farewell to a twin

words helen gordon  |  image marguerite dabaie

The voice of the airline agent sounded sympathetic as he heard me choking on my tears. Of course he would reschedule my flight to an earlier time, he said, and since the flight was an emergency to see my dying sister, he would not charge me for making the change. My brother, who had just visited her, had told me she might not last another month. “Go now,” he advised. 

So I flew to Seattle to say farewell to the twin who had been like my other half in our growing years, who had enjoyed playing paper dolls and tennis with me, and had also endured with me the family illness of our father’s alcoholism. We both married young; I was 17 years old and she was 18. That had been only 40 years ago, and now, at the incredibly young age of 57, she was dying from an inoperable brain tumor.

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