Edith, 88, sat underneath the plaid yellow, blue and red blanket she and her twin sister used to sit under every night after dinner. They both lived in the St. Rourke Hospital For Seniors and shared a room until Martha had fallen ill earlier today. Edith didn’t know what to do with herself. She spoke to no one, she could not eat a bite, she didn’t listen to anything anyone said. Without Martha, she didn’t know what to do with herself, it felt like she was missing parts of herself but didn’t know which ones. She felt confused, her whole body trembled and her lips, smeared with orange lipstick, chattered but they did not form words.
“The Twins” as they were known used to sit in the same green and white patio swing set almost every night as long as it didn’t snow. They sat there in the cold season, huddled together, as well as the warm, they always had something to talk about even when they fussed at each other. They had made no friends at the Hospital For Seniors, they had no interest in that, they had each other and that was enough. Neither of them had married and they didn’t need anyone else.
That very morning the Staff told her Martha was ill but Edith already knew something wasn’t right. She was on her way to their room now to check. She was shaking and needed to stop every few seconds to catch her breath. Martha was ill and Edith tried to get to their room but they had already moved her to the attached hospital.
“Martha, oh Martha” Edith said to her sister who lay limp on the bed, eyes closed, tubes and wires attached everywhere while Edith stroked her creamy white hair. Tears were spilling down her cheeks and Martha had not moved an inch. “She couldn’t speak”, the doctors said “there was no brain function” and that “she was not breathing on her own.” Martha was “brain-dead”, the doctors said and Edith should think about “letting her go that night.” “No, Edith said,” she was too distraught and she wanted one more night with her sister. But yes, she sighed, she would do it in the morning if that was okay. “Of course they said, “very reasonable.” They walked Edith back to her room and offered to give her a sedative to sleep. Edith just shook her had no, back and forth, not saying a word. Edith, with tears streaming down her face sat in their room, wiped her face and waited until she could go back and visit with her sister again. Very quietly, she crept, every few feet to get closer to her beloved sister’s room. No one even noticed her. They knew the heart-breaking decision she would have to make in the morning.
Edith climbed into bed with her sissy, Martha, and wrapped her arms around her like they used to do when they were kids taking a nap. She covered them both with their plaid blanket. In her room she had taken as many pills that she could take and still be able to walk. She must have swallowed sixty of them. She tried to take more from the second bottle of pills but she could barely manage to do that. The twins had, between them, almost 150 pills between them for this reason alone. They did not want to live without each other. Edith tried to take more pills now, but she could only take a handful, the rest scattered on the floor.
In the morning, at seven a.m. while doing rounds, the doctor came in and gasped, there were the sisters,” the twins,” arms around each other, frozen in time, in death. They had never wanted to live a life without each other; they used to say their hearts beat for one another and that their souls understood each other without one simple sound. They had planned this all their lives, now, they were at peace.