A Short Story
Copyright 2014 Winfield Ly
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.
I would like to thank my family and friends for the support, especially Sarah Lal, Mylinh Tran, Jenny Vuong, Dahlia Ma, Amr El Gebali, and Lori Peplinskie and her daughter for spending their spare time to read, edit, and offering suggestions for this story.
“Nina, what did you do to your hair!?” Mina couldn’t hide her shocked expression to see her twin sister had cut her dark brown hair so short that she looked like a boy. In the mirror, Mina touched Nina’s hair at the ends while comparing it to her long hair.
Nina moved away from their mirror in their room, and sat on top of her bed. Then she looked outside the window. “I wanted a change, Sister.”
“Why? There’s no way we can play the identical look now.” Mina pouted. “I also wonder why these past few years all you wanted were boy clothes. It’s like your entire wardrobe has made a complete change. Is something wrong, Nina?”
Nina ignored her sister’s question while she was still facing the window. “Sister, didn’t you promise to meet Ken soon?”
“Oh right!” She remembered as her face instantly brightened up, and stood up in a hurry. “I’ll see you later, okay?”
Before Nina could have a chance to say anything else, her sister had already left their room. Nina sat down at her desk, and glared at a picture frame on the desk near her hand. She reached forward at such a slow pace, and knocked the picture frame downwards to not see it anymore. Nina pulled her legs up onto the chair and covered her face in them, which she thought, I hate him.
That picture that Nina had placed face down on her desk was a group picture taken when all three of them were five years old. To contrast the present to the past, Nina had long hair with her twin at the time. Mina was smiling as she had placed her arms around Ken and Nina as both of them had glared off to the side leaning on one arm. That was the last group picture of the three of them that day.
Meanwhile outside, Ken waited at a nearby park for Mina. “Sorry, I’m late!” Mina biked as fast as she could towards Ken who waited for her in the park with his bicycle.
“It’s okay. You’re not that late.” Ken looked up and waved at her with a mischievous smile. “You’re only five minutes late.”
“Hmph!” She crossed her arms, and puffed her cheeks in frustration. “You don’t have to rub it in!”
“I’m just kidding.” He laughed, sticking out his tongue at the side of his mouth. “Let’s start heading to the beach now.” Then he got onto his bicycle, and started to pedal.
“I’m right behind you, so full speed ahead!”
Mina brushed her hair behind her ear, and breathed in slowly as the cool breeze swept past her face. She glanced and smiled at Ken as they were biking. It always surprised her how the three of them had met. On the day that Nina and Mina were born, their mom was coincidentally right beside Ken’s mom as she was taking care of him in the hospital. It was only two days after she had given birth to him. Both families had gotten close to one another, and that passed down to their children when the three of them played with each other as infants.
From the very beginning, Mina and Ken were naturally drawn to each other. Their parents and family friends always mentioned how Mina and Ken got along so well in comparison to Nina. She felt like the third wheel every time they were all together at family events. This made Nina become jealous at Ken and to a lesser extent, her twin sister. The jealousy never became malicious as she still loved Mina.
Mina giggled at a thought as she was biking at a steady pace. Ken looked back at her for a second. “What’s so funny?”
“I was just thinking about the time Nina had seen you last week when you and your parents came over for dinner.”
Ken shook his head with a sigh. “That wasn’t funny at all! I lost the number of times she made fun of me, and the number of arguments we had over the dinner table that night!”
“That’s what made me laugh, Ken. It was really entertaining to watch the two of you fight, and made me realize that I could never be like her.” She giggled some more, and added, “That made me really jealous.”
“What are you jealous of?” Ken looked over at Mina both horrified and surprised. “I would give up anything to avoid getting on Nina’s bad side.”
Mina had changed to an easier gear to pedal since they had just begun to go uphill. “Well, you two never hold back what you want to say. I sometimes regret not saying something when I really want to.”
“What do you mean?” Ken lifted his eyebrows, confused. “We always have a fun time together! We’re way more compatible with each other, than Nina and I.”
Mina didn’t say anything with betrayed eyes, looking off to the side. She thought, I would agree, but only if that was true.
The rest of the way was silence as they wanted to focus on the bike trip to the beach. It was going to take them a total of thirty minutes, and there were plenty of hills along the way so they wanted to conserve as much energy as they can. By the time they had gotten there, the sun was starting to set and there weren’t that many people at the beach since most of them were starting to pack up after the hot humid day. They had gotten off their bikes, and locked them by the bike stand. Afterwards, Ken and Mina had decided to walk along the beach. Mina looked at the horizon. “What a beautiful sunset. I’m glad I could see this before I go on the trip tomorrow.”
“Mina, when are you coming back?” Ken looked at her.
“It should be next Monday,” Mina returned her gaze back onto Ken. “Do you want to go to the festival the night after? I heard there will be fireworks that day.”
“Of course!” He nodded, unable to hide his excitement.
“I’m looking forward to it too.” She smiled. “I hope Nina comes along too.”
“I can imagine what my night will be like if Nina decides to come.” Ken sighed.
Mina laughed out loud. “Don’t say that. Just admit that you’ll enjoy it.”
“I’ll enjoy it if Nina stops trying to pick a fight with me at everything I do.”
She giggled, and then looked at her watch for the time. “We should head back now. I don’t want to be late for dinner.”
“I’m starting to feel hungry too.” Ken nodded, and they started to ride back home on their bikes the same path that they took to get to the beach. When they reached their neighbourhood, they had stopped at a pedestrian’s crossing to wait for the signal to cross the street. Mina told Ken, “You don’t have to follow me all the way to my home. It’s just two blocks away, and I know you live in the opposite direction from me.”
“It’s no hassle for me. Besides, I want the extra exercise.”
“Didn’t you say you were hungry? You can’t lie to me.”
He scratched at his temple, as he looked up at the sky with a smile. It was a habit of his when he was trying to lie. Then he laughed, and nodded. “You caught me there, Mina. I’ll head on home from here, and have a good trip.”
“Thank you, Ken. I’ll see you when I get back.” She moved closer while they were on their bikes, and hugged him for a farewell.
“I’ll be waiting for you.” He turned around his bike, and started to pedal away. It hadn’t even been ten seconds since he started to pedal when he heard a screeching crash from behind him.
Ken immediately turned around to see what was going on. He saw a car speeding down the road in a hurry. Then he saw Mina on the ground a couple of meters from her bike. Ken jumped off his bike, letting it fall onto the sidewalk. He ran as fast as he could towards Mina, and pushed aside the few pedestrians that had stopped to look at the commotion. When he was near her, Ken slid on the ground and grasped Mina’s hand in shock. “Mina, can you hear me!?”
She made no motion as she lay on the ground with her eyes closed, lifeless. Ken looked up at the small crowd, scanning for any sort of response from any of them. “Did someone call the ambulance!? Please hurry!”
He heard a person say, “Someone already did…”
As soon as he heard that amongst the crowd, he looked back down at Mina and started to cry. His hold on her hand tightened as he looked really worried. He continued shouting, hoping she would hear his voice, “Please, Mina! Wake up! Please be fine! I can’t lose you! You’re really important to me! I like you!”
He had continued to yell in a loud voice all sorts of things, sobbing. Sadly, no matter what Ken had said, Mina could no longer hear his voice anymore.
A month later…
The windows were slightly ajar, the sound of the cicadas were heard everywhere from the streets to the mountain side, and fans were blasted on high to try to cool a sweaty Nina in her sleep. Even with the alarms ringing on a weekend, Nina was still in a deep sleep until suddenly her eyes opened suddenly and sat up panting. She looked over to her sister’s empty bed with the expectation that she was going to be there like normal, but the vacancy left a frown on her face. Ever since the news that Mina had passed away, Nina started to be lethargic to get up from bed. It was as if losing her twin sister made her lose a part of herself. The one friend she wanted him to be there for her was somewhere else.
A knock was at the door, and it was her mom. “Nina, are you up? Breakfast is ready.”
When she walked by her desk and her sister’s desk, all of the pictures were placed down to avoid recalling her memories. Nina sat down in front of the mirror and she could still recall her last conversation with her twin sister. Nina always regretted having acted like that towards her sister, and she was going to apologize and confide to her the next time they saw each other. She sighed knowing it was too late.
Nina got a Kleenex on top of her desk and wiped the tears that had rolled down her cheeks. After calming down, she went down for breakfast. She greeted, “Morning, Mom.”
“Slept in again?” she replied, grinning. “I don’t have any problem since it is summer break. What you do with your free time is up to you.”
Nina smiled sheepishly. “I couldn’t sleep well again last night.”
When Nina sat down at the table to start her breakfast, her mom asked, “I know it has been about a month, but are you still thinking about Mina?” Nina gave no response, which her mother continued with a brief sigh in between. “That’s understandable. Dad and I miss her too. You’re not the only one.”
As Nina was listening to her mom, she started to dig in with her breakfast and had swallowed the first bite of her eggs. “Every time that I open my eyes, I imagine that she will be there. It was too soon for her to leave.”
Nina’s mom suggested, “We don’t know what the heavens have for us. We have to accept everyone has their time, and place before the end.”
“It was too early for her to go. How can a child leave before their parents do? There was something important I had to tell Sister,” Nina complained. “I don’t understand the idea of everyone has their time.”
“You’ll understand with time. By the way, Nina, can you bring this pot back to Ken for me? We borrowed it from his parents, and I have chores to finish for the rest of this morning.”
“Sure, I’ll go after I finish eating.”
“This will give you a chance to catch up with Ken. He must be going through a rough patch like you; maybe you might recover a bit after sorting things out with him.”
Nina rolled her eyes in silence, not caring to give a response to her mom. Not including the times that Mina forced Nina to play with her and Ken, Nina had never spoken to him out of her own free will since five years ago. She wondered how she was going to act around him after so long, especially without a mediator between them.
After breakfast, Nina grabbed the pot in the kitchen and left her house with it to walk to Ken’s house. Because it has been a while since Nina had ventured outside during the day, she immediately narrowed her eyes at the sunlight for it was too bright. After a couple of minutes of adjusting, she didn’t have to use a hand to shield her eyes and continued to proceed to his house. At Ken’s home, Nina rang the doorbell and his mom opened the door with a surprised look. “Here you go, Mrs. Li. My mom asked me to return this back to you.”
She took it and grinned. “Thank you, Nina. It’s nice to see you. It’s been a while.”
Nina bowed and started to turn around to leave until Mrs. Li asked, “Why don’t you come in and visit Ken upstairs? He’s shut himself inside his room most of the time. He won’t open up to us, and I am starting to get worried. Maybe, you might be able to talk to him.”
She replied with one eyebrow raised, “What makes you think I can talk to him?”
“You two are the same age, and have experienced the same things. Just go up.” Mrs. Li grabbed Nina by the arms and forcibly pushed her towards the stairs near the front foyer. She said before heading to the kitchen, “I’ll make some tea for you two.”
After the forceful entry, Nina sighed as she took one step at a time to the upper floor to Ken’s door. When she was right in front of his door, she raised an arm to prepare to knock but hesitated for a split second. She thought, why am I doing this? This is supposed to be the other way around.
After clearing her mind to get rid of the nerves from preventing to knock on his door, she did so and waited for a response from the other side. Nina heard quietly with a tone that sounded like he was annoyed and whiny, “Who is it? I’m not hungry.”
Nina bit the corner of her lip, frustrated. She thought, do you think you’re the only one in pain? She was going to yell to start a fight as usual, but for her sister’s sake, she tried to exhibit Mina’s kindness just this one time. She knocked on the door again. “This is Nina. Can I come in?”
With what was only five seconds, Nina thought she waited for an eternity for his answer with only hearing her quickening heartbeat. Ken finally replied, “Sure, come in.”
As soon as Nina was in Ken’s room, she closed the door immediately and was struck with a sense of nostalgia being in Ken’s room. She couldn’t help but say, “Has it really been five years since I last been here? It’s like nothing has changed from back then.”
After realizing the nostalgia, Nina immediately noticed the air was so thick and went straight to the window to pull up the blinds, and to open it for fresh air. Ken asked, sitting up from his bed, “Nina, what do you want?”
She finally snapped, and pointed her finger at him with distinction. “Do you really think you’re the only one sad about my sister’s death? The funeral is over, and what’s done is done. It’s time to move on!”
“It’s not that simple,” Ken said, standing up to face Nina. “I thought she was the one, but now she’s gone.”
“Boo hoo!” Nina pretended to cry and sob until she said in a stern voice, “Ken, just suck it up.”
He muttered bitterly, “That’s what a heartless person would say.”
Nina grabbed Ken by the collar of his shirt with one hand and pointed her index finger of the other in Ken’s face, eyes flaring out and her tears were at bay. “Have you ever thought, even just for a second, about my feelings and my troubles because of my sister’s death? To make things worse, you at least got to see her last! I didn’t even have that chance! Considering all of that, you are very lucky!”
Ken looked down at the floor with a look of pity and shame. She let him go taking in deep breaths to calm down her pulse and went for the door. “I should get going because this is such a waste of time. What was I thinking?”
Nina opened the door abruptly with his mom holding a tray with a steaming teapot and tea cups with a frightened look for a split second. “Nina, tea is ready.”
“I’m leaving,” Nina replied before storming down the stairs.
For a brief moment, Ken stood there shocked before chasing after Nina and stopping her right at his front door downstairs. “Wait, Nina!”
She didn’t even turn around, but she stopped nonetheless waiting for whatever Ken had to say.
“I’m sorry for acting the way I am.” Ken admitted to her, wiping his chin with a quick glance up at the ceiling. “It comes as a shock to me because I was right in front of her. I always close my eyes and dream of the occurrence, and believed that I should have done something. I always regret it. I’m not as strong as you to bury these things below.”
Nina looked over her shoulder and whispered before she left, “You’re not the only one with regrets, but appearances are deceiving.”
Ken stood there with a dumbfounded face by what Nina had said because he always thought she was strong. He ran out onto the sidewalk to watch Nina walk away. He had shaped his hands into a cup at his mouth and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Nina, thank you! I’ll see you later!”
She stopped and smiled before turning around with a huge frown on her face. “You’re bothering your neighbours with that loud voice of yours!”
Ken ran up to her, still yelling, “But you’re doing it as well!”
“You’re the one that started it!”
“Now that I think about it, why do you always have something to counter what I say? Mina never did any of that.”
“I’m not like Sister at all, so suck on that! I’m my own unique person!” Nina stuck out her tongue to tease him. It infuriated Ken because he was at a loss for words and stood there with his red cheeks.
Mrs. Li stood at the front door with the tray, smiling and laughing at the two of them. “Looks like Ken will be alright after all.”
Three years later…
At the latest family dinner, Ken had suddenly sat beside Nina on the couches after their meal in the living room at his house. Their parents were chatting happily and loudly in the dining room down the hallway. She asked, keeping her eyes focused on the TV, “Is there any reason to be beside me?”
He replied nonchalantly, “I figure that since we end up making a lot of noise, it would solve our parents’ problem tonight.”
Then he proceeded putting his arm around Nina’s shoulder as he did with close friends. She immediately shrugged his arm off, peeved. “I don’t remember being all buddy-buddy with you.”
“Sorry about that. It won’t happen again.” Ken retracted his arm and pretended to watch TV.
“You damn better hope it won’t happen again,” Nina whispered, finally breaking eye contact with the television screen and glared at Ken. She knew something was odd especially with trying to act all nice to her and sitting beside her tonight. He usually wandered off to his room after he finished eating. She asked out of the blue, “What do you want?”
“What are you talking about?” He replied, acting innocent.
“Ken, you know I’m not stupid. You’re acting all nice because you want me to do a favour for you. Well, what is it?”
He scratched his chin while he bit his lip sheepishly, then he turned to face her and begged her as he suddenly held both of her hands. “You know Alicia, that girl with the glasses that sits beside you, right? Can you put in a few good words for me and have her meet me on some weekend?”
She looked at him, shaking her head disappointed. “Why don’t you do it yourself? What do you got to lose?”
His cheeks reddened, acting shy. “She’s really pretty and every time that I think of approaching her, I get butterflies in my stomach. You have to understand what I go through.”
“Man up.” Nina told him simply with a slight shrug. “No girl will find you attractive if you have no self-confidence.”
“What about you?”
“What about me?” Nina knew what he meant, but she still put on a confused look.
“Do you find me attractive at all?”
She burst out laughing, rolling on the couch while holding her stomach. Nina didn’t have any ill intentions, but had practiced to make her fake laughs sound real. After a good laugh, she wiped a couple of tears with her hands. “That was a funny joke, Ken.” Nina said, “You’re a repulsive idiot. I really have no idea why Sister liked you.”
“Ouch, thanks for the ego boost,” Ken said in a sarcastic voice, pretending to rub his chest in pain. Afterwards, he added, “But will you please ask Alicia for me?”
After seeing Ken pleading in front of her and being very annoying, Nina finally relented to his favour. She muttered, “Fine, I’ll help you out this one time.”
Ken hugged her tightly, excited. “Thank you so much, Nina. I owe you.”
“Please don’t,” Nina tried to push him away, grossed out by his unnecessary grasp around her.
Fortunately when she relayed the news to Ken that he can meet and talk to Alicia in private, he was overjoyed and couldn’t thank her enough. When it came time for the fateful meeting, Ken was behind the shed on the school grounds which were a staple for confessions to happen. He arrived at the spot five minutes early; Ken wanted to prepare what to say and to calm down before Alicia came to meet him. Just as Nina told him, Alicia actually came to the requested spot and greeted, “Ken, I heard from Nina that you wanted to tell me something here. What’s up?”
“Hi Alicia,” he said after he was a little spooked at her sudden appearance since he was preoccupied. “Yes, I wanted to ask you about something important.”
As this was happening, Nina followed Alicia down to meet with Ken and she hid in a bush to eavesdrop on their conversation.
He confessed, “Ever since the beginning of the school year, I wanted to tell you that you’re really pretty. Every time that I see you, I’m at a loss for words. Finally, after a couple of months, I can safely say that I really like you.”
Ken was on cloud nine after he said his confession and was proud that he could say it all uninterrupted. His happiness didn’t last forever though as Alicia soon responded, “Ken, I’m really happy of your compliment and I’m thankful of your feelings, but you’re just not my type.”
His mouth dropped open in astonishment, and had continued to hang there. “Why? What’s wrong with me?”
Alicia shook her head, frantic. “No, there’s nothing wrong with you. I think you’re a cool guy, but don’t you think it seems wrong for Nina?”
It took him a couple of seconds to register what she was talking about. Then he waved both of his hands as fast as possible. “Oh God, no! I don’t like Nina at all. She’s just a friend. You’re the only one.”
Alicia asked slowly and carefully, emphasizing each word, “Are you sure?”
Ken nodded with confidence. “There’s nothing between us at all.”
“Then I would gladly go on a date with you. Do you want to plan it out after school?” Alicia beamed happily, and then she started to walk back with Ken.
The last thing Nina heard before they were too far away was Ken saying, “Of course, let’s get a bite to eat while we do that.”
Nina felt her tears rolling down her cheeks and falling onto the soil, as she clenched the patch of grass in front of her as tight as she could throughout Ken’s confession. Nina thought, this is for the best, right? I can’t take him away from you, so I’ll leave you with him.
Four years later…
It was a bright sunny day with not a single cloud in the blue sky. This was the perfect day for a school day during the spring season. A group of grade nine girls were in a huddle by the stairwell leading up to the school rooftop whispering amongst each other.
“Jen, this is the perfect chance to ask him out. You can’t waste it!”
“He’s all alone eating his lunch on the roof right now. Come on!”
“You don’t get a chance like this, and I heard he’s single right now.”
“B-But…” Jennifer glanced at her friends with a worried look. “I’m not prepared yet.”
All of them peeked from the doorway to see Ken leaning on the fence overlooking the field down below. He was eating his peanut butter and jam sandwich that he had made in the morning before leaving for school. Then the girls hid behind the wall with even more pressure on Jennifer.
“We know you’ve been preparing to confess since the beginning of the year. You can do it.”
“We support you all the way.”
“Thank you, everyone.” She beamed, and took one step at a time towards Ken. Even though it was a short distance, it felt like Jennifer walked a marathon. As an introvert, Jennifer’s inner self talked her through this to help ease her shaky nerves. “Calm down, Jen. You just need to say what you practiced at home and in your dreams. He’s only one year older. I got this.”
When she was only a couple of meters away from him, she gulped before stuttering. “Ken, it’s a nice day, right?”
Before he turned around to look at her, she had a dreamy look as she stared at his face looking down at the other students below. Jennifer snapped back to reality when she heard him say, “It sure is. This type of weather is my favourite.”
Jennifer’s inner self began to squeal even more when he smiled at her. It always happened in her dreams, but she never expected her crush, Ken, to even look at her in reality. When she was lost in her thoughts, Ken asked as if he knew why Jennifer had approached him, “Do you have something to say to me?”
She froze for a second, remembering the reason she approached him just now. She took a couple of deep breaths, and said slowly, “Ken, I have always watched you after school when you go to the tennis courts to practice with the school team. You’re amazing, and I just want to say that I really like you! Please go out with me!” Jennifer bowed towards him as she clenched her hands tightly by her sides with her eyes close. After a couple of seconds, she slowly looked up as she relaxed her hands along with her eyes opening.
Ken gave the same answer just as usual. “I appreciate your feelings, but I can’t do that. I’m sorry.”
She was shocked by his answer, but she blinked a couple of times to hold back the tears. She had difficulty swallowing her own saliva as she felt something was stuck even if it was only her imagination. “C-Can I still talk to you as a friend?”
“Of course. Let’s start from the beginning.” He nodded, and went up to her to shake her hand. “I’m Ken, and you are?”
“My name is Jennifer, but you can call me Jen.”
“Nice to meet you, Jen.” Ken smiled. “I’m sorry to leave like this, but I have to meet someone right now. Is that okay?”
Jennifer immediately shook her head, still shocked at being able to talk to her crush. “Of course, you can go ahead.”
“Thanks, and enjoy the rest of your lunch. Bye, Jen.” He walked past her and threw out the rest of his lunch in the garbage can as he descended back down to the lower floors in their high school. He made his way back to his classroom and sat at his desk by the windows, which was coincidentally in front of Nina’s desk. She kept her short hair from her childhood. When Ken sat down at his desk, Nina glared at him and decided to look outside the windows while eating her lunch by herself today. After a while, she whispered as she leaned forward a bit in her chair, “How come you’re not eating your lunch with your friends today?”
“The same can be said with you.” He turned around to look at her. “What’s with your mood today? You seemed more angry than usual.”
“It’s none of your business.” She tried her best to remain expressionless. “If you have time to sit here talking to me, why don’t you use your time better, like studying?”
He ignored her sarcastic remark, and boasted happily, “Nina, you know what happened just now?”
She stayed silent, trying to show she was uninterested.
He pretended he didn’t notice her bored expression. “I got asked out by another girl this month. It’s so great being the ace of the tennis team. That makes it…” Then he started to count with his fingers trying to remember the number of times he got a confession.
“The tenth girl,” Nina simply answered. “You’re so full of yourself just because you were the only person in our school to win the regionals last year. I’m sure your admirers will have a different opinion of you if I announce how you wet your bed after watching a scary movie when we were five.”
Ken looked around them to make sure no one was listening to their conversation. When he was confident that no one was listening, he chuckled. “Is that a hint of jealousy I’m hearing from you, Nina?”
Her composure was lost for a moment as she sat back in her chair and lost her expressionless face. She stuttered, “W-What are you talking about? That’s stupid.” Then she crossed her arms and glared into his eyes.
He continued, snickering, “Is it because you haven’t been asked out by any guy so far?”
“What makes you think no guy has ever asked me out?” Nina avoided eye contact with Ken in case he noticed that she had just told a lie.
“If that was the case, I would have heard about it. Rumours get passed around so fast.” He snapped his fingers at the end.
Nina mumbled, “What if I never told anyone that I do like someone.”
He leaned forward, unable to hear the last thing that she had just said. “What was that? You spoke so quiet just now. Say it again.”
Nina slammed her hand against the desk, standing up. “It’s because of you that no one has asked me out. You’re always together with me!”
Ken leaned back at her violent action against the desk, surprised by her reaction. “Nina, there are no such thing about the two of us. Where are you hearing about this?”
They stared at each other for a couple of seconds before Nina stormed off into the hallway to hide her flushed face. She thought, Argh! He can be so dense sometimes that it can be aggravating!
As Ken stared at Nina’s back, he shrugged his shoulders wondering what her problem was.
Lunchtime ended, and everybody returned for class. Then hours later, the bell rang signaling the end of the school day, and both Ken and Nina were getting ready to go to their extracurricular activity. Ken went to the tennis courts by the side of the school, while Nina head to the track at the back of the school. Without a single word to Ken, Nina quickly left the classroom trying to ignore him. After changing into a t-shirt and shorts in the girl’s change room, Nina prepared to warm up by jogging around the track field before the rest of the team arrived. After five minutes, her friend, Jessica, joined her after changing. “How did your day go, Nina?”
Jessica made a cheeky grin, thinking, the rumours were right after all. “In the morning, you were in a foul mood when we were walking to school but now you’re feeling good. Does it have something to do with Ken?”
“T-That’s preposterous!” She burst out loud as she was acting defensive. “Why would I care about that arrogant brat? He thinks he’s on top of the world just because he won the regionals last year. Let me tell you, Jess, that there are a million people out there that are better than him!”
Jessica laughed. “Let him have the spotlight until then, Nina. Also, just admit that you’re proud of him.”
“Like I just said, why would I care about him!?” Nina sped up as she glared in front of her, leaving Jessica behind.
She shook her head with a sigh. Some things never change, do they?
Soon after, the coach had arrived and practice began. Everybody had warmed up together by doing stretches across the field. Afterwards, everybody went off to practice their specialized event for the upcoming track meet next month. Jessica and Nina had been practicing for the marathon event, so they joined the small group running the long route around the school. Along the route, they had passed by the tennis courts and Nina couldn’t help but notice a crowd around one court. This had piqued her curiosity. “Jess, hold on. Can we stop by for a bit?” Nina took a detour from the route.
Jessica followed her and both of them stopped when they could see what was going on.
The match was just about to end as Mike, a grade nine transfer student, was beating Ken in a landslide. The score on the board showed: 6-4, 6-2, 5-2. The current game had Mike serving, leading 40-15. He only needed one more point to win the match. Nina turned her eyes back to Ken and grinned, Ha! Serves you right for your ego. This should teach you a lesson. Although she had thought that, Nina folded her arms and had her right hand pinched her left elbow in frustration. Jessica noticed her small motion and looked perplexed before focusing on watching the match again.
On the court, Ken had wiped off the sweat on his forehead with his sleeve and stood at the proper position to return Mike’s serve. He was panting really hard, and used his wristband to wipe his forehead. The same thoughts kept on swirling inside his head: I can’t give up, I have to defend this last point and…
He couldn’t finish thinking as Mike had served the ball to him at a blistering speed. Ken didn’t even have time to react, and just stood there as the ball went by him after bouncing in the box. He looked at the scoreboard being change to: 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Ken dropped to his knees in shock, and looked at Mike as he raised his hand in victory. Everybody clapped at the winner, and Ken felt disgusted at his performance. When he was making his way to his bench, he glanced at the crowd to see Nina standing there in the back. For only a second, he saw a sad expression on her face but it disappeared as soon as she noticed him. Before returning to her route, she stuck out her tongue to tease him.
After seeing Nina, Ken clenched his fists and turned towards Mike with renewed strength. “I demand a rematch.”
“Are you sure you’re up for humiliating yourself again? I want you to save face as the ace of the team.” Mike grinned.
“I won’t accept defeat so easily.”
“To make it more interesting for everyone…” He suggested, “How about whoever loses, they will have to do whatever the winner tells him to do for a week.”
For a moment, Ken hesitated before announcing, “I accept your conditions.” Then he quickly got his belongings and left to go to the change room in a hurry. As he left, he avoided everybody’s stares and focused on the ground. He quickly changed and left school in a hurry, ashamed of the loss.
Meanwhile, practice was over for the track team and Nina and Jessica went into the girl’s change room. Even though it had been an hour, Jessica reiterated, “I can’t believe Ken lost that badly against someone. It was a shock, right?”
“It might serve as a slap back to reality for him.” Nina didn’t stop from changing into her casual clothes.
“You’ll cheer him up when you see him, right?”
“W-Why would I do that?” Nina stopped for a second before continuing to fold her clothes into her backpack.
Jessica closed her locker, and turned to face Nina. “Don’t you know Ken the longest? You must know what would make him feel better.”
Nina had closed her locker as well, and both girls exited the change room to start to head on home. When they were outside, Nina responded to Jessica’s question, “I’m only going to talk to Ken if I see him tonight. Let me warn you though that this was entirely your idea, Jess.”
“It’s better than not trying,” Jessica couldn’t hide her mischievous smile.
Afterwards, they switched topics and talked about other things. They walked part way before going home alone since neither of their houses was close to one another. When Nina was sure she was alone, she dashed off down an alleyway to head to the nearby playground park where she used to play when she was little. Nina remembered it was also another spot where Ken would always be if he was depressed about something in the past. Just as she predicted, she found him sitting on one of the swings with his school bag near the playground. He didn’t notice her though as he stared at the sand looking gloomy. As a prank, Nina quietly went behind him by going on her toes and shoving him off the swing. His face went into the sand.
Ken could hear Nina’s laugh and afterwards he stood up to spit out the sand in his mouth.
“Nina, what was that for!?” He wiped the sand off his face and his clothes.
She put her arms at her waist, and glared at him. “It was the perfect opportunity to tease you. There aren’t many chances when you’re sad.”
“You don’t know how I’m feeling right now!” He continued to yell at her, ignoring the random strangers passing by the park. “Why did you come here if you weren’t going to comfort me? I’m sure Mina would cheer me up!”
“Well, I’m sorry for not being more like my sister!”
Ken scratched the top of his head, frustrated. “God, why did you have to take Mina and not her twin sister instead?”
Ken expected Nina to fight back, but for the first time in his life he saw her eyes full of tears. Before he could say anything, Nina turned around and started to run away. Ken looked stunned like a statue at what he had just seen. He caught up to her and held her wrist to stop her from leaving.
“Don’t touch me!”
Ken had let go of Nina, but she didn’t start to try to run again. Her shoulders shook as she continued to cry. “Nina, I’m sorry for what I said. You know I didn’t completely mean it. I’m sure I said a couple of things just as bad in the past.”
“I don’t like you as much as Sister did, but I never wished you were gone.” She rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand.
“I’m sorry.” Ken wasn’t sure what to do in this situation as this was a first for him to face with his childhood friend. “What else do you want me to say?”
“What hurts more isn’t my own feelings about you, but I’m sure the thoughts and feelings of Sister must be hurting right now.”
“You don’t know that…” Ken proceeded to pat Nina’s shoulder to try to calm her down, but she took a step away from him.
“Just leave me alone!” Then she sprinted off, leaving Ken behind in the dust.
After standing there, he finally went back to pick up his school bag and ran after her. After searching around the area, he couldn’t find Nina anywhere so he decided the next best place she would be was in her home. Ken hesitated ringing the doorbell, but after taking a full breath he rang it a couple of times. Her mom opened it, and whispered, “What on earth happened between the two of you? Nina just came home a while ago in tears, and shut herself in her room. It was a rare sight.”
Ken gulped, looking guilty. “We got into an argument, but the main point is can I come in to apologize to her?”
Before Nina’s mom could answer, Nina yelled from her window that was facing the front yard, “Mom, I don’t want to see Ken right now!”
“Sure thing, Ken.” She had let him inside, and he ran upstairs and stood in front of the door to Nina’s room.
“Please forgive me, Nina. I don’t know what Mina would be thinking if she was still alive, but she’s no longer here.”
He could hear Nina move over and pressed her head against the door. “How could you forget about her? She loved you!”
“I don’t follow what you’re saying. How is what I said have anything related to Mina?”
The volume on her voice decreased so much as if she was talking to herself. “I’m sorry. Maybe you’re right. I should have been the one to go instead of Sister.”
Ken knocked on the door again, and Nina could sense urgency in his voice. “Nina, what on earth are you talking about?” Then he reached for the door knob to try to turn it to give it a shot, and it wasn’t locked. Even though Nina leaned against the door using her body weight, it was easy for him to overpower her.
Nina immediately went to her desk to wipe her tears with a tissue. There was a clear distinction between which areas of the room were Nina’s versus Mina’s. Everything that was Mina’s was organized and tidy, while Nina’s belongings were completely messy. The only thing that was neat on Nina’s side of the room was a small bookshelf with a bunch of magazines and books she had collected over the years. It was labelled with the month and year that she had received them. The content of the magazines was all about tennis, and she had read through all of the books and magazines multiple times judging by the poor condition of the reading materials. For a student that was on the track team, it seemed particularly strange for her to have everything about tennis and so little about track and field.
“Don’t look so closely at my room.” Nina spread her arms out as if that made a difference to block his view.
“It’s too late for that.” Ken laughed as he had finished surveying the room with his eyes. “Nina, tell me what did you mean. It has to be more serious than the silly banter from earlier.”
Nina bit her lip to stop herself from saying what was on her mind. She thought, I want to tell you, I really do but that would mean betraying my sister. Then she went over to Ken and hugged him. That threw him for a surprise as he remembered this never happened in the past. “I’m sorry for getting upset earlier. I don’t know what got over me. I’m just a crybaby.”
“Really?” Ken did not seem convinced by what Nina had said.
She tried to change the topic again. “Ken, do you feel better with this hug? This is from Sister.”
“It does. Thanks.” Ken exhaled as he closed his eyes to envision Mina instead of her twin sister.
Then a knock came at the door. Nina realized she was holding Ken for an extended amount of time, and stepped away with her face getting red. Her mom smiled. “I was getting worried there with the shouting, so I came up to see what I could do but then it got quiet.”
Ken realized the situation turned awkward when Nina’s mom was listening in the entire time. He walked into the hallway outside of the room before turning around. “Nina, I’ll see you tomorrow then. I guess.”
“Yeah, whatever.” She crossed her arms and rolled her eyes to make it seem she didn’t care what he had just said.
“Good night, Mrs. Chan.” Ken turned towards Nina’s mom and descended the stairs to make his exit.
After hearing the sound of the front door closing, the only sound heard was the ticking sound from Nina’s clock inside the room. Her mom said, “Nina, Dad is coming home soon. Please come downstairs and help set up the table.”
“Okay, Mom. I’ll be down in a minute.”
She watched her mom go downstairs, and heaved a sigh trying to recall what had just happened in the last hour. Afterwards, Nina walked downstairs to help her mom lay cutlery on the table for the family of three. When she was laying the knives and forks on the table, her mom told her, “I recorded the tennis matches that were on TV this afternoon. The tape is on the coffee table in the living room.”
“Thank you, Mom.”
Her mom said as she was cooking in front of the stove, “Nina, do you care to explain what happened earlier with Ken?”
Nina knew her mom was going to bring it up, but wasn’t sure whether she was going to do that at the dinner table or before her dad came home from work. Nina sat down at the table, blinking her eyes to not cry. “I like Ken. Even though we don’t get along well, he told me in the heat of the argument that he wished that I died instead of Sister.”
“Even if you were upset, was it necessary to get angry over something so silly?”
She muttered, “I guess not.”
“I’m glad that you two worked it out.” She turned around to look at her daughter for a quick second before focusing back onto cooking in front of the stove. “You’re maturing. I remember his parents, your dad, and I had to break up the fights when you two were little. Why couldn’t you learn something from your sister?”
Although Nina stayed quiet afterwards, she did use Mina as a way to get her out of the situation. Nina’s dad came home soon after and they began to have dinner. In the morning before the first class started, Ken leaned on the back of his chair facing Nina. She tried her best to ignore him, and pretended to read her notes. “Don’t you have something better to do right now? I’m busy.”
“Nope. I just want to look at you.” He knew what kind of buttons to press to get on Nina’s nerves.
She ignored his statement to try to keep the distant, neutral look. “You played horrible yesterday, and from what I saw, you need to improve quite a bit if you want to beat that first year. First, you stood too close to the base line and that would decrease the amount of time for you to react. You need to work on your stamina. I can’t believe you were that tired after playing three sets. Aren’t most tournament matches a best out of five sets? Get your act together, Ken. You’ve been slacking for way too long after being all cocky from last year.”
“Huh?” Ken slapped himself on the forehead. He wasn’t prepared with what Nina said all of a sudden.
“You should be glad I only said that much. I could talk for hours about your weaknesses, and by the time I finish, you would be in tears.” Nina didn’t want to be completely honest, but she still wanted to help him.
“Nina, you’re unbelievable.” Ken sighed while shaking his head. Then he turned around, and crossed his arms as he tightened his fists, thinking, Wait a second… she does make a good point about what I need to improve. Should I thank her? No, if I do that now, it will only go to her ego and that’s the last thing I want.
Classes started in the morning, and the school day felt really long because Ken was looking forward for tennis practice, so he stared for as much as possible at the second hand on the clock until the end of the school day. Nina had already left for practice, but while she was running with Jessica along the route an unexpected guest was right behind them. “Why are you following us, Ken?” She closed her eyes and could feel the wrinkles between her eyes.
“You told me that I had to improve on my stamina, and wouldn’t the best option be to practice with your group?”
“I understand that, but I didn’t mean you have to run with us. You can do that anywhere.”
“You don’t have to be so cold about it. Isn’t it more fun to train with other people, right, Jessica?” Ken turned to face her with a smile.
She looked between the two of them, and couldn’t help but snicker. “Of course, Ken! The more the merrier!”
“If that’s the case, then you two can enjoy yourself. I want to run by myself.” Nina dashed forward, leaving Ken and Jessica behind.
Jessica muttered, “Geez… She can never be honest with herself.”
“What was that, Jessica?”
“Oh, nothing! Let’s try to catch up to her.”
They both sped up, and Jessica could run as fast as Nina but Ken couldn’t keep up for long. He stopped by the side, panting. When practice was over, the coach wanted to hold a short meeting so Ken decided to leave them. All of the members sat on the grass as the coach was in front of the bench. “I would like to make an important announcement to all of you. Since the track meet is coming up soon, I had asked permission from the principal to allow me to take you to a training camp to prepare for the track meet.”
Everybody was excited and one of the students asked, “When will it be?”
“It will start tomorrow until the end of next week.”
Jessica could see that Nina was a bit spaced out, so she asked, “Nina, what’s wrong? Aren’t you excited about this?”
“Huh?” She looked up at her, puzzled for a moment and then masked it with joy. “For sure! This is the perfect time for us to improve a lot!”
“You’re not worried about missing Ken’s rematch, right?” She got close and nudged her arm, giggling.
“T-That’s dumb. You’re so wrong, Jess.” She clenched her fists and glared up at the sky. “I hope he loses so he knows his place in this world.”
Just like the day before, Nina and Jessica had walked mid-way home before separating onto their own streets. Nina was rushing to go home to start to pack for the training camp, but she saw someone waiting in front of her house. She tried her best to pretend she didn’t notice him, but he called out to her, “Nina, I was waiting for you for a while.”
“Ken, what do you want? I’m busy.” She sighed.
“Well… this isn’t important but I was wondering if you have more tips to tell me on how to improve my tennis skills.”
She showed her annoyance by placing two of her fingers on her forehead for a second. “Why are you asking me about tennis? What I said earlier today was only common sense. You should ask your other teammates for advice rather than coming to me.”
“That’s true, but I trust you.”
Nina was caught off guard when he said that, but then afterwards she quickly looked away with her cheeks reddening. Then she narrowed her eyes and snapped at him. “I have nothing else to say to you about tennis. Is that all?”
“But you told me this morning you could have lectured me for hours about how I could improve,” he said, confused.
She lied, “That was only an exaggeration. Duh!”
After a couple of seconds, Ken asked, “One last thing, you’ll watch my rematch against Mike next week, right?”
“Sorry to tell you but the coach has scheduled a training camp all of next week for the track team.” Nina pushed him aside, and walked up towards the front door. “Thank God I won’t be seeing your face for an entire week.”
“Good luck with your training, Nina. I’ll be working hard on mine.”
“I don’t need your luck because you need it more than I do.” Nina couldn’t help but rub Ken’s disappointing loss in his face.
Ken burst out laughing even if it sounded exaggerated and fake. After he stopped laughing, he looked straight into Nina’s eyes. “I know you will probably be busy after you get back from the training camp, but can I show you something?”
“Show me what?” Nina looked curious at his question even if she didn’t have any expectation it would lead somewhere.
“I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.”
“Come on!” Nina tapped her foot against the ground, frustrated.
Ken was enjoying this a lot more than he anticipated after seeing Nina’s expression. “You’re going to have to wait a week, but I’ll give you a hint. It is something I wanted to show your other side years ago.” Then he ran off.
As Nina watched Ken run off, she looked in disbelief at just how much he played her like a fool. After he was gone from her sight, she shook her head and jogged up the steps to the front door. Nina went inside to tell her mom that she was going to be away all of next week, and went upstairs to her room to start to pack her clothes. When she decided to take a break from packing, Nina sat at her desk and looked at the same picture frame. “Even though I won’t see him, a week will go by fast. Sister, I hope you can watch over him for me while I’m gone.”
One week passed, it was the day Nina was coming home from the training camp. Ken rang the doorbell for her house, and Nina’s mom opened the door. “Hi Ken, are you here to see Nina?”
He nodded. “Yes. Has she return?”
“She hasn’t come back yet, but she should be in a couple of hours. Why don’t you come in and wait inside?”
“Thank you.” He went inside their house with his hands inside his pockets. “Can I go up to Mina’s and Nina’s room?”
“Of course,” her mom replied, and continued as he was walking upstairs. “I almost gave you directions to her room, but you don’t need that, right?”
Ken couldn’t help but laugh as he stopped in front of Nina’s room. After he opened the door, he took a short tour around the room, looking on the walls and shelves. Then he came across Nina’s bookshelf that had a bunch of tennis magazines. He pulled some of them out and was very surprised. He couldn’t hide his grin on his face thinking, what a liar. She knows more about tennis than she wanted me to know. Then he saw an album on the bookshelf and pulled it out to look through it. He was surprised they were all newspaper articles about him playing tennis throughout the years. He reached the last article which was his achievement of winning the regionals last year. Ken couldn’t help but smile, and put everything back on the shelf. He was astonished at the fact that Nina watched over him through all of the years because he thought she hated him.
He placed a folded note on top of her desk, and went downstairs to the front foyer. “I’m going now!”
Nina’s mom said, “Are you sure? Nina’s-” She didn’t finish her sentence since Ken had already left.
Later this day, Nina opened the front door with a sigh. She was tired from the training camp, and just wanted to go up to her room to sleep. “Mom, I’m home.”
“Welcome home, Nina.” She hurried to the front foyer and hugged her. “How was the camp?”
“It was fun but tiring.” Nina started to go up the stairs to her room. “I’m not having any dinner tonight. I just want to sleep.”
“You’re not going to your room. Tell me your experiences at the training camp right now,” her mom placed her hands at her hips and narrowed her eyes, not letting her off the hook just yet.
Despite her complaints, Nina and her mom went over to have a sit on the couch and she told everything that happened during the past week. After thirty minutes, she was really tired and only then did her mom allowed her to go to her room. She heard her mom say, “I’ll leave leftovers for you when you wake up.”
When Nina was back in her room, she dropped her sports bag and was about to jump onto her bed until she saw a piece of paper on her desk. She slowly walked towards her desk and picked up the note to read what it said, “Nina, I hope you didn’t forget what I said a week ago. I’ll be waiting for you at the provincial park entrance. From: Ken.”
She dropped the note and laughed. “Ken, you really round me up with curiosity at first, but you have no idea how tired I am. All I want to do now is to sleep no matter what.”
However, Nina didn’t sleep but went to call Jessica on the phone. “Jess, I know you’re tired but can I come over to ask you about something?”
“Sure, I’ll be waiting.”
Ten minutes later, Nina arrived at Jessica’s home and they went into her bedroom for their private conversation. When Nina showed up, she had a serious face so Jessica thought this must be pretty important otherwise she would have waited to tell her the next day. Nina sat at Jessica’s chair by her desk, while Jessica decided to sit on the bed. “What’s up? Is it that important that we have to meet today? Couldn’t you have saved it for tomorrow when we see each other at school?”
Nina bowed. “I’m sorry, Jess. I don’t know who else to talk to about this.”
“It’s no problem, just lay it all out,” Jessica replied before she lay on her stomach to relax while looking at Nina.
Nina started to align each of her fingers from one hand to the other hand with uncertainty and worry spelled all over her face. “Ken left a note today before I came back to remind me of something he told me before we left for the training camp. He wanted me to meet him in private somewhere.”
“What’s so odd about that between two childhood friends? Maybe he wants to talk?” Jessica asked, tilting her head in confusion.
“This is different though.”
“Ever since my…” Nina started to choke on her words, trying her best to keep her tears at bay by tilting her head up at an angle. “… My sister died, he never really brought her up in conversation. Even though they’re just words written on a piece of paper, I can feel that it is going to be something important. You may ask why I know that, but it’s just my intuition from years of experience. I’m afraid to confront it if he does bring it up.”
“Is it that you don’t want to confront both of your relationship with your sister, or you don’t want to confront your feelings with Ken?”
There was silence in the room until Nina finally spoke, “I don’t want to be the one to take my sister’s first love away from her. I decided years ago when our parents chose them as a future couple that I would support their mutual feelings. But when my sister died, I became confused at the thought of forgetting her if I took that chance.”
“You’re my best friend, and I want to tell you something that I learned when one of my family members passed away.” Jessica got up from her bed and went over to hold Nina’s hands in her own. “Just because you’re letting go of the past and their memories doesn’t mean you will forget them going forward. They’ll always be in your heart as long as you love them. It’s time to get what you want.”
Nina couldn’t hold her tears inside any longer, and a few drops fell down onto her hands and the floor. “Will it be okay?”
“Absolutely,” Jessica nodded with confidence. “Although, this is all hypothetical right now so on your way to meet Ken, just act yourself. If he brings it up, let everything out.”
“Okay, I’ll try my best. Thanks for being here for me,” Nina wiped her tears with the back of her hand.
“No problem, anything for you,” Jessica gave her a gentle smile before going to the far side of her room to get a couple of tissues for her best friend.
The sun was about to set and Ken was waiting as he counted the seconds on his watch. She’ll come. I know she will, but if she doesn’t then I know her answer.
Just as he was about to lose hope, Ken looked up and saw Nina get off the bus at the bus stop in the distance. He waved and jogged over to her. She made an irritated sound with her lips. “You better have a damn good reason for me to meet you all the way here. I’m sacrificing my sleep for you.”
“Thank goodness, you’re safe. Follow me.” He breathed a sigh of relief and started to walk into the provincial park.
She was a bit confused by what he said, but she followed him nonetheless into the park.
To fill in the silence, Ken couldn’t hide the glee on his face. “Guess what, Nina? I beat Mike in our rematch, and it was a really close match. We decided to continue playing against one another to get even better.”
Nina tightened her hand into a fist behind her back at his accomplishment. “I don’t even care, but I guess I can say good job.”
Ken laughed. “I think that’s the first nice thing you said to me since we were little.”
“If you believe this will become a habit, you’ll be in for a surprise.” She snapped at him, defending herself.
“Nina, I know. I’m prepared for anything you have for me.”
After a while of walking, they reached a cliff and Ken showed her the view of the city they were living in. The city lights were like stars during the evening, and Ken told her, “I never said this to anyone, but I really wanted to show Mina this after she got back from her summer camp seven years ago.”
“So… I’m only her replacement is what you’re saying?” Nina put her hands on her waist.
“No, that’s not it.” Ken shook his head. “This was supposed to be a place for Mina and I, but it’s between me and you. Do you get what I’m saying?”
Nina opened her eyes surprised, but then she folded her arms turning to look out at the scenery. “I loved my sister, and I enjoyed all of the times I had with her. I felt jealous when you were around. I wanted to apologize to her, but you were her last!” Nina tried to blink her eyes to keep the tears from falling, but she couldn’t stop it.
“Nina,” he raised a hand up wanting to hold her, but hesitated due to being unsure of what to do.
“You two matched perfectly. I felt left out, that’s why I didn’t want to play when you were around!” She started to yell at him. “Since she took your love, I wanted your attention by being someone you hated!”
Ken was shocked by this, but even more so when he saw Nina in tears again. She reached out and started to hit his chest. “I was always waiting for you forever and ever!”
Ken was at a loss for words. He didn’t expect the entire situation to go this way, and the only appropriate thing he thought he could say was: “I’m sorry.”
Nina used all of her energy to try to stop sobbing, and said, “After all of that, you’re only going to say ‘I’m sorry’?”
“I thought you were going to say something else entirely, but I didn’t realize you had such strong feelings for me. All of this time.”
Nina looked up into Ken’s eyes, showing him her red eyes from all of that crying. “What about you?”
He took a step back and held Nina at her shoulders with both of his hands, staring back intently into her eyes. “You really are the mirror image of Mina.”
She raised one of her eyebrows at this obvious fact. “We’re identical twins. Of course we look alike. Is something wrong with you?” Nina reached up to feel Ken’s forehead.
Ken couldn’t help but laugh at Nina’s direct comment. He shook his head. “I mean before every time that I saw you, I would always remember Mina no matter what. It was comforting, but painful at the same time.”
“What do you mean?” She had tilted her head, perplexed.
“I too wasn’t ready to move on from Mina, but I had to face reality that she was gone forever. If I became really close to you, I could never move forward in life so I forced myself to look at other girls.” Ken bit his lip and looked at the ground in shame for a brief second. I did all of that without realizing I was hurting you.
“Did you know?” Nina looked away, wanting to wipe the tears in her eyes.
Ken took a deep breath before responding, “No, I didn’t in the beginning but I knew that I could trust you. Then I had finally picked up on all of the hints and signs.”
Nina pursed her lips to avoid looking into Ken’s eyes to keep her lie. “It’s not like I wanted you to find them.”
Ken swallowed his saliva as he could feel drops of sweat falling down on the back of his neck. “I’m sorry for doing something unnecessary. Let’s forget about it.”
As he was about to turn around to leave, Nina froze in that split second as her eyes widened with a decision she had to make in that instant. If you were still alive, Sister, I would let you take his love. I will never forget you because I love you so much, but I don’t want to lose him. I’ll cherish both of our feelings for Ken. Please forgive me, Sister.
With that single thought, Nina took a big step forward and hugged Ken from behind as tightly as she could. Even though her voice was muffled due to her mouth being covered by Ken’s shirt, but he could make out what she said next. “Don’t go.”
He couldn’t help but smile, and held Nina’s hands with both of his own. He said as soft as the gentle breeze, “Nina, I trust you with my life and you’ve been there for me in my time of need. I want to be there for you more than ever before and definitely more than as friends from now on. I love you.”
Nina started to cry again, but she wiped her tears onto the back of Ken’s shirt. I did it, Sister. Thank you. Through her sobbing, she replied, “I love and hate you more than anyone else in the world.”
The next morning, Ken was waiting in front of Nina’s house to head to school. They were a bit late so he yelled, “Hurry up, you slowpoke!”
“Shut up!” She shouted angrily, finishing something in her diary. She smiled at Mina in the picture frame before heading out. In the latest entry of her diary, it read: “Sister, I hope that you can forgive me. If you were still alive, I would let you have all of the time with Ken even if I would be jealous. That is how much I cherish both of you. Although, your taste in boys are questionable since Ken’s a loud, selfish, arrogant idiot; however, I guess that makes both of us weird in having an interest in such a person. He’ll always be in my heart forever and ever.”
Thank you reading my short story. This story meant a lot to me as I was writing it as if it was my own child. Every story is like a child that I raise carefully. It’s like seeing them grow and learning from them. If you enjoyed it, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favourite retailer?
About the author:
Winfield Ly is an aspiring writer who lives in Mississauga, Ontario. He graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honours B.Sc in Biochemistry. Winfield has received an Honourable Mention in an online magazine, In The Snake, for the flash fiction contest, Autumn 2011 Snake Prize.
Discover other titles by Winfield Ly:
A Love Too Late
Side by Side
Connect with Me Online:
Shakespir author page: