Lena Sarbanes Ehrlich: “The Twin”

There is a girl named Alice. One day, Alice is walking to school and meets another girl. This girl looks exactly like her, and they even have the same hairstyle. The stranger introduces herself as Poppy and informs Alice that they must be twins separated at birth. Alice doesn’t think this is true, but says they could see each other at school. Poppy is very excited and agrees.

Alice reaches her school, but throughout the entire day does not see Poppy, no matter how much she looks. None of her friends know who Poppy is and they say she probably goes to a different school. However, this school is the only one within 15 miles, so if Poppy was walking to school it would probably be this school. Alice is confused for the rest of the day, until on the way home, she runs into Poppy.

Alice asks Poppy why she wasn’t at school and Poppy says that she was sick. Then Alice reminds her that they agreed to meet at school, but Poppy denies that the conversation happened and says she was just going to get soup from the store. Alice is confused but accepts Poppy’s proposition to see each other at the park on Saturday.

When Saturday comes, Poppy is waiting for Alice at the park. They find that they have very similar interests and they have a great time together. Poppy says she found her birth certificate and asks if she could sleep over at Alice’s house that night so they could compare. Alice is a bit worried about showing her birth certificate to someone she met very recently, but she asks her mother anyway. Her mother agrees and later Poppy comes over.

They go upstairs to hang out but Poppy immediately demands to see Alice’s birth certificate. Alice is nervous and asks Poppy to show hers first. Apparently Poppy forgot hers at home. Alice then refuses Poppy’s demands, which makes Poppy very angry. She lashes out at Alice several times, calling her a wimp, and a bad friend. Alice begins to cry and then falls asleep from sheer exhaustion.

The next morning, she wakes up, determined to confront Poppy, but Poppy isn’t there. She goes downstairs and asks her mother if Poppy left in the night. Her mother claims that she’s never met anyone named Poppy and she must have dreamed it. Alice accepts this explanation but wonders from time to time if it wasn’t true…

Years later, after the death of Alice’s mother, Alice learns that she had a twin named Poppy who died minutes after her birth.

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