18. Twins

I give birth to twins on a Tuesday night in the rain. They plop out of me with all the fuss you’d expect from a madhouse riot. I pick them up from the pavement, their tiny naked grey bodies shivering and squirming, cars swerving like crazy not to hit us. I get out of the street, thinking it prudent. Without a cutting instrument near to hand, I sever the cords with my teeth. The twins live about five minutes. I don’t even get around to naming them. I place their still, rag-doll bodies in a dumpster behind a barber shop and go in search of a meal.

The bell over the door jangles despite its coating of grease, and the clientele briefly turn in my direction. There’s a connection; everyone feels it. We’re here on a Tuesday night in the rain, and we’ve lost our twins. I sit down at the bar, the rain dripping off me. The waitress pours me a cup of greasy coffee without asking.

“What’ll it be, hon?” she askes, pulling out a notepad and the stump of a pencil.

“I’ll have the dignity omelette, extra bacon on the side, with some self-respect and a bottle of piss and vinegar.”

She reaches across the bar and touches my shoulder. I look up at her. Her face has softened a trace, and she says to me, “Don’t worry. There will be others.”

She goes elsewhere as I pile up rocks in my throat to stop from crying. It’s the fear that defines us. What if there won’t be any others? How can she know there will be? She can’t, is how.

After a brief space of time, she carelessly plops my plate down in front of me. Already I’ve begun to accept that my twins are dead in a dumpster, unnamed. It hurts. The food is good, and I feel better for having eaten it.

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