish everywhere you go. He asks who I’m staying with; this guy is quite the Chatty Cathy. He knows my grandmother though, says she’s a great woman and what a tragic thing to lose her daughter the way she did. Now he’s got my attention. “What happened to her daughter?” I barely manage to say in an audible tone. He stares blankly at me for a moment, as if deciding whether or not he should tell me. Was it really that bad? “Well it’s a pretty rough story, kid. But basically, she got pregnant right outta high school; typical right? Well she and her guy were actually for real, you could see the love for miles away, they made everyone believe in that fairy tale stuff, ya know? So she’s doing fine at first with the babies and then a couple months before she’s due, she got real sick.” I’m hanging on his every word now; did he just say, “babies?” as in more than one? Or is his southern accent just thicker than I’m used to? “So she’s in and out of the hospital for those last couple months and the docs just don’t know what’s wrong with her. I heard it was some kind of blood disease thing and she didn’t have enough to keep the babies healthy, or somethin’ like that. She ended up delivering a month early and was in and out of consciousness for hours after the birth. I heard the father and Ophie were in the room singing to her while she died…really heavy thing to handle if you ask me.” I have no idea what to say. He definitely said babies. My dad told me she left us; he never said anything about what this guy just told me. Maybe he’s talking about an aunt I didn’t know about? There’s no way he’s talking about my mom.“Do you remember their names?” “Uhhhm…hmm… I remember her boyfriend was in my cousin’s class…Nathan something I think. And what was her name? Ophie was really big into flowers; I think her name was a flower…like Rose, or Violet, or …” Oh crap.“Lily?”“Yes! That was her name! Lily Davis. Boy, was she a looker. And smart as a whip, too. She was always reading them really fancy books, like Shakespeare and stuff. Actually I think she named the babies after Mark Twain characters. But you hear all kinds of things in a little town like that. Great place, though. Enjoy your stay!” And with that, the goofy cart boy continued down the corridor, having not the slightest clue that he had just completely turned my world inside out. I have so many questions now. At least I know now where I got the name Finn from. Maybe my dad sent me down here so I’d finally find out who I am? But why not just tell me himself? I guess going through something like that would make it hard to handle, especially if they were as in love as Cart Boy said. But still, I’m his daughter. Apparently not the only one either. I could understand keeping what really happened to my mom from me, but not telling me that I have a twin?! Or even separating us to begin with! Why would he take me but not the other one? I wonder what the other ones name is. Do I have a brother or a sister? My head is about to explode from so much thinking I just let myself nap again for the remaining hour. Hopefully all my questions will be answered as soon as I get into town. Chapter TwoOf course no one is here to greet me when I get off the train. I guess the old lady’s too sick to welcome her long lost granddaughter. And since there are no taxi’s in sight, I guess my best bet is just to get directions and walk. 52 Park Place, Ft. Bosher, Georgia, my new home for however long it takes until I can get back to New York. After a couple wrong turns and some stupid boys who gave me incorrect directions, here it is. The big, white, Victorian plantation sits at the end of a long cobblestone driveway, staring at me as if it finds delight in my torment. One bag in each hand, I walk down the driveway, taking in the rather beautiful front yard. It’s huge. There’s a row of giant willow trees on either side of the driveway, all perfectly symmetrical, leaves blowing gently in the wind. Underneath the last tree on the right is a wooden swing, slightly creaking as the breeze pushes it back and forth. I stop short when I look to my left and see a small gravestone at the base of the tree. Of course I walk over to it, expecting to see the name of an animal like Skipper or Pumpkin. The stone reads, “Our Dearest Lily,” and my stomach can’t help but climb into my throat. Here I am, standing at the grave of my dead mother, a place I never thought I’d see. A couple fast tears drip down my cheek and I try to collect myself. “Miss, can I help you?” I’m interrupted by a voice coming from behind me. It sure doesn’t sound like an old woman; maybe she’s actually a lot better off than my dad led on. I turn around to face what is actually not an old woman, but a young girl who looks identical to me. “What the fuck?!” I can tell by the look on her face that she is just as shocked as I am. I try to move but find myself unable to control my muscles. She makes her way down the steps and stands maybe ten feet away from me. I still can’t think of anything to say. What do you say in a situation like this? “Hey, what’s up long lost identical twin I never knew existed?” What a Kodak moment this is.“Um, this is weird. Who are you and why do you look like me?” She sure does have a way with words, this one.“Well, obviously, we’re like twins or something. My dad sent me down here for the summer but I’m guessing Ophelia didn’t tell you.”“That’s not possible. I’ll go get my grandmother.” Not possible? What other explanation could there be? I mean , come on, we’re identical. Same cinnamon red hair, light freckles, and blue eyes on five foot six inch bodies. Her hair is straighter and her boobs might be a little smaller, but overall it’s uncanny. I’m still standing in the same spot but I figure I should probably make my way inside. As I head up the porch steps, though, I’m confronted by a lean-figured, beautiful older woman coming towards the doorway. And she does not look happy.“What are you doing here and why didn’t Nathan call me? Smug bastard’s gotta lotta nerve sending you down here unannounced. Now you just better start explaining yourself young lady. Are you in some kinda trouble? Is Nathan in trouble? Oh I could just smack him silly for this!” These two are just great with conversation. I take a few steps back and drop my bags, pretty fed up with the attitude when I haven’t even done anything wrong yet.“Well my name is Sawyer, by the way. My dad said that you were expecting me. I can see that’s not the case and trust me I don’t want to be here either. I had no idea about that one and I sure as hell would also like some kind of explanation. Who the fuck separates twins?! And why didn’t either of us know about each other? What the hell is wrong with you people? And no, neither of us is in trouble. My dad got promoted to some dumb job in Japan for the next year. And instead of just paying for college and letting me go, he sent me here to keep me out his hairs while he’s gone.” It all just kind of comes out in a big jumble of words but I can tell by her expression that she does not enjoy my swearing. I turn around and start to walk back down the steps. As I descend she reaches for my shoulder and tells me to wait. “Now just hold on, darlin’. Aint no way I’m lettin’ you go that easy. What we need to do is to just sit here and have a nice long talk and everyone can say what they need to say. I’ll call your dad later and give him a mouth full, you can bet I will.” Calm, but not pleased, I follow Ophelia and my new sister, whose name I still don’t know, into the house. I leave my stuff by the door in case I decide to take off later on in the night. We all take seats in the living room. The whole house smells of cinnamon and salted meat. It must be close to dinner time. There’s a hushed clinking noise coming from the back; this woman has nearly ten wind chimes hanging on the back porch or from trees in the back yard. From where I sit I see a big oak in the back with a tire swing attached. It’s so different from the city I grew up in. No tall buildings, no taxi cabs, no theatres or studios. And as far as restaurants go, I saw some local seafood place, go figure, and an Applebee’s. Not even a fast food chain or a mall. But at least they have Walmart.As I remove my jacket and attempt to get comfortable on the lumpiest couch known to man, I notice “Ophie” and Twin ogle at the butterfly tattoo on my right shoulder bone. I’d bet it’s safe to say there are no tattoo parlors in this town either. At least she can’t see the lion on my thigh right now. I’ll brace myself for that conversation later. Right now all I want to know is why Twin and I were separated, why my dad left at all, and what this chick’s name is.“Soo, do you have a name?” Since is probably the simplest of my questions, I just go ahead and say it.“Sawyer. Like the Mark Twain character Tom Sawyer. You?” Now this is just funny. Of all the Mark Twain characters our mom could’ve named us after she just had to choose to boy names. “Finn. Like the Mark Twain character Huckleberry Finn. Did she know she was giving birth to girls?” Though it sounds totally serious when I say it, the three of us can’t help but chuckle a little. Our first real bonding moment, how sweet. Now back to reality. “So mom died of a blood disease after giving birth?”“Well she’d been sick for the three months prior to your birth, and you were born a month early as well. But essentially, yes, she died in the hospital shortly after your birth.” I can tell bringing up the memories is hard for my grandmother, but this is something Sawyer and I need to know…although I’m not even sure if Sawyer’s as in the dark as I am about all of this. But I’m curious to find out how much she knows.“So do you already know everything, then? Except about me, obviously.” I’m not sure what to make of her yet. She seems kind of shy, but she doesn’t at all seem surprised or shocked or anything. She’s very stoic, like a Greek statue.“I knew how mom died and that our dad left because he couldn’t stay in town and be reminded of how he lost her, so he left. He sent us a post card from New York after he arrived, but that was the last time we heard from him.” I can tell that my grandmother has something else to say by the way she stiffens as Sawyer finishes. “Uhm, that’s not exactly true, dear. Now this may be bad on my part. Your father and I didn’t want the two of you growing up feeling abandoned by each other, but he couldn’t bear to leave you both behind, nor could he afford to take both of you with him. So we each kept one of you and agreed to reunite the two of you when you turned eighteen. We’ve kept in contact to inform each other of how you girls were doing in school. Finn, you have no idea how much worry you’ve given me in the past, with all that hoodlum activity and whatnot! And Sawyer I’m sorry I never told you, but you were always so focused with your studies, I didn’t want you to worry and slip in school.” Again, I’m at a loss for words. My dad’s been talking to this woman about my sister and me for eighteen years and never told me. Never gave me the chance to visit or get to know them. “Grandma, I’m not upset with you. I know you were both just trying to do what you thought was right.” Does this girl have an angry bone in her body? “Are you kidding me? We’re fuh- I mean, freaking twins for crying out loud! And they separated us without even telling us the other existed! How can you be so calm about this? You should be pissed at our dad! I’m pissed at him! And you! I can’t believe you two thought that was actually a good idea! And besides, if you said you had planned to reunite us now, why were you so mad that my dad hadn’t called you to tell you he sent me here?” There’s still so much that doesn’t make sense. I want to know who my mom was, what she was like, what dad was like at that age. He must’ve been a lot different then if Mom was as in love as everyone says. But I guess losing someone would kind of change you like that.“We had agreed that he would come down with you when the time was right. He was not supposed to just send you here unannounced. And I don’t care if he did get some new fancy job in Japan, a call would’ve been nice. I know this is a lot to take in, and I’m sorry it’s happened like this for you girls. It’s going to be a lot to adjust to, and the two of you have a lot of catching up to do. Now I know you were probably planning on sneaking back to New York, don’t think I didn’t notice your bags still by the door, but I’d really love for you to stay and get to know us. We can make this into a really good year for us all if you give it a chance, dear.” This woman is a walking Hallmark card, I swear. But she does have a point. And as much as I already miss the busy city life, I’m flat broke. I’d have to stay and work for a few weeks anyway to even buy a bus ticket. So I guess I’m stuck here. I might as well try to make the most of it. “Alright, fine. Just save the Lifetime movie bit for your knitting club. I’m not forgiving you or my dad just yet, but I do appreciate you letting me stay. So, which room is mine?”Chapter Three Morning hits me like a car on the freeway with my bed facing the window. I’m gonna have to do some rearranging because waking up at 7 am will not work for me. Technically it’s still summer, so it’s been a long time since I’ve been up this early and I’m not ready to start again. After I remember where I am and the events of yesterday, I’m surprised to find that it wasn’t all a dream. I have a twin sister, no mother, a new grandmother, and apparently my dad was an asshole my whole life because I remind him of the woman who broke his heart when she passed away.
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