--ONE SECOND; I’M GOING TO GRAB A BEER SO I’LL FEEL RELAXED AND TELL YOU ALL MY SECRETS
…It’s so quiet right now, this morning, that all I can hear is the fain whir of my computer. Outside my window is a swirling coil of nearly invisible gnats. It looks like gossamer.
…Doesn’t feel like Wednesday. Doesn’t feel like anything, really.
…I had this published yesterday at Doorknobs and BodyPaint:
Afterward, there was an exchange of promises: we would no longer be twins. No more matching outfits, matching hairstyles or hair color. One of us would get tinted contacts, the other a nose piercing. What mattered now was a physical detachment, however concocted.
Now we sit on a bench overlooking Faxaflói Bay on a summer night (summer is the best time to visit Iceland) with city lights washing over the water in rainbow colors and I know Shelley is thinking the same thing as me—that Mother claims to have seen a double rainbow the day before we were born. “That’s when I knew I was having twins,” she’d said, though we’re both certain the doctor would have handed out such news.
A cruise ship slides by like a white cloud floating over the water. On its side is the word Carnival and now I know Shelley is again thinking what I’m thinking, how if Dad had never taken us to the carnival that time he’d never have met Dorinda, the lady who swallowed swords that were on fire. He’d waited back stage after the performance, mesmerized. He wanted to know how she did it, how her throat didn’t get scalded. “It looked so real,” he’d said. “There’s no way for it to be a hoax.”
Dorinda seemed amused, but she was more interested in us. “These two girls,” she said, in a heavy accent I couldn’t place, “they are surely a hoax, so identical in every way.”
After that brief meeting we never saw Dorinda again, but a month later we never saw Dad again either. That was a year ago and now we’re here in Reykjavik visiting Mom’s sister.
Mother comes up forcing a smile, as she’s done all these months, trying to appear ever hopeful. “Here,” she says, handing us each desserts that look like Ho Hos.
“What are they?” Shelley asks.
“A signature dessert here. Slöngukaka.”
The way she says the name sounds like she saying something-something-Caca and so I actually chuckle while Shelley does as well.
“What?” Mom asks.
It feels good to be happy for once, if even momentarily.
Mom sits down, eying the cruise ship.
Dad sends postcards. They’ve not divorced. He says there’s nothing romantic going on with Dorinda. He says he’ll be back before we know it.
Shelley looks at mom watching the cruise ship then back at me and we both know she’s thinking Dad’s not on it, but he’s out there somewhere, within reach.
Without speaking, through my thoughts, I tell Shelley: To hell with Dorinda. Let’s not change anything about ourselves.
She nods, gives a small smile and we both watch the ship slink farther and farther away.