Elaine was four the first time I took her to the beach. She was utterly captivated by the experience. Elaine danced across the wet sand, staring down at her reflection as it mimicked every one of her moves. She loved the rock pools, spending hours searching for the prettiest shells, pieces of sea glass, and ammonites. She loved throwing pebbles into the water and watching the ripples expand in ever-widening circles.

On our fourth day, we stayed on the beach until later in the evening. The beach was quiet other than the gentle shushing of the waves against the shore. I was content reading my book while basking in the evening sunlight.

I became aware of Elaine chattering to herself and realised that her conversation was one-sided. Was she talking to someone I couldn’t see? 

“Look,” she said, “This one is so pretty.”

A pause.

“Yes, yours is pretty too. Do you want to swap?” Elaine placed a shell in the pool and giggled. “That tickled!” she laughed.

She fumbled in her pile of treasures and pulled out a piece of green sea glass. “This one is the same colour as our eyes,” she said.

Curiosity got the better of me. I dropped my book onto my towel and crossed to the rock pool where Elaine played.

“Who are you talking to, darling?” I asked.

“Jenny,” she said and pointed to the pool.

The blood went cold in my veins. “Who’s Jenny?” I asked tentatively.

“She’s my friend,” she said, “And she looks exactly like me. She’s the best friend I ever had.” She passed her hand over her gently rippling reflection with affection in her eyes.

I sat heavily on the sand, pulling Elaine into my arms and burying my face into her hair to hide my tears. Memories flooded back to the day of Elaine’s birth. Her birth and that of her identical twin sister. Jennifer had never taken a breath.

I’d tell Elaine one day when she was old enough to understand. But in her heart, I believed she already knew. It must be a twin thing.

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
2 months ago

Carrie, this is a lovely, touching story. I’ve always believed that twins have a very special bond that others may not understand. This was a pleasure to read.

2 months ago

Hello Carrie – This story is one of your best! I could just see the little girl dancing with her own reflection, playing with her imaginary friend. The ending was really surprising – and a great revelation! I haven’t read your short story about the twins – is it published somewhere else?

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
2 months ago

Carrie, you effortlessly describe a child’s simple joy and nature and then wham, a scary realisation for the Mum.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
2 months ago

Carrie, this is very touching and moving. The twin still connected to each other in a very special way. Your ending also surprised me. Awesome read.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Carrie OLeary
2 months ago

You’re always welcome, Carrie. I wish to read more stories of Elaine in the future.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Carrie OLeary
1 month ago

Hello, Carrie. I am so sorry for the late response. Thank you so much.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
2 months ago

This story really pulls at the heart strings, Carrie. I’ve read ‘The Book’ and thoroughly recommend it.

Cosby Writer
Cosby Writer(@cosby-writer)
2 months ago

My friend is a twin whose sibling brother died at five days old. Her parents nor anyone else in the immediate family told her. She found out when her estranged godfather died when she was 42 years old. She said she had always felt empty and. was constantly searching for ‘something’ but didn’t know what. Her mother was unable to talk about it but her father did and both he and my… Read more »

Emily O'Leary
Emily O'Leary(@emily-oleary)
1 month ago

I always love stories that center around twin bonds. It’s so fascinating that one person can be so connected to another, even when one of them is no longer there! Beautifully written!

1 month ago

I enjoyed the idea in this story Carrie. As identical twins split from the same egg they must each have a bit of the other in them.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 month ago

I read your story with great interest, Carrie, partly because I am an identical twin myself. It’s strange and fascinating that a twin who has lost their sister/brother still can sense their presence and communicate with them. You illustrated that in a very powerful way. If one of us brothers wouldn’t have made it, it would have been me, since I was so weak that I had to stay for some time… Read more »

Deborah Goulding
Deborah Goulding(@deborah-goulding)
1 month ago

Carrie, I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet tale, entailing Elaine’s connection to her unknowing twin. I loved it.

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