Three years had passed since I’ve had the first vision of my death.
Lauryn and Ashland were turning four in a few months. They grew into tiny people and I could only recall fragments of their lives. The identities had taken over more times than I cared to count, creating distance between me and my family. Tevin was no longer the patient and kind husband I fell in love with. He was, now, always on edge and second guessed me as a mother. He would say, “I’m not keeping a close eye on the girls when they are playing”, “I’m not teaching them enough”, “I don’t know or remember the daily routines or the twin’s favorite snacks”. He knew I couldn’t recall because someone else took my place, but that fact didn’t seem to matter anymore.
The twins and I didn’t have a traditional relationship. I found myself watching them from afar. I wasn’t sure if I watches them to study their behaviors or, if I was trying to engrain moments into my long-term memory to never forget. Lauryn was the vocal child. She knew what she wanted and was a bit bossy. She loved animals yet hated bugs as much as I did. Every once in a while, I found her staring off into nothing. I wondered what went on in her mind during those instances. Strangely, when she became aware of the world that still existed around her, we locked eyes. When that happened, I felt like she was peeling back my many layers and peering in the core of my being. My hairs would stand on end every time. The brief moment passed just as quickly as her eye diverted away from mine. Ashland was much more docile than her sister. Being the second born, she followed the stereotype of following along with what the older twin wanted. She reminded me a lot of myself. I, too, was the second born. She was quiet but witty. If she disappeared for longer than ten minutes, it was because she snuck away to bury her head in a book. Funny enough, her definition for personal space invaded everyone else’s and she was unapologetic about it. Tevin was her hero, as my father was mine. It amazed me to see the parallel between the two of us. Despite all of my observations, I kept them at arm’s length. To say that, may be too generous. The distance was similar to a cousin; that one only sees and shares conversation with at family functions. It was apparent that they feel it too. They both loved Tevin wholeheartedly and tolerated me.
Due to the frequency in which my personalities emerged, I was forced to stay home with the girls and that frightened Tev daily. However, none of them have brought harm to our children, as far as we knew. If my personalities weren’t the threat, why were the girls still a threat to me? I’ve watched my murder replay in modified ways at least twice a year. There was never an indication of who had the gun or who had the knife. Sometimes only one twin was there and other times they seemed to work together. I haven’t actually seen myself dead, however, I wanted to believe that meant I could live in the end.
“Mom?” The tiny voice called out to me.
“Lauryn is doing something bad.”
Ashland pointed in the direction of the kitchen. I thought to myself, Was this it? I slowly raised from my seat, walking from the living room, headed towards the kitchen. The smell of gas was pouring into my nose. Alarms blared in my head before the carbon monoxide sensor could sound. Lauryn had her back to me, playing with the stove dials.
“Stop! What are you doing? Are you freaking crazy?” I shouted.
Her tiny body jumped at the harshness of my voice. Before then, I’d never talked to either of them in that tone or manner. I snatched her away from the stove and turned the dials off.
“Don’t you ever touch that ever again. Do you hear me? Answer me!”
Her eyes tripled in size, nearly bulging out of her head. Heavy tears began to fill them and she cried. I kneeled before her, holding on to her arms.
“You scared me sweetie. I’m not mad. I just don’t want you to hurt yourself.” I confessed.
My words are only half true. Of course, as a mother, I didn’t want her to harm herself. As a person fearing for their own life, I was also concerned for myself.
“Ouch! You’re hurting me,” she spoke through her wailing.
My grip on her fragile arms was tighter than it should’ve been. I let her go. Instead of consoling her, I stood up and walked back into the living room. I was in a state of shock, though to many, it wouldn’t have been perceived that way. I looked back into the kitchen. The two of them held each other the way I should’ve held Lauryn within my arms.
I’ve learned two things that day. I knew which one of them wanted me dead and there was a potential of me harming them as well. ~
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