The twins

Full stop, next scene, the day of reckoning.

Constitución left. Her sister stood at the door to the shop and raised her hand to bid farewell. There is always a first time. Always a tearing, loose threads dangling … But Gloria remained stubborn:

“Have a great time and say hi to everybody for me, I hope you bring back—”

She didn’t finish because her sister quickly placed distance between them: such a small and indifferent figure she made. Only an indistinct echo remained in the air. Then: intimacy as an idea that unravels.

Here, her equal, the part that didn’t go: no tears or futile stratagems, no mannerisms, only the closing of ranks and strong convictions. And a quick return to take a look around the work space: a concrete desert filled with squalor and lacking air. Nascent longing and the word absence seeping into the sewing machines.

Chin up! for it’s ten o’clock in the morning and a work-day, and no matter what, the customers keep placing more orders, paying down a deposit or the whole amount up front.

The unfilled orders. So much to do, and along came someone who asked the inevitable, “Where’s your sister?” and the response was necessarily friendly though laced with a certain trace of evasiveness. Many other such questions ensued, which she answered between clenched teeth. The barrage of interrogations let up only in the afternoon when Gloria closed the door and continued pedaling till midnight. Alone, self-contained, restrained.

The action started just as her fatigue set in, at bedtime. She imagined the shindig, the enveloping music, and her sister sitting on a chair, alone, silent, a woodpecker perched on a branch, a toy bird, poised and waiting for a polite man of reasonable height to ask her to dance, but not even the midgets bothered. Lying in bed, Gloria conjured that sad scene, suffered in her own flesh the moment her aunt approached to try to coax her out, lead her enthusiastically over to the heart of the wedding party: the young newlyweds mingling, the toasts, the Cheers! Where everyone was milling. Where shoulders were rubbed and introductions made …

That opportunity, that moment, aah … Gloria closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. Inside, in her mind, there was a series of reversals, furtive exchanges, evocative stencils of bodies in full abandon. Then, as things unfolded, improbable shapes arose out of somewhere: soft and gentle nakedness …

Untethered, floating, alone and bewildered. Then the couplings: in a blue space, Gloria kissing an otherworldly man, surrendering fully to the initiative his hands and tongue were taking, while her twin staggered around with mouth agape, unable to get anywhere near no matter how hard she tried. Yes, then a sequel with a smoky hue, a pursuit, and proximity: melting into an illusive silhouette of passion and desire: hence, only a tiny taste of satisfaction. Insinuations of such vast pleasure! How unattainable, though, for both of them!

Daniel Sada, One Out of Two.

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