101 comments

May 02, 2020

Drama Mystery

           It had never happened before, but today, my mother called me by a different name. It was my tenth birthday and my mother was busy taking photos of everything that was going on during my birthday party. I was hovering around the cake with a few of my friends because we were too impatient to wait for my mother to come light the candles and cut the cake.

           "Everybody smile," my mom yelled.

           I didn’t turn around. My eyes were still on the cake.

           "Molly, look over here and smile!" my mother tried again.

           This time I looked up. Now, everyone was looking at my mother because there was no one at the party named Molly. My mother noticed the change in the atmosphere and lowered the camera. Her eyes met mine and I could see the panic and terror in them. We were all confused. My mother excused herself and ran into the house. A minute later, my father appeared with a knife and candles. Though the adults still seemed a bit uneasy, the children, including myself, quickly forgot about my mother's mistake and gathered around the cake once more.

           "…Happy Birthday to Ally!" everyone cheered at the end of the birthday song.

           I loved this part the most because I got to blow out the candles and make a wish. My wish was the same every year. I always wished for a sibling.

           The next day, Linda invited me to her house so we could play the new board game that I had gotten for my birthday from my parents. Linda's front door opened and revealed her mother. I clutched the Monopoly in my hands and they shook with excitement. I followed Mrs. Jenkins to the living room where Linda sat with her legs crossed in front of the coffee table. She had a huge smile drawn across her face.

           "We're just looking at baby photos," Mrs. Jenkins explained and motioned for me to join her and Linda on the ground.

           I plopped down on the soft carpet and laid the Monopoly box beside me. There were some very dark photos and very red photos that were scattered on top of the table. Mrs. Jenkins picked up one of the photos and handed it to me.

           It was an ultrasound of Linda when Mrs. Jenkins was pregnant with her. Mrs. Jenkins then passed me a red photo. Newborn Linda sat in the photo with sweat matted hair hidden under a little white cap and bundled within a yellow blanket. Her face looked red and wrinkly For the rest of my stay with the Jenkins, I took long glances at Linda's baby photos which she placed in a pile beside her as we played Monopoly. I couldn't focus on the game. I was excited to go home and ask my mother to show me my baby photos. I thought that perhaps I was prettier than Linda as a baby because she was much pretty than I was at ten. When Mrs. Jenkins dropped me off in front of my house, I sprinted towards the door. My father somehow already knew I was home and opened the door before I knocked.

           "Hi, Dad," I said quickly and ran past him.

           "What's the rush, kiddo?" he asked with a chuckle.

           I didn't answer because I had already disappeared around the corner and ambushed my mother who was cooking in the kitchen.

           "Mom, could I see my baby photos? The ones from when I was in your stomach and when I was just born?" I asked.

           I was out of breath but I was sure she understood the words I panted between each intake of breath.

           She stopped stirring the soup. There was silence. Then, she started stirring again, but she didn’t look at me.

           "We… lost them," she finally said.

           "Lost them?" I was speechless from disbelief.

           I wondered how could a mother have lost the photos of their child as a baby.

           "What's going on?" my father stepped into the kitchen behind me and looked between me and my mother.

           "Mom said she lost my baby photos…" I felt my eyes water and anger boiling within me.

           "Oh… Honey-" my father began but I ran out of the kitchen and stomped up to my room.

           My mother cried that night. I could hear her as she tried to stifle her tears to no avail. The walls within our house were thin. At that time, I didn't care that she was upset because I thought I should be more upset than she was because they were my photos that she had lost. Now, I wished that I could return to that time and comfort her. I did apologize, years later. However, that was not the last time that my mother had shed tears because of me.


*

           On the day of my graduation, my mother and father held out a bouquet of flowers towards me after I received my degree. The convocation was dreary as many had warned me and took about five hours due to the sheer number of graduates that year. Admittedly, I was passed out for majority of the ceremony. I will not apologize for that. I didn’t know more than 95% of the graduates there. It was during the night of my graduation when I received Molly's Box. At that time, it was labelled as Ally's Box but I changed it later.

           We were headed to my favourite Indian restaurant. We ordered take out because it was family movie night. When we arrived home we dined in our five-starred living room and watched Coco. I had already watched this movie before but I didn't tell my mother or father because it took them such a long time to pick it out. After the movie, my father was passed out on the couch. I never understood how my father could fall asleep during such emotional movies. My mother and I laughed as we drew little squiggles across his face. It was then when my mother brought out Molly's Box.

           "A graduation gift," she said.

           There was a small and cautious smile upon her lips as she handed me the box. It was the size of a shoe box with the words "Ally's Box" scribbled across the top. I later painted the entire box with bright lime green paint and cut out letters to spell "Molly's Box" from old magazines. I had glued them on with super glue and it took a few days before the glue that kept my fingers stuck together wore off. I opened the box slowly and was shocked to see my ultrasound photos and photos of my newborn self within it.

           "I thought…" I began.

           "Yes, I told you they were lost, but I lied," my mother whispered as she picked up one of the photos of me.

           The photos answered my question about whether or not I looked better than Linda as a baby. I definitely did not. My newborn face was just as wrinkled and angry-looking as Linda's was. I held up an ultrasound and covered my mouth. There were two fetuses in that photo.

           "Mom…I had a sister?" I asked.

           I could not overcome the shock that the photo gave me.

           "Yes…" she said.

           "What happened to her?" I asked and waited for the answer in fear.

           Instead of answering my question, she took out photos for me to look at one by one. The images spoke louder than any words could have. The two fetuses grew in the photos but what became apparent was that the two fetuses were attached to one another. I realized that I was a conjoined twin. Then came the newborn photos of me and my sister. She never fully developed and what parts of her did protruded from my newborn body; they called this abnormal twinning. An extra leg and two extra arms. Molly's brain and her heart never made it out alive. Although we grew side by side within our mother's womb, I was the one who took everything that she needed to survive. That night, after celebrating my successful 22 years of being alive with a rolled-up piece of paper held in between my hands and flowers that soon wilted, my mother and I cried together in the living room with the ending credits of Coco playing in the background. Miguel belted the upbeat words to "Remember Me".

           Remember me… Though I have to say goodbye…

           Today, I am travelling around the world and filling up Molly's Box with pictures of the places I visit and the people I meet. I always look at the scars from where Molly's arms and leg were removed and think about the sister I could have had but come short of having. Though we grew apart before we could officially meet, Molly will always be a part of me and I was glad that I had a sister even though she could not be here with me physically. She will always share my mind and my heart.

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

101 comments

Carille Durbin
22:51 May 02, 2020

You did a great job of making this story emotional but not mushy. I think it's a fine line and you nailed it in this story.

Reply

Ai Jiang
06:35 May 03, 2020

Hi Carille, Thank you so much! I was trying to figure out how to touch the readers without going too over the top.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Niveeidha Palani
22:41 May 24, 2020

It was nice how you were slowly letting off pieces of the mystery together.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Tvisha Yerra
19:03 May 23, 2020

I thought it was going to be a horror, or the mother had a disorder or something. Love the unexpected ending though!

Reply

Ai Jiang
03:28 May 24, 2020

Aha, thank you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Michael Loss
04:42 May 04, 2020

What a unique stance of the prompt! Impressed once again. Good job!

Reply

Ai Jiang
17:16 May 04, 2020

Thank you Michael! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Adah M.m
21:09 Jul 20, 2020

Great story !! Remember me is my second best song in Coco, I really love it.

Reply

Ai Jiang
01:44 Jul 25, 2020

Thank you! Which song do you think is the best?

Reply

Adah M.m
14:53 Jul 25, 2020

Proud Corazón

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Vrishni Maharaj
22:55 May 26, 2020

Love this! Great story :)

Reply

Ai Jiang
18:59 Jul 20, 2020

Thank you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Harken Void
13:50 May 24, 2020

Hehe, I suspected Ally had a sister from the first line, but did not expect it to be a conjoined twin! Very good first line, serving as a hook that I had to figure out why her mother called her by a different name. Also, you handled 'the reveal' very good, evoking emotions but not overdoing on them. One thing I did notice though (and this could just be a feeling or impression of mine) that at least for me, the story started with a great hook and ended with a twist. But in between it felt a little stale, like the words were there only to fil...

Reply

Ai Jiang
19:21 May 24, 2020

I was trying to think about how I could make it more unique aha and the fact that conjoined twins are both literally and mentally connected I thought would work well with the quote! (Though I didn't end up including the mental part) I will definitely keep your comments in mind about the in-between. I was debating on placing some kind of internal monologue or something more subtle where Ally expressed her thoughts bout her mother's mistake more, but then I also thought about the fact that children tend to lose their anger as quickly as it com...

Reply

Harken Void
19:59 May 24, 2020

I liked how you approached the prompt - very creative. Haha yeah, you're right there about the kid's attention span. Well, keep up the good work and looking forward to the next story!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Thotsuki Bakuhoe
09:06 May 23, 2020

That was an adorable story, sad, but good. I love how emotional it was, you really nailed it, Ai. You are an incredible author. I can't wait to read more of your stories.

Reply

Ai Jiang
03:29 May 24, 2020

Thank you so much, I hope you enjoy my future works! I really appreciate your kind words 😭🙏🏻

Reply

Thotsuki Bakuhoe
08:33 May 24, 2020

No problem, I meant all of it. I am very excited to read your new stories.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Emma Lin
15:55 May 22, 2020

Hello Ai! Great story. You got me wanting to keep on reading!

Reply

Ai Jiang
03:29 May 24, 2020

Thank you Tiffany!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ver E
18:30 May 21, 2020

This is such an interesting concept, I really loved the story! It's really cool to see how other people interpret this quote. Also, I really enjoyed the way you made this story touching, but not too cheesy, and I hope that one day I can achieve that too! I'm currently writing my own version of this quote, but I'm in need of some tips. Have you got any?

Reply

Ai Jiang
03:30 May 24, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm sure you will! I'm sorry I didn't reply in time for that week's prompt but for the upcoming ones, I would say that think about all the possibilities that you can and pick the most unique one out of the bunch!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
11:51 May 16, 2020

Very nice! Good job on writing from the point of view of a ten-year-old in that first part; it sounded genuine.

Reply

Ai Jiang
03:31 May 24, 2020

Thank you! I actually wasn't really intending to aha but I guess it just became written in the character's voice!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Keith B.
06:42 May 15, 2020

Thank you for liking my story Ai

Reply

Ai Jiang
21:35 May 15, 2020

No problem!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ray Van horn
00:16 May 15, 2020

Sharp and sentimental on a tough theme to convey properly. You allow the reader to empathize instead of worry.

Reply

Ai Jiang
21:35 May 15, 2020

Thank you for your kind words!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
18:52 May 14, 2020

This is a typical emotional read. I also loved the reference to the Coco movie😊

Reply

Ai Jiang
21:36 May 15, 2020

Thank you! :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
A.r. Eakle
18:44 May 14, 2020

I really like how you introduce the story. You don’t mention Molly’s box for a while. By that point, we’re attached to Ally, and wondering, “Who’s Molly?” My only concern with this story, is did Ally ever ask about the scars on her body from the extra limbs? I really liked the story, but that part of the ending was kind of dropped in. Can’t wait to read more of your writings!

Reply

Ai Jiang
21:36 May 15, 2020

When I was writing the ending, I actually thought about that. I might go back and add hints about it earlier on! Thank you so much for your comment :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Harrehmat Singh
09:16 May 14, 2020

Awesome story... I could feel my heart crying...😭

Reply

Ai Jiang
16:43 May 14, 2020

I’m glad you enjoyed it and that it touched you 😭

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Dita Basu
05:29 May 14, 2020

Great story .The birthday wish of a sibling and the way you developed it is just wonderful.

Reply

Ai Jiang
16:43 May 14, 2020

Thank you 😊😊

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Imogen Bird
16:51 May 13, 2020

This is so gripping! I love the mystery of the wrong name and the secretiveness of her mum that just makes you desperate to know what's going on. Wondering how she knew immediately that the second fetus was a girl though?

Reply

Ai Jiang
16:42 May 14, 2020

Thank you! Also, while I was researching, it said that conjoined twins are genetically identical and always are the same gender!

Reply

Imogen Bird
21:04 May 14, 2020

Ahh that makes sense! I remember watching a documentary ages ago about those two American girls Abby and Brittany. They are incredible!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Aqsa Malik
13:05 May 13, 2020

This is so sweet, such an interesting story! I love the way you interpreted this prompt- in such a literal yet symbolic way. I like the simple language use to portray the mind of a child. Awesome job!

Reply

Ai Jiang
16:40 May 14, 2020

Thank you so much 😊

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ola Hotchpotch
10:46 May 13, 2020

Beautiful story.

Reply

Ai Jiang
16:40 May 14, 2020

Thank you!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply