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Judy Vanishes
Judy Vanishes

Excerpt from my book EnTWINed: The sheet is cold cold all the way to the edge. I stir, instinctively moving myself deeper into the bed seeking the warmth of my sister, my twin. It may be the sound of the leafless branches of the old maple tree beside the house, scraping against the shingles that has wakened me. I open my eyes to the dull gray light of a fall morning filtering through the curtained window. Outside I can just make out the protective silhouette of the giant Blue Spruce that stands guard over our room, the center of our universe, our sanctuary from the greater world beyond. For more than seven years, Judy and I have slept here intertwined together. We sleep always like spoons, small curved spoons, soft twin spoons, keeping each other close and warm. But now I feel cold very cold. I reach my hand out across the bed to pull her close reach further and further still. She is not there beside me. I slip quickly out of bed, my bare feet hardly touching the floor, and tiptoe to the bathroom, wondering if she is here. The towels from our last night's bath are still lying damp on the floor; and our yellow duck that we pushed back and forth in the tub lies on its side, abandoned. But she is not there. Neither is she in the next room, waking our sleeping brothers. She is not in the kitchen and there is no sign of Daddy. No smells of bacon or toast today; no pancakes. I see Mommy standing alone. She is smoking a cigarette, holding her coffee. Her hands are shaking. The kitchen is warm, but she leans huddled against the stove, the kettle hissing away, unnoticed. Steam fogs the windows; even the crack left open for fresh air is shut. The white eyelet curtains hang limp and still. The radio is silent. On the chair by the stove, Jimmy's ragged gray cat does not stir. It's way too quiet something's wrong. Where is she? "Where's Judy?" I ask. "I can't find her anywhere." Her eyes red and distant, Mommy looks away, toward the window and the sound of rain in the backyard. She is speaking to an empty space in the room, and I don't know if she even sees me. "Judy's gone away. Daddy took her early this morning to a special school. She's going to stay there now. They'll help her learn to talk. That'll be good, won't it?" I cannot understand her words. What can they mean? Judy gone gone away? That's impossible. I cannot imagine Judy gone. I don't know about gone, don't know about alone. For now I can feel only cold. The feeling of alone, the meaning of gone, will grow and last another thirty-five years. Yet always it is Judy who will be the most alone. To learn more visit

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April D. Duffy, United States, PA
9/2/2011 9:32:31 AM
very touching

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