If one were to watch the sunset the night before Nina’s life changed, they’d have seen the most beautiful sunset ever to grace the earth. Warm rays of fading light filtered through clouds of soft violet, gold and red.
She didn’t get to see that sunset.
She was fiddling with her necklace when the words first touched her ears, seeming to dance around them unregistered. The vibrations of the chain as she dragged the charm along it filled them instead.
A breeze blew the sheer white curtains, now yellow with sunlight, inside.
The words were repeated.
“That’s not possible.”
More words. New words. Too many words.
“No. No, that’s not right.”
And then there were no more words.
A bird chirped from somewhere outside. The sound was accompanied by another breeze that shook the trees outside and blew the curtains. Nina didn’t move. She stood by the closed door as if it were open. As if she were there to talk to someone. She was meeting someone at the door.
Had she seen the sunset? Not Nina, the other girl. The girl who wasn’t gone. Had she seen the sunset?
A minute passed and Nina wasn’t meeting anyone at the door. Now she was at the table. A clock chimed to mark the hour. She took a sip of tea. Her hands weren’t shaking. She wasn’t gone. The other girl wasn’t gone.
She didn’t know how she found herself in front of a mirror, but there she was. She is perfect. The other girl always said says she’s perfect. Dark skin emanated the warmth of glowing coals. The other girl said says that. Even darker eyes hid adventures, not secrets. The other girl didn’t doesn’t like secrets.
The sun set tonight was beautiful. Nina resented that. Nothing should be beautiful now. Beauty shouldn’t show though tear-blurred eyes. Beauty shouldn’t exist where she didn’t. The other girl was supposed to be the one making it beautiful.
Nina. Old, greying Nina, shouldn’t have to look at the gorgeous things the other girl made so special. Nina shouldn’t still find them to be so very special.
She fell asleep with the blinds drawn.