Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sibling(s) (05/01/08)
TITLE: A New Life-28 Years In The Making
By Deborah Engle
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“You’re right of course, and I do have this headache…but if you get turned around, call me on my cell phone. Promise?”
Once in her car, Olivia smiled as she recalled the conversation. She could certainly identify with her sister. Many years had been lost to them. Though they had no memory of being together, they were both delighted with their reunion. Today, though, the Book Nook was on her agenda.
It wasn’t a long drive, and she soon found herself inside the store, exploring the reaches of each aisle. Rounding a corner, she abruptly came face to face with the proprietor, an elderly gentleman with a great mop of snowy white hair and a matching walrus mustache. He wore an apron and a nametag that identified him as “Nolan”. His reflex apology was accompanied by the dawning of recognition. “Oh, how are you today? I’ve got your book in the back. Let me get it for you. I meant to call you, but this worked out just fine.” As he spoke, he hurried to the back room, his words trailing behind him.
Olivia watched him scurry off, thinking, “What…how could he know…?” He soon reappeared, carrying a large cookbook, which he laid on the counter. She stepped forward to present a slip of paper, “This is the title I’m looking for. Do you have it?”
Nolan studied the note, then moved toward the Crafts section. “Well, now, I thought you gave up weaving once you decided to major in business. Ah well, it’s good to have a hobby, but I would think that gourmet cooking would be enough for one person.” His monologue continued while he selected the proper volume from the shelf and returned to the counter. “Now me, I just work. My days and nights are spent here, seeing to the needs of my customers. A small business owner has very little time for relaxing. A hobby wouldn’t do me any good. Is there anything else I can help you with, Miss Audrey? All right then, I’ll ring this up and you can be on your way.”
Olivia tried to follow his words, but the more he talked, the more confused she became. Hearing the garrulous character call her by her sister’s name had taken her by surprise. Somewhat baffled, she was glad to complete her errand and leave.
Needing to pay special attention to the novelty of the drive home, Olivia put the last few minutes from her mind. Once she had pulled into the garage, however, she couldn't help but grin. Package in hand, she proceeded to hunt out her sister.
“Why Audrey, I didn’t expect to find you here, in my room.”
Audrey laughed quietly. “The funniest thing just happened and it’s rather stunned me.”
Olivia sat down next to her and waited for her to continue.
“As I was passing by your room, I caught a glimpse of your Gramma Olivia’s wonderful afghan. It seemed to draw me in–I had to hold it. As I was placing it back on the bed the housekeeper walked by.” Turning to meet the gaze of her sister, Audrey continued. ”Millie looked right at me and thought I was you. She called me by your name.”
For just a moment the women sat silently, newly aware of how different their lives would now be. Suddenly Olivia burst forth with, “Do you really weave?” Then, “ Audrey, you’re not the only one who had a strange experience today.” Olivia then told of her encounter with Nolan, and soon they were both laughing.
After they had taken a few minutes to consider the matter, Audrey concluded with, “Becoming an identical twin at the age of 28 is apparently going to require some adjusting, but I think it is also going to be the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”
With a comical expression, Olivia added, “There are so many ways that we are alike, but I think I’ve discovered one area where nobody will ever get us mixed up.” Pulling the new cookbook from her shopping bag, she stated, “If you are a gourmet cook, you will probably want to lock me out of the kitchen. I scorched every skillet Gramma Olivia owned. Even the backyard birds refuse to eat my biscuits!”
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