Phone rang. It broke the silence of my seething rage. Its high piercing sound irritated me for some reason. I wanted to scream. Lisa wouldn’t normally cause me to feel that way (maybe it wasn’t just Lisa, but she had been getting to me recently). As twins, we were supposed to share a special bond, and usually, we got on really well. Despite being only four minutes older than Lisa, I often felt strangely protective of her. With curly blonde hair and brown eyes, we looked totally identical, but the similarities ended there. Lisa’s favorite word was change; new outfit, new boyfriend, new hairstyle, and so on. I was calmer. I had two very close friends – Hannah and Angie, and a steady boyfriend – Adam. That was another part of the reason why I was at home and in such a state. I had just got to the party, after being held up with my friend Laura, who was upset about family problems. Things between Adam and I had not been going well recently, and tonight he had arranged to meet me at six, so we could talk. It was nearly seven. I feared the worst, but friends do come first.
However, I was not prepared for the scene that met my eyes. I stood transfixed. Something sharp went straight through my heart. There stood Lisa and Adam, alone. Two of the people closest to me, I could not believe it. I ran. A huge bubble of emotion was trying in vain to escape from within me, but it didn’t seem to know-how. I could feel tears welling up. I wanted to scream, hit someone, collapse in a heap, and break down and sink into the ground all at once. Then my emotions quieted and he silent tears began rolling down my cheeks. I reached the deserted bus stop, when the bus came that was deserted too. My whole life seemed deserted. As soon as I was home I dialed Hannah’s number then the grim realization hit me: All my friends were at the party, my parents were out, my older brother – Phil was out.
A fresh wave of rejection, anger, betrayal, and total emptiness swept over me, and suddenly I felt very tired. I peeled off my clothes and went to bed. How could Lisa have done that? It wasn’t something she would do. Borrowing my clothes? Yes. Shirking chores? Yes. Forgetting favors I asked her? Yes. Trying to sort out my love life with some crazy scheme and making it worse instead? Yes. But stealing my boyfriend? No. Adam? Did the last 10 months mean nothing to him? What about all the special times we had shared together? What about all the “I love you”? I felt the bubble return. That was when the phone rang. I left it to ring. It cut off, and then rang again.
This time I answered:
“Hello, is this the Scott house?”
“Who am I speaking to?”
“Alison? This is Hertfordshire police”
What on earth could the police want? A new emotion hit me: Fear. I listened with trepidation.
“There has been an accident on the railway bridge; Blue Ford Fiesta, young driver, medium build, blonde curly hair. We believe it to be your sister”
Lisa. It was Lisa.
“Where is she? Is she ok?” I asked.
“She’s at Princess Alexandra Hospital. I think it’s best if you get yourself up there as soon as possible. Your parents are there already.”
I ended the conversation.
I walked over to Sarah’s to see if her parents drive me. I didn’t think about it, I just did it. I couldn’t think. Val and Mike were out. I went over to Helen’s. Helen’s mum asked no questions. I couldn’t have answered even if she had. She drove me in silence. It was only a twenty-minute journey although it seemed to last forever. I was not crying. A strange numbness had come over me. I couldn’t think or do or feel anything. There seemed to be a gap where my stomach was and my heart was beating so loudly the whole of Sawbridgeworth could probably hear. Finally, we reached the hospital. Helen’s mum put her arm around me and led me. Somehow she knew where to go. All my resentful thoughts about Lisa had melted. I felt empty, small, and absolutely terrified. I found myself sitting in a green chair. It was a sick green, the green you always find in hospitals. I could see my dad looking grave, his arm around my mum, who was silently crying. Suddenly I noticed there was an arm around me, it was Adam’s. I shook it off.
A doctor stood by me; he held a glass of water and a small round white tablet. He was telling me to take it.
“Where’s Lisa?” I asked
“They did all they could for her. She wanted to tell you something. She kept calling “Ali, Ali” all the time she was conscious. She said that she loved you. We think she was driving to see you. She was driving very fast, the roads are icy” He said
He didn’t need to tell me anymore. I knew. Lisa. Lisa was dead. Lisa was dead. It was my fault. I began to cry.
“Ali, take the pill. You need it” It was Adam’s voice. I could see Charlie and Amy sitting by him, looking concerned and upset. There was something odd about that, but I couldn’t figure out what.
I couldn’t take the pill. They didn’t understand. I had killed my sister. If I hadn’t gone off she never would have driven to see me. They couldn’t make me take drugs to numb the pain until there was none.
“Alison, this is hard enough on your parents as it is, takes it for them” coaxed the doctor.
I looked at my dad
“Ali, this is hard on all of us, especially you, take the tablet, darling,” he said in a hushed tone.
Time passed in a blur. I had no idea if it was day or night, or how long I had stayed in my room. My mum kept bringing me those white pills. I was numb. I slept, cried, and just sat for hours, overwhelmed by shock, guilt, and sheer emptiness. One morning my mum came in and asked me to come and see Lisa’s room. I followed her and my dad. For no apparent reason, I was now feeling scared. My mum opened the door. It felt as though it symbolized something but I didn’t know what. I gasped. Lisa’s room, usually strewn with clothes, makeup, and everything else under the sun, was tidy. Moreover, all her stuff had been removed and it had been redecorated. I couldn’t take it. I broke down. Lisa was like my other half, I was incomplete without her. It was like being half dead. My dad looked at me; I could see it hurt him even to do that. Would it always be like this? Would I serve as a constant reminder of Lisa?
“Ali,” a voice called. It was a familiar voice. It was Lisa. Was I dreaming? I closed my eyes and opened them again. I was lying in my bed. Lisa was shaking me.
“Ali, you left the party. I didn’t get a chance to tell you…”
I just looked at her, utterly bewildered. I reached out my hand and touched her.
“You’re alive, “I murmured.
She looked me briefly as though I was insane, then carried on,
“Adam was waiting for you, and you didn’t come. It was my fault things were going badly between you two, so I pretended to be you to make it all better. I was going to tell you, but I couldn’t find you. I worked out what you saw, and I’m sorry.”
“But Lisa, you’re alive” I stammered.
This time she looked at me even more quizzically, so I explained what had happened down to every last detail.
“Ali,” said Angie gently, “it was a dream, it must have been. We’re all fine, your mum and dad are out, and remember Charlie moved to Belgium in August.”
I was totally dazed. I felt as if I had been asleep a few hundred years, instead of a few hours.
“So Lisa isn’t dead and she never went with Adam,” I said uncertainly.
“I can’t believe you even though such a thing!” exclaimed Lisa. “Oh Ali, I’m so sorry”
“Everyone’s downstairs, I’ll go down and explain. You come when you’re ready,” said Angie.
I couldn’t restrain myself any longer. I whooped and threw my arms around Lisa, who looked shocked but pleased. My relief was so immense. I would never hate Lisa again. I was close to euphoric. I slipped my arm through Lisa’s and we went downstairs. Amy and Miranda had made up some sandwiches, and after all that had happened, I think we all needed them. I was still incredibly tired, but I felt the sudden urge to hug everyone. My emotions were running so high. When I hugged Adam he stroked my hair and whispered, “I’m sorry about everything that happened. I love you.” Before I knew it he was kissing me deeply.
Charlie phoned to say “Happy new year.”
Everyone looked so happy now. As Lisa said, “It’s like a dream.”
We all laughed. It felt so good. Relief.