From Far To Twenty-Four

4

BANG ! You barely have the time to register what's happening before your head collides with someone else's. You hold your throbbing forehead where a small bump is slowly forming and try to shake away the tears as one of the toddlers in front of you, the one you ran into, lets out a small cry of pain. You begin to apologize and explain that it's not your fault- you were looking at the pictures in your favorite book and you didn't see them coming- but the other one gives you a nasty look and spats : « Watch where you're going silly ! And what is that stupid book ? » You try to keep it out of reach but you are way too small for that « I'm gonna take it since you've tried to hit us. Now move out of the way you dopey ! ». Astonished by such meanness, you can't find the words to answer. As the two leave, the one you ran into turns around and gives you an apologetic look but tears are already filling your eyes and blurring your vision. It is the first time you've ever been bullied. You later learn that their names are Emerson and Taylor but everyone just call them 'The Twins'.

8

It's years later but the situation hasn't changed much. Emerson seems to truly hate you and doesn't miss an opportunity to make sure you know it. Almost every single day is spent reminding you what a real loser you are. And every time the fraternal twins are together, Taylor stays silent as you are being humiliated in front of the whole school. You don't really get this behavior. There are times when you feel as though the two of you share some kind of affection, of connection, but it keeps fading away with every new insult that comes out of Emerson's mouth. You are currently walking in the playground of your school and a familiar voice shouts from behind you « Hey there Hell-E ! » -this is Emerson's new favorite name for you- « What a nice bag you have here! » You can definitely detect the sarcasm « I think my grandma has exactly the same! It would be sad if it got stained, don't you think ? » Emerson tugs at its handle and it falls to the ground. Apparently, someone had opened the zipper because all your stuff are now spilled around the floor. At the same time, one of The Twins' closest friends (or bodyguards as you prefer calling them) takes one of the bottles of paint that you use in art class, unscrew the cork and throw its contents right at you. « Whoopsy, how clumsy of me ! » says the kid mockingly. They leave laughing as you start crying, once again. As usual, no one tried to stand up for you and the teachers seem to be completely oblivious to the situation. Your bag is totally ruined. When you come home that night, your mom is mad at you because she thinks that you dirtied it on purpose to annoy her. You don't have the courage to correct her because it would mean bringing up the confrontation. You also realize that your favorite pen has disappeared and it makes you even sadder. The next day, when your parents get the mail, there's a letter for you with the address written in an awkward writing. You find a drawing inside which depicts you with your bag and four words « sorry about your bag ». You decide that Taylor's not sorry enough to deserve your forgiveness.

12

It's been years since you've last talked to Taylor who seems, now more than ever, to prefer staying hidden in Emerson's shadow. You tell yourself that this is probably for the best as you enter your science class. You hate that class because the teacher has made a seating plan and you're forced to sit next to your assigned lab partners who are none other than The Twins. Usually, you do your best to ignore them and they act as if you weren't there, except when you have to do the work together. But it seems that Emerson wants to have some fun with you this time. It starts even before you actually sit.

« Hey loser, I'm sorry but, seeing the way you're dressed today, I can't let you sit next to me. Your ugliness might affect my beauty, you see ? »

You tighten your fist but try to keep a straight face as you answer.

« If you've got a problem, take it to the teacher. Believe me, if it were up to me, I would rather hit my head against the wall than sit with you.

Apparently, your answer hasn't pleased Emerson whose face is now turning red with anger and humiliation.

« Shut up, you idiot ! You'd better be careful not to step on that enormous nose of yours ! »

« Stop it ! » says Taylor suddenly

« What ? »

« I said shut up ! I'm sick of you always making fun of Hayley. You're just stupid ! »

Taylor then asks the teacher if the two of of you can go sit at an empty table in back and she says yes. Emerson doesn't say a word during the hall. It seems to be the first time Taylor dares to say something.

16

The two of you are in your room, studying, when it happens. Afters years of anticipation and months of awkward flirting, Taylor's lips finally brushes against yours and your eyes clench shut. When you open them again, you are both blushing and refusing to meet the other's look but, after a few seconds, you bend your heads again and your mouths collide with a new found passion. You decide that Taylor is definitely your favorite twin as hands softly rests behind your neck. Suddenly, the fact that Emerson has been trying to corner you all week doesn't matter anymore.

20

Four years. That's what it takes for the two of you to fall apart. It happens unexpectedly on a Friday evening when you find a number on Taylor's bed-table. You should have seen it coming though. The constant fighting, the less and less frequent phone-calls, the late-night working, the rising indifference. It feels really awful to end up like this but it's too late. You can't pick up the pieces now. No matter how many excuses Taylor comes up with, you just know it's over.

24

It isn't planned, you just run into each other into the street. You try pretending that you don't recognize the face but a hand gras you arm and asks, gently, for a cup of coffee with you. You agree reluctantly. Apologies come and the two of you relax. You even end up laughing. You see each other again. And again. And again. And then you stop counting. A few months later, a box is shown to you where you find a book, a pen and other stuffs that you thought you had lost. You understand a lot of things better now.

And here you are today, getting married to Emerson Cooper and you could not be any happier. You smile at Taylor, sitting in the attendance. Things are okay between the two of you now. Guess you just weren't meant to be. Life can be full of surprises after all.

/I have never ever used the words "he", "she", "his" or "her" and the names Hayley, Emerson and Taylor are supposed to be unisex (from what Internet told me) so, if you have imagined one girl and two boys, or one boy and two girls or anything else, it was all in your head !/