She was standing before him, looking mournful.
Her eyes were pretty, so large and expressive, but all they expressed was
sadness and regret. Her mouth opened slowly, as though she was unsure
that she wanted to speak. Finally, she spoke the same nonsense phrase
she always spoke in the dreams.
After having said her piece she turned, and began to walk away. He tried desperately to follow, but he was frozen in place, only an observer.
"Don't leave me!" he shouted after her, but the words echoed emptily. She disappeared from view, leaving him alone.
"Come back..!" he cried. His words still met only silence. He felt sharp loss from her disappearance, as though he had just learned a loved one had died. But then there was the comfort of others, and now there was nothing--only blackness that echoed his words back to him mockingly. He started to cry in despair.
"Please..." he whimpered. "Please don't leave me alone. Please come back." But she was gone, and he knew that no matter how he pleaded with the darkness it would not reveal her again...
"Matthew? Matthew, you're going to make
us both late!"
"Huh? Wha-?" Matthew jerked awake in bed, and blinked up confusedly at his twin. "Saturday. 'S no school today. Go back t'bed." Matthew fell back down again and closed his eyes.
"It isn't school! Geez, will you wake up?" Mark grabbed Matthew's pillow, and pulled it out from under his head. "I've got that big competition today, remember? Are you just going to sleep here and miss it?"
"I a'ready know what you're gonna play. I gotta hear it every day when you practice." Matthew closed his eyes again. Mark whacked him on the face with the pillow. "Hey!"
"Come on! I don't care if you already know what I'm going to play, I need you there!" Mark dropped the pillow and began to pull on his twin's arm. Matthew scrambled to get his feet onto the floor before Mark pulled him off the bed.
"All right! I'm going. I said I was gonna go to your recital, so I'm going." Matthew yawned and stood. Mark scowled at him.
"It isn't a recital, it's a competition. This is a big deal!"
"'S no big deal. You always win anyway. Same thing as a recital." Walking over to the closet, Matthew grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. "This gonna be okay to wear..?"
"Yeah, that should be fine. Just sit in the back and don't tell anybody you're related to me." Mark grinned. It was Matthew's turn to scowl.
"All right, all right. I'll find something nicer. You're so picky..."
"Look, Matthew, I know you don't care much, but this is really important to me! The winner of this competition gets that scholarship I was telling you about." Mark explained, while Matthew rummaged through his clothes. "If I get this scholarship, then I..."
"Then you get to go to that musical arts college you were talking about. I know." Matthew frowned into his closet. "I do want you to get it, because it means so much to you. I just... I dunno..."
"Matthew, if I want to join a real orchestra I can't just play around. I have to be serious." Mark shook his head. "Matthew, I know you better than anybody. But you always... you never seem to treat anything seriously. Don't you have any goals? Isn't there anything you want?"
Matthew sighed, his mind suddenly drifting back to his dream. "...Yeah. Yeah, there's something I want."
"Then please try to understand. And if you ever need help in reaching your goals, you know you can depend on me." Mark placed a hand on his twin's shoulder. Then he pointed into the closet. "Wear that."
"The suit? I'm not wearing that. Are you wearing that today?" Matthew looked back at his brother accusingly. Mark nodded. "Then I'm not wearing it! I'll feel like a little kid, dressing the same as you."
"Look, I'll wear a different shirt under it. It'll be fine. People won't confuse us. After all, I'll be the one on the stage and you'll be the one in the audience." Mark smiled. Sighing, Matthew took the clothing out of the closet.
"All right. But you better be grateful!" Mark left the room as Matthew got dressed. Matthew glanced at himself in the mirror, and thought for a second about what his brother had said.
'People won't confuse us. After all, I'll be the one on the stage and you'll be the one in the audience.'
Wasn't *that* the truth... Matthew 'tsk'ed at his reflection. It wasn't that he was jealous of his brother. It was more like... like he was jealous over his brother. He didn't begrudge his brother for having the stage, he just didn't like the stage having his brother. He remembered when they had been 5, and the whole thing started with their parents giving Mark a flute at Christmas. Mark had studied and played the stupid thing until Matthew finally got sick of it and broke it. Matthew had hated the thing. After all, the flute wasn't exactly a two-player instrument. Their parents had tried to pacify Matthew by suggesting they play different instruments at the same time, or that Matthew and Mark take turns, but Matthew wouldn't hear anything of it. It was only when he saw how upset his brother got without his music that Matthew caved in. It wasn't as though Mark ignored Matthew, or didn't care about him. Matthew just didn't care about other things as much as his brother. The only goal he'd ever had was to be the twin of Mark. The fact that Mark had more important things in mind made Matthew jealous. But it was okay, as long as it made Mark happy. Matthew nodded at his reflection and grinned. Besides, if Mark became a rich and famous musician then he'd be real good at taking care of his slacking younger brother!
Besides, maybe sometime Matthew'd find something he wanted to himself, and then they'd be even. Matthew left his reflection and headed out the door. The competition was supposed to be several miles away, so the family would set out early. He did wish Mark luck, really. And he wanted to be there for him. He just worried that Mark wouldn't always *want* him to be there. When that day came, that Mark didn't need him anymore, then Matthew would have to try to find another life. But life as far as Matthew could remember was just himself and Mark. He even dreamed about his brother, though the dreams grew more and more vague as Matthew grew older. He and his brother were together. That was life. And without Mark, Matthew wasn't sure he'd recognize what life was anymore.
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