The bond is now broken. The love is now fractured. We’ve been shattered, we’ve been burned. We’ve been through everything together since we came to this world. What’s the use of having each other’s back now if we’re only going to turn it all the way around? I don’t know how this happened, all I remember is that she came home with bruises while I was busy playing house with our youngest twin sisters.
We live in a farmland and sleep in a small house full of people. My father is a farmer, he grows fresh wheat and fresh vegetables and fruits. My mom is a baker, she always bakes so many kind of breads every morning and sells them to the city. Hannah and I were the ones who deliver them down the town My family is known for our fresh goodies to sell and special deliveries. People in my town love my mom’s Brioche and Manchet. Hannah and I used to pedal our hand-down bicycles to the market to sell the breads and dairies. In the evening, my mom bakes pies and muffins, sometimes biscuits. Then, Hannah and I back to rowing our bicycle to deliver them to the market. We visit houses to deliver our daily customer’s request. They order and pay a day before the delivery, so my mom knows what to bake and how many she has to make.
Hannah and I were so close like twins. Hannah is two years older than me. She was 16 and I was 14 when my mom gave birth to twin girls. Hannah wasn’t happy at all, elseways I was elated. Nevertheless, my parents weren’t too keen either. I was the only one who couldn’t understand what was happening. The three of them reckoned on adoption by stealth, I found out and begged them to let me help raising the twins. Moreover, no one in town wanted to raise twin girls. “There have been too many females in such a puny town like here,” an old woman who’s been friends with my family for years said. Eventually, they agreed to keep the twins and made me promise to watch them while my parents working. I said yes. Hannah stayed silent.
For a year of battles between outcries and dirty nappies, my family had been receiving frequent complaints about the babies and their slackness of producing fresh goods. “Their cries can be heard from my house which is six miles away, that’s not normal!”, “Your bread does not taste as sweet as it used to, I am going over to the new bakery for further order. Thank you for your lovely services these past three years.”, “I found pieces of baby wipes in the bag of potatoes for almost a year, I did not want to acquaint you such complaint in prior. But it is my grief, suffice to say that I have to finish my order from your farm furthermore. Thank you.” and more harsh letters came in the following year. Half of the town refused to buy more from our farm. My parents were on the rocks of impoverished and Hannah became more desolated.
Three years had passed. Gratefully, the family survived hungers, exhaustion, and sickness. My father carefully packs the bags of fruits and vegetables after he insisted to move the babies to my room (which is also Hannah’s room). Hannah was not happy about the idea at all. The night when the decision was made, Hannah asserted in disparity. “Why, Father? It is her decision to pet the babies! Don’t talk me into it!”
“They are humans, Hannah. You don’t pet them, you raise them with love!” I practically shouted.
“Hannah, I need the shed back for storage.” The twins have always shared a spare space with the crop yields in the shed. That was why an old man sent us a letter about him finding baby wipes in the sack of potatoes. Too often the twins get rashes from the wheat. There is no room for the twins inside the house. We only have one room which is for me and Hannah, my parents sleep in their own room full with packed vegetables and fruits. The shed is outside the house, I always sneak the twins inside the house and sleep with them on the carpeted floor near the furnace. The sofa is too small for the three of us, but somehow I managed the ugly tapestry became a warm and comfortable mattress. The twins never woke up in the middle of the night or cried, nobody knew I have been sneaking them inside the house for three years. I put them back to the shed early in the morning before everyone wakes up.
“The shed is big enough,” Hannah sulked with tears and angers. “Besides, you always use your room for storage. Why couldn’t you just keep using it, Father?”
“Because your mother has troubled breathing!”
“Then kill them or give them to someone who can afford to pay our debts and their needs!” She yelled. This was the first time Hannah lost control, she used to be so sweet and happy.
I roared and lunged my hands at her. I felt her skin inside my nails, both her cheeks bled. She cried. My mother was too weak to intercede, she has lungs issues when my father started to use their room for storage. My father pulled us away and screamed, “STOP THE FIGHTING!”
Hannah broke off from my claws and snarled teeth, “You should all go to Hell! You are a liar, Father! A liar, I say…”
My father slapped her so hard, she thumped her head into the wall beside her. There was silence. I clutched my hands over my mouth, stopping myself from both crying and shouting. My mother, she passed long ago in her chair breathing slow, grasping air for her wasted lungs.
“You are not grateful for what I have given you for years of your life. You never acting up like this, Hannah. Where is my old Hannah? WHERE IS SHE?”
Hannah stood up with her head bleeding. “Can’t you see her, Father? She had died when you promised her a lie, the day when they were born, the day we lost everything!”
“Hannah, I am still keeping my promise!” he reached out for her hand. I cold feel the guilt in his voice.
“And in what manner would you compensate? We have nothing but disgrace and unworthy drudgery! See all around you, Father!” Hannah left the house that night and didn’t return for a year.
My father and my mother searched all around town for her, sometimes I rowed my bicycle with my twin sisters sleeping comfortably in the sidecar I made. I found the broken sidecar near the pond across my farmland, then I fixed it and attached it to my bike. We would travel to the next towns and neighborhoods from dawn until midnight just to find nothing. I asked my father and my mother what Hannah kept talking about when she indicated that my father was lying, compensation, and promises. My father never said a word because he said he’d failed himself as a father. My mother, she’d cried and suffered a greater lungs problem. She died a month after Hannah disappeared. Then suddenly, Hannah became just a slight name that used to fill up my mind.
A year later when my father was away in his old and rusty truck to the next town for selling the crop yields, someone knocked on the door. The old woman who’s been friends with my mother came to visit and to deliver a news. “My son in Reno found your sister,” she said. “She is working as a baker assistant. She is married with no children. She said she was fine.” I delivered the message to my father that night. In my own scenario, he would be delighted and sobbed from happiness. Instead, he said to me in a murmur “Don’t mention that name to me again!” then he left the table without finishing his dinner.
My father found new customers in the other towns and even the people who used to buy our goodies came back and because our regular buyers once again. I bake the breads every morning and pies every evening, delivering them myself straight to them with my twin sisters. My twin sisters are walking on their own now, I modified Hannah’s old bike for them to use as their own bike.
One day when I was playing house with my twin sisters and my father was away, someone barged in to the kitchen and made loud banging noises. I hurried myself to the kitchen and found Hannah sitting in a chair, crying with bruises all over her body. She was holding a cup of water, her hand trembled relentlessly spilling the water onto her lap.
“Hannah, what happened to you?” I rushed over to her side.
“I’m sorry,” she breathed the words under her wails. “I’m sorry,” she said again.
“For what?” I brushed my hands over her swollen face.
“For everything,” she looked like in a great pain while sobbing her tears out. “I’m sorry, Father…” her voice trailed off and she continued her cry.
I put my hands around her and embraced all the memories we used to make back into my arms. I weep along.
After hours we spent catching up the time we lost, she looked a little bit more like Hannah, my Hannah. I desensitized her bruises and a newly cut injury in her left brow. She ate almost everything on the plate I gave her. Almost the whole loaf of bread I bake this morning, a half strawberry jam I also made, three pouched eggs, two slices of cheese, and a big bowl of chicken soup. The food was supposed to be for Father’s dinner, but I noticed her ribs are almost poked out of her skin and she said to me she hadn’t eaten anything for three days. After she settled, we shared stories. I asked her where she’s been and what happened to her body.
“I was walking without knowing where to go. It was dark that night, so I was blinded by my own direction. I didn’t notice how long and how far I had gone, all I remembered that it was already morning and I stood in the middle of an empty road. I sat there for hours, thirsty, hungry, and tired. I thought I was going to die, until a nice man in his nice car offered me a ride. He asked me where I was going, but I didn’t know where. So, I let him to take me anywhere he wanted.” she paused for a moment.I gave her a glass of water and she sipped the cup empty. Then she started to speak again.
“I fell asleep in the car and woke up to a dark surrounding. I panicked, but the man who took me said we were still on the road looking for a gas stop. We found one and he let me change clothes wearing his and he gave me food. I thought he was a very nice man, so I stayed with him. He took me to Reno, where he owns a tool shop. He gave me shelter, clothes, and food. He even let me worked in a bakery shop across the house. We got married a month later.” her voice trailed off. Her body shivered from a great pain or maybe it was the memory she holds that harmed her.
“I was pregnant two months later. But I lost the baby in the 8th month pregnancy.” she started crying again. She took in a deep breath and continue the story, “I was working and I slipped down the concrete floor. I tumbled down back first then my head. I woke up three days later in the hospital. There was something different with me. I couldn’t feel whole when I woke up. I felt a great pain around my back and there was something missing.”
I could guess it though she didn’t mention anything. She was too weak to recall the past. “I was in the hospital for two weeks. My husband never came to visit, not even once. He said he was busy. So, I came home and I found him there watching TV. We had fights every night since then. He wanted a child, but I can’t give him what he wanted because I ruined almost all my every part of my body. He cheated on me and became violent. He hit me with a baseball stick, sometimes he smacked me with a his own hands. I ran away the night he tortured me, I would die I said in my head. In a slight second, I got a flash of images from the past. How I used to treat the twins and you. How I became so harsh and changed into a monster. I believed it was my debt to pay for all those years. I took that with all my heart. But I didn’t find myself dead the next day, so I ran away. I can’t remember how I got here. But, I still remember where to find my own home.” she smiled weakly. She reminded me of mother before she died.
When the thought of her came into my mind, it was like Hannah could read it.”Where is father? or mother? Are they all right?” I could feel a pang of guilt for not telling her my story before she could ask.
“Father is selling the crop yields to the town,”
“She died a month after you left,” I said without any guilt. Father had always convinced me that she died because of Hannah. I wanted to believe him, but I never could. Instead, I always blame myself.
She nodded like she already knew.
Father came home with tears when he found Hannah and me laughing with the twins. He didn’t really welcome her at first and he hated the fact that Hannah was still alive. But when he saw her himself, he couldn’t resist the tears. We talked all night, and after a year father and Hannah would tell me what promise they made. Father had promised her money for school. Hannah always wanted to be a dancer, and father promised to sign her in to a dance school in town when she turned 18. But the twins were born and the family went short in money, so father used all her school money for the twins’ needs. That was why Hannah hated them so much. I was the only one who wanted to raise them, so it was all my fault. But father and mother told me that it was their fault. Somehow, I knew but I pretended to disagree.
A month after she was home, Hannah suffered from malnutrition. Her body was still weak and damaged from the miscarriage. Her body refused to heal itself, she ate in a rat portion. She refused to be taken care by doctors. She died from complication a week later. She is buried next to mother’s grave. The twins are now old enough to understand what is happening around them. They are learning to bake breads with me. Father has collected enough money from selling in different towns for one of the twins’ tuition. He signed one of them to the dancing school he promised to Hannah, one of them stays home to learn baking while helping with other matters.
Hannah is my sister, now and then. The twins came to this world for a reason. Hannah didn’t lose herself, she just lost her way. She went to the wrong direction. She’s paid her debts and now she is happy to watch us living our lives back, even better than years before, from Heaven with mother. They reunited. I hope they’ll wait for us to be reunited once again. Hannah, don’t forget me. I won’t forget you. Forever and wherever, we are destined to be sisters.
SORRY FOR THE LONG POST, HERE’S A POTATO