Contributor: Chris Sharp

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She had to make herself move at some point. For over a half hour, her stillness matched her stolid living-room furniture. At last she stood with the oxygen brought on by one of her deepest sighs. At two in the morning, she wondered how her former husband was getting around and moving about in his own house.

“Geraldine?” said Serge, her new husband, a minute after she returned to the bedroom and slipped back into the bed.


“I thought you were going to read.”

“I was.”

“I thought I heard you talking.”

“I was reading aloud to give myself some company. Now I want to go back to sleep, Serge. Okay?”

In the middle of the night, Geraldine had made the habit of leaving Serge in bed so she could read in the living room and “make my eyes sleepy.”

“Otherwise I’ll be lying in bed for hours keeping my eyes shut like a little kid,” she had told him.

She would always keep the dreams that woke her up at a careful distance from Serge. In recent weeks, she made her late-night visits to the living room more frequently so the time when she phoned her former husband would get lost in the routine.

“I had a dream just now that you were handling my ears,” she had said to Brandon, the young man whom she married when she was only twenty. “My two ears seemed to be made of clay, and you wanted to remake them with your fingers, for some reason.”

Once again – for the seventh time in just two months – Brandon told her he just experienced the same dream she described. “Exactly the same dream,” he told her. “I was waiting for you to call in my own little space here.”

“I know it has something to do with the twins, Brandon.”

In the middle of their two-year marriage, Geraldine suffered a miscarriage of twins, which she remembered as an event so disruptive it divided her years into the old times and the new times. But the new times were so different she could no longer see herself living in them, nor could she see Brandon living with her there.

“They say ghosts linger with us because of unresolved issues,” she said.

“But are these dreams the ghosts of the twins, or of the old Geraldine and the old Brandon?”

She didn’t feel like answering that. “These dreams come to me in the form of a half-life,” she told him.

“I know I acted badly toward you, Geraldine. I know you needed to talk with me those nights after we lost the babies. But I just wanted to get some sleep so I could survive at work.”

“Did you hear what I just said to you, Brandon?”

She felt stunned that he was so oblivious, even though she used to tell him about a “half-life” taking over when all physical things ended, when the twins might still grow into some kind of wonderful people.

“I know how you feel, Geraldine.”

“How can you know how I feel?”

“In my dream I felt myself touching your ears and saying, “I miss you. I miss you.’”

“That’s not what I miss.”

“Geraldine, please listen to me.” His voice lowered to such a soft pitch it reminded her about his own wife and kid who were probably sleeping in another room out of the way. “In my dream I was trying to make you younger.”

“What’s so nice about that?”

“I mean to say, to make you the Geraldine I once married.”

“What’s wrong with the Geraldine I am now?”

“Truly I’m not the same Brandon I was then, and you’re not the same Geraldine. In a way, maybe we both became two imposters.”

“Maybe just one imposter.”

“Please, Geraldine, these dreams are so freaking me out.”

At other times, she might have kept the line of thought going, but this night she decided to get off the phone.

“Goodnight, Brandon.”

Then she just sat there.

With Brandon’s abrupt new description about a pair of imposters, the word “two” was still getting to her. It started with the miscarriage. She was bleeding for nearly two weeks, practically never moving in her bed with her fears locked in yet shedding much more blood in the last two days. On the last night she wore two new black shadows under her eyes. Then she felt herself bleeding so heavily she rushed from her bed into the bathroom.

She told Brandon when she came out: “I just miscarried.”

In the hospital, as she felt throughout the sedation that scraping and that cleaning in the D&C procedure, she closed her eyes tightly. At the time, she thought shutting her eyes against the forced reality pressing on her might somehow salvage the two little things that had fallen into the toilet.

After that, everything seemed to be coming at her in pairs.

Even when she drove up to any intersection, she mainly thought about two things crossing in front of her.

When she had at last slipped back into bed with her new husband of only two months, she closed her eyes to make everything as black as possible. Then two little lights popped up on the black screen.

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Chris Sharp has numbers of flash-fiction short stories in Linguistic Erosion, Yesteryear Fiction, Weirdyear, and Daily Love as well as longer fiction listed by Google under “Short stories by Chris Sharp.” His book “Dangerous Learning” is being distributed by Barnes & Noble.
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