I don't know how I dragged myself to school on Monday. I was different, and it wasn't a better different. I don't guess that many people know how it feels, to lose someone so close to you that it feels like part of you has been ripped from you. That ache in your chest when your heart breaks. I'd felt it before when Andre was having his girl problems, but now it was my pain to bear alone.

I couldn't talk to Lopy or Mother. I couldn't face anyone in my family, but I still got myself to school on time. A little early, in fact. I walked into history and sat down, taking out my notebook and doodling listlessly in the margins of the page.

People started walking in, subdued. I realized that Andre was very much loved at this school, and several girls were crying. My own tears had stopped by this point, but I knew my eyes were still glassy from both them and the shock. I didn't look at anyone, I couldn't bear it.

The class was really shuffled around in seating that day. Everyone was sitting by their friends, and I had the table to myself. So when a shadow fell on the grey surface of the furniture, I looked up a bit, then back down.

Matt sat down next to me slowly. "You were siblings, weren't you?"

I nodded. "Twins," I whispered hoarsely. Since telling him over the phone that Andre was dead, I hadn't spoken. My voice was cracked and rough from lack of use.

He sat there in silence. I looked down at my doodle, and it was a name. 'Andre' was written in a loose kind of cursive, a lily beneath his name that I'd colored in darkly. My eyes felt like they were filling with tears, but I was cried out. I shut the notebook with more force than was necessary and turned my face away from it.

One of the crying girls met my eyes, slightly hostilely. "Why aren't you crying?" She questioned me. I stared at her. "I know you didn't really know him that well, but surely even you know that it's horrible, what's happened. Show a little sadness."

I took a breath and swallowed, meeting her eyes without expression. "I can't remember how to cry." I leaned my head down and put it on my arms. I was wearing on of his sweatshirts, which had that distinctive cedar scent to it that I breathed in deeply. I felt a hand on my back, warm and comforting.

I turned my face slightly so I could see Matt, who was looking at me with tears in his own eyes. I was a little surprised, but I moved over and buried my face in his shoulder. His hand stroked my hair smoothly, and he was murmuring words, I don't know what he was saying.

Mr. Sanders was amazing that day. He didn't give us anything to do, and passed me a card as I left his class for my next one. I opened it in the hallway. It was a plain white card with writing on the inside.


I must first express deep condolences for your loss. I have no twin but I do have a brother. I have almost lost him three times now. He is chronically depressed, and I have stopped him committing suicide. As strange as it is to say, stopping him from killing himself has almost become my task in life now. He lives at home with me and my greatest fear is that I will come home one of these days and I will find him gone.

I don't know how you felt when you found your brother, nor do I know the details of the crash. All I heard on the news—all any of us heard—is that Alexander Hawke was found by his sister, who alerted 911 when she found him, and that he died before the paramedics could get there to help. Only you know all the details, and don't let anyone press you for them. If you need to talk, I am here to listen.

I ask of you only one thing: don't be too hard on your classmates. Alexander was much loved by the students of this school. I would have to be blind and deaf not to know that. Few enough people know your last name, and no one would put you two as twins. I had trouble believing it, as you are so different from Alexander. But don't be rough on your peers.

Ending a card of this sort is hard, so forgive my bungled attempt at doing so. I say again that if you need to talk, I am here.


Timothy Sanders

I smiled a bit as I read his card, and then slipped it into my pocket. I know he's a teacher, but he's so different from most of my other teachers. For one thing, he's about five years older than all of us seniors.

The rest of the teacher did much the same thing, at least regarding the class having a quiet time. At the end of the day we were called for an assembly. The screen for movies was pulled down and I got a nasty feeling. I really didn't want to see pictures of my brother right now, his happy smile. I quietly got up and left.

I sat outside in the hall, curling my knees up to my chest and hugging them tightly, breathing the sweet cedar smell. A door clicked softly, and a girl sat down next to me, leaning her head on my shoulder.

"Dree," Lopy muttered softly.

"Hey Lopy," I pulled my sister into an embrace as we listened to the drone of the principals' voice inside the cafeteria where out assemblies were held. I couldn't distinguish any of his words and I didn't want to, but I just held my sister.

"You're wearing his sweatshirt," she observed quietly. I nodded a bit, then stood up, offering her a hand. "Let's go home," I said softly. I didn't have to reassure her that I wouldn't drive like a maniac—she knew. I hadn't told her any of Andre's last words, they were mine to keep for myself, but she knew that it was driving that had killed him.

I drove home silently, then went up into Andre's room. I traced a finger along his CD collection, searching for the band he'd told me to listen to. I put it into the CD player and lay down on his bed, letting the music wash over me.

As I said, I'm more of a Nirvana and Soundgarden girl, but this was nice, though it made me cry dry tears. My eyes burned and stung, but I couldn't cry.

I sing it one last time for you

Then we really have to go

You've been the only thing that's right

In our lifetime.

I can barely look at you,

But every single time I do

I know we'll make it anywhere

Away from here.

I shook my head slightly. That was true enough, I thought, and I turned my attention back to the song.

Light up, light up

As if you have a choice,

Even if you cannot hear my voice

I'll be right beside you dear.

I curled into a ball, drawing the blankets over me raggedly. I think Andre's last wish was to make me cry. Again. Then I mentally smacked myself. Of course that wasn't what he wanted, he'd never intentionally hurt me.

Louder, louder

And we'll run for our lives

I can hardly speak

I understand

What you can't raise you voice to say

Did he? Did he really know that what I couldn't raise my voice to say to him at the end was goodbye? I just had held him as his life slipped away, I hadn't said goodbye. Though maybe I didn't have to. Maybe he knew that I couldn't say it.

To think I might not see those eyes

Makes it so hard not to cry

And as we say our long goodbye,

I nearly do

Crying? I though I was out of tears, that i couldn't remember how to cry, but there's a reason I don't listen to sad songs, especially when I'm already sad enough. I buried my face in his pillow, sobbing dry, racking, chest-shaking sobs.

Light up, light up

As if you have a choice

Even if you cannot hear my voice

I'll be right beside you dear

Louder, louder

And we'll run for out lives

I can hardly speak

I understand

What you can't raise your voice to say

Slower, slower

We don't have time for that

All I want is to find I'd

Ease you way,

Together or even apart

Apart. How harsh that word was. I knew it was originally a love song, but it didn't really seem like that now. It was a requiem, Andre's requiem. Funny that it had materialized in the form of a popular song sung by a band from the UK.

Have heart, my dear

We're bound to be afraid

Even if it's just for a few days

Making up for all that's missed

But it wasn't just for a few days. It was forever and ever and ever. I envied the people in this song then. They would be separated for only a few days, and however hard that was it was nothing compared to the lifetime that I'd spend without my best friend and brother.

Light up, light up

As if you have a choice

Even if you cannot hear my voice

I'll be right beside you dear.

The song trailed out and my tears slowly stopped once more. Again, I fell asleep in Andre's bed that night, snuggled in the cedar-scented sheets and cradled in his sweatshirt.

I don't know honestly how I survived the months following Andre's death. We got another new kid in school, it was late but his family was a military family and they were always on the move. I didn't pay him any attention, but I withdrew into myself more and more.

I even stopped talking to Matt at school, and he didn't press the matter. He would only give me sad looks that reminded me too much of Andre's kicked puppy looks. I never could face Matt when he looked at me like that, and returned to whatever I was doing before.

I stopped driving so recklessly, and Lopy would ride in the car with me now. I hardly spoke, but I danced every night. I was now more determined than ever to escape this city, leave for college somewhere big and far away. I was going to run from the memories and the pain, take only what I could stuff into my car and flee.

My only regret was that I couldn't take Andre's room. Mother and Lopy didn't ever go into it, and I slept there every night, leaving his sweatshirts hung up in his closet so they would always retain that cedar scent that I loved so much.