by Janae Mitchell
Sarah lived a lonely life, ordinary in its routine. Wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep. That was her existence.
She welcomed the solitude. Being alone meant no one could hurt her again.
After escaping a life of abuse from the ones who were supposed to love her the most, she accepted her fate.
She was even thankful for it... especially on the bad days. Being alone meant there was no one to judge her.
You see, ever since she was a little girl, she's been forgetful. Not simply forgetting little things, but entire days.
She was good at blocking out reality ~ forgetting ~ but as she got older, it became a problem.
Something she'd lived with her entire life ~ that had always been her normal ~ was becoming a huge problem. You can't live day to day, trying to work and maintain a life on your own, when bits and pieces of it are missing.
The gaps in her life were no longer welcome and actually beginning to scare her, so she decided it was time to get help. Sitting down to research her best options left her feeling even more lost and afraid.
It said she may need rest, get more sleep, and to not drink alcohol or take sedatives, which didn't apply to her at all. It said she may have anxiety or depression, which sounded more like a possibility, but she was afraid to talk to a doctor about it, not wanting to be seen as weak.
So she did nothing.
Unlike Sarah, Nicole had decided early on to never let anyone control her ever again. Unlike Sarah, Nicole was a free spirit.
Even though Nicole was Sarah's twin, she'd never had to endure the abuse and torment Sarah did. She was the lucky one. The strong one.
She enjoyed company and was often the life of the party, smiling and laughing, thinking nothing of her sister. Her sister might as well be dead to her. Sometimes, she wished she was.
Sarah was weak and Nicole refused to let their past and Sarah's view of it pull her down. Sarah wouldn't let her save her then and she wasn't going to waste her time trying to save her, now.
Nicole continued to live her life apart from Sarah, no longer having comforting talks like they did when they were little.
No longer trying to rescue her when she wouldn't rescue herself. No longer trapped by their past.
Even though a small part of her missed Sarah, she was glad to be free of her. Not completely free, but free enough... for now.
Unable to tolerate it any longer, Sarah gave in and called her doctor, but dreaded having to share any part of her past. She'd have to, though, so they'd know her history ~ know she wasn't weak.
She wasn't weak, she was damaged. There was a difference.
She thought she'd put all the broken pieces of her life ~ of herself ~ back together, but with so many pieces missing, they never really fit.
The reflection of her life always seemed distorted, but she had hope that the doctor might be able to fix it. Fix her.
But she never made it to the doctor's office.
"Where am I? What's going on?" Sarah cried hysterically, having no idea where she was or how she got there. "Help me!"
Every inch of her was in pain and, as she scanned the room, her bed, and her hands, she realized her wrists were bruised. "What's happening?" she whispered through lips that felt dry and cracked. "What's happening to me?"
A nurse came in and paged the doctor, who tried to explain to Sarah what had happened, since the last thing she remembered was sitting on the side of her bed, safe and sound at home.
"You are in the psychiatric unit at St. Luke's Hospital for evaluation," the doctor said. "Your behavior was so erratic that the police said it was protocol before they could proceed any further."
"The police?" she asked as she held her knees to her chest, still terrified. "I don't... I... how did I get here?"
"You don't remember how you got here?" The doctor glanced over at the nurse before looking back at Sarah. "You don't remember anything at all about being brought in here?"
"No." She couldn't think. "I... I forget a lot, though. I...."
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Sarah. My name's Sarah."
"Sarah?" The doctor gave his nurse another curious look. "Do you know who Nicole is?" he asked, causing Sarah to shake her head and throw herself back against the bed.
"Nicole? No, I don't know any Nicole." Her panic was escalating.
"So, you don't know a Nicole at all?" he asked again, jotting down notes in his file.
"No, my name's Sarah, not Nicole," she replied, still shaking her head. "Who's Nicole?" As she repeated the name, it sparked something ~ a memory, maybe?
"Please... just tell me what happened."
"Well, when the police brought you in, that's who they said you were ~ Nicole Lambert. That's what you told them your name was." He sat down on the edge of her bed and took a sip of the coffee he'd placed on the side table.
"You were so combative with the police, they had to handcuff you, but you and I made a deal, so I requested they be removed. You calmed down, then." He sat his cup back on the table. "I appreciate that."
Sarah stopped crying and wiped her eyes, her demeanor radically changing, which the doctor quickly noticed. "Sarah, are you okay?"
"I'm not Sarah."
"I'm Nicole. I'm Sarah's twin."
"Her twin?" The doctor started writing in his notes again. "But how is that possible? Where did Sarah go?"
"I killed her."
"You killed Sarah?" he repeated in a soft voice, like he was talking to a child. "But she was just here, in this very bed, talking to me." Even though he was a psychiatrist, her answer still took him by surprise.
"But she's not here anymore. She's gone." Nicole took a deep breath and smiled. "She's not coming back. I'm truly free, now..."
"...and so is she."
The doctor never spoke to Sarah again. Nobody did.