Chapter 1 - Goodbyes
"Are you sure you want to go to NEW HAMPSHIRE?"the voice echoed in my head. Of course I didn't want to go to some snowy mountains where precipitation is more than expected every day of the week. But what I did look forward to was being in a state where the population count was one of the lowest in the countries. I believe New Hampshire's population averaged in at the 41st state within the entirety of America. Plus, who would deny themselves the amazing education of Dartmouth University. Actually, I would, but getting accepted into Dartmouth had given me the greatest excuse to go to this no-name state that everyone knew I hated. It meant being able to leave all the pain and suffering that I knew so well in New York, all that I wanted to get rid of from my life. I would start over in the isolated state, and I would ensure that I make no mistakes. Keep to yourself, I always remind myself.
"But...are you sure you just want to leave everything behind?" the one person I actually cared about kept pushing me. He looked at me with his honey-brown eyes, filled with anxiety, worry, and most of all, lachrymose. My brother was the only thing I didn't want to leave behind, but this was an all or nothing deal. The problems in my life had grown to the point that I would have to make some sacrifices for another shot at happiness. The biggest sacrifice being abandoning my twin.
"Dave, you know I want nothing less than for you to come with me," I consoled my other half. But I knew that was impossible. He had crafted a great life for himself in the city that was both grandeur and beautiful to him. While I lived in wretched agony, despising this noisome town, David had successfully become an entrepreneur, and he couldn't leave his budding career now. We had never been separated for extended periods ever since we were in the womb. That was what? 20 years now?
"Seriously Brad...NEW HAMPSHIRE?" I had to look away from the face, usually sanguine and plucky, now sweeping over with the agony of our prospective 4-year separation. I could feel the pain resonating inside me; our bond was strong enough for me to know how he felt, to empathize completely and feel the aching in his heart. Of course, I felt it too.
"You know you HATE snow and cold and rain..." he kept trying to persuade me. He knew it was a lost cause. Once I made up my mind, I wouldn't change it. David was one of the most convincing people I knew, very articulate and powerful with his speech – something that proved beyond valuable in the business world - but I was one of the few people that his abilities never phased. I guess that was due to my own special abilities where, for some reason, I seemed to get what I always wanted as long as I truly wanted it to happen. Even impossible things, like getting into Dartmouth.
"Dave, I want to go," I half-lied. I knew I couldn't lie to my own brother, but I also knew that he was aware of the reasons I wanted to leave and thus would not force me to stay. We struggled together in the confusion of New York, but unlike him I could not find success. He had strenuously overcome all the challenges that we faced together, but I was stuck. Somewhere along the obstacle of life, I tripped and got caught in a net while he ran on freely. I had to get out and start a new life, or die miserably in the depressing trap. It didn't help that I somehow felt like I was holding him back.
"Brad..." reluctantly, he lost the battle. In my mind, my ticket was already purchased and I was already in Dartmouth. These decisions had been ingrained into my life, and once that happened, no maelstrom could inundate my intentions. Not even one as powerful as the love of my only remaining relative and my only friend.
"Will you drive me to the airport or do I have to call a cab?" I muttered with hostility. I was being both petty and childish, perhaps the worst anyone could treat an angel like David, but I had to leave. I had to cut the cord that bound us tightly together so that I could finally set my wings and fly away from this nightmare. I had to leave New York City before it killed me.
"You don't even have to ask me that," he replied sharply, obviously hurt by my remark. "But do you really think..." he stopped. We both knew what he wanted to say, but he held himself back, knowing that it would only anger me and make me jump instantly into a taxi to get out of the apartment we shared since our escape from the treacherous foster home. We were all that was left of our tiny family, and we tried to stay close and protect each other, and it hurt me most knowing that I was betraying my brother's trust and leaving him unprotected, alone.
The ride to the airport was very quiet. There was a lot that I wanted to say, but I couldn't speak, being completely enervated from our past argument. I knew that David felt the same, but with him, there was no need to talk. I could feel everything he felt, and he could hear everything I thought. People build special relationships when they share their entire life together, particularly when they share a placenta. The thing he desired most at the moment was for me to keep the promise I made when we were kids.
We were the luckiest people alive, being born into the world with a best friend when most people had to spend their entire lives searching for one person to count on. We told each other we would never split up and always be there for each other. I was the one breaking that promise, leaving my brother behind. I was selfishly leaving New York, our relationship the price I had to pay to run away from everything else. I was a coward and I was throwing my selfless brother into the currents of the ocean, alone in a world we were supposed to battle together. He would never throw this in my face or make me feel guilty for my decision; he wasn't selfish as I was. But it was more than apparent that I had wounded him beyond repair.
"Here we are..." his voice had broken me out of my chain of thoughts.
"I'm s-" I began, but he shook his head. He knew more than I, how sorry I really was. He looked into my eyes with the identical pair of golden-brown, and unexpectedly, he pulled me into a tight grasp. As brothers for 20 years, he had hugged me only one other time, and I had to bite my lips to prevent the tears from coming out. I wouldn't let him see me cry, not anymore.
"I get summers and holidays," he muttered through gritted teeth, still holding onto me. I feared he would never let me go.
"Every one of them," I promised. It was the least I could do. With that, he let me go. I cut the red thread that kept us together until now and severed our relationship in a way that we never experienced. I wondered if things would be completely different now, but I couldn't let that stop me. I had to escape before it was too late.