The day my twin died I thought my soul would break into half. It didn't, but after the funeral I found myself on the same rooftop the three of us used to hang out on, and where my sister was last seen. Arashi was there too, but he was perched precariously on the parapet drinking beer.
It was for my own assurance when I grabbed hold of the back of his shirt. He didn't seem surprised when he turned around and saw me, merely patting the surface beside him in a gesture for me to sit beside him. I shook my head, and Arashi just smiled and said, "Come on up." in the way my sister would have. And perhaps because I was in a weird mood too, I acceded. My fingers were trembling a little as I lifted myself onto the parapet, from the wind or the height. The parapet was wide enough for us to sit cross-legged but I squatted uncomfortably instead, grabbing the edge of the parapet with clammy fingers.
"Peaceful, isn't it?" Arashi said, opening another can of beer and passing it to me. "I always thought Maya hated peace, stability and all that shit, but maybe she was simply looking for it." He takes the last gulp from his can, throwing back his head to capture the last glistening drop before flinging it through the air. It landed on the concrete ground below with a distant metallic clink, but all the same, I flinched.
I took a sip from the can, but the taste remained unchanged, and I could never quite bring myself to like alcohol. I put it down. Beside me, Arashi was already chugging down a new can, and I saw that he had another few cartons with him. Somewhere deep in my guts something grew cold and still.
"You said you would never drink." I muttered.
"I thought so too," he replied, "I never really appreciate why people do, but maybe I'm beginning to. It gives you a nice buzz and all…" He paused to take a gulp as if to demonstrate his point and turned to me with a half-hearted smirk.
"I know you're thinking it's because of my mum that I hate alcohol, but it's more than that. Maya drinks too, only the expensive stuff though, but she drinks. And I don't begrudge her for that. It's only because I know it myself that I'm weak-willed that I don't touch that stuff…"
I can see him drifting off in thoughts. His head was swaying a little, so I grabbed his arm. The sudden movement knocked my can over and it spilled on the parapet in an expanding pool, but I ignored it.
"We should get down," I said, pulling his arm backwards.
"Which way down?" he asked, the sluggish tone diminishing his cheeky demeanor a little. "I don't want to move yet though, I want to talk. So talk with me Miya."
I said nothing but remained where I was. In all honesty I was irritated to find Arashi there. I didn't want to talk. I simply wanted some space to think alone.
"I knew you would be here," he said, "that's why I didn't go for the wake… It's just like how murderers always go back to the crime scene, you know."
"Except, I'm not a murderer."
"Chill. It's just a figure of speech… Although you might as well be, considering everything."
Subconsciously my grip on his wrist had tightened, but my voice was still as level as before. "I don't get what you mean," I said, although perhaps somewhere deep in my mind I already had an inkling of what he wanted to say.
"You can't say you really didn't know, Miya. Your family all thinks I'm the one who drove your sister to suicide. But it's you Miya, wasn't it? I know it's you. Why else would she call you up here instead of me or her husband or anyone else?"
"I'm her twin sister," I said, a virulent annoyance bubbling up within me at his words, "Her other half. Besides, I haven't seen her for years. She called me over to complain, but whatever happened between you guys is none of my business really. So if you want to drink yourself to death, go ahead. I'm leaving."
I released my grip on his hand, shakily stood up, kicked my almost empty can of beer down the twenty stories, and jumped back down towards the rooftop. The ground was firm beneath my feet but still I felt like I was standing on quicksand. Behind me the landing of the aluminum can made a dull metallic thud.
"You're always like this," he said in a low, resigned voice, sounding disarmingly sober, "You run away at the slightest sign of trouble and leave behind messes. You think I'm a parasite but it's beyond you to involve yourself with someone like me. You know about her obsession with you, don't you? But you pretend not to know it. Compared to her possessive love, to me your half-hearted apathy is even more sickening."
"You're wrong," I said softly, even though my throat itched to shout, "For one I never thought you were a parasite." I was staring at my shoes, which were leaving wet marks on the ground. A seeping darkness was already spreading from my soles. I decided to move.
A hand latched onto my collar, and the skin that touched my neck was bitingly cold.
A sense of déjà vu deluged me, and I sniggered. "You two are similar," I said, looking up at the starless sky, "only chasing after things you can't have. Do you want to know what her last word was?"
"'Stay'," I said, when the hand on my collar remained motionless. "I asked her why. She didn't say anything. I got irritated and left. In the end she just couldn't afford to lose. If she had lied and told me she loved me I would have stayed. If she had cried and told me she was terribly lonely I would have stayed. But of course, she chose to be perfect till the end."
The hand on my collar had loosened.
"You're heartless," Arashi simply said.
"Even a dog chooses its master," I replied, "but I'm not as heartless as you think I am. I'll say the same thing I said to her to you."
"And what's that?"
I spurned back and stared at Arashi in the face. He had been crying but now his eyes just looked hollow and pale. He looked like a dog whose master had died. This was all my sister's efforts amounted to? Pathetic.
"Then come with me," I told him, before turning around and walking away. The taste of alcohol was still in my mouth, sour and bitter, and I can't help but think it had made me slightly irrational too.
It was never my intention to rescue anybody. I'm fucked up enough, I don't need another baggage to add to that equation. You can't break something that's already broken, but really, I don't want to try.