Author's Note: This is a collab I did with my Reedsy friend Brooke D., who is an amazing author and so sweet. You should check out her perspective and all the rest of her spectacular stories!!! Hope you enjoy it!
Aislado and I watch the live recording of the New Year's countdown on television. I'm sitting on a stack of cardboard boxes, each with notes scrawled in black permanent marker. Kitchen, Bedroom, Attic. Eventually, my brother and I will have to get around to unpacking them, but for now, they stay boxed up in our living room. The condensation from my cold drink drips down my hand as I slowly take a sip.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
The crowd erupts into cheers on the screen as we leave the old year behind. I bounce up from my seat, turning to my twin and lifting my glass. It's only the two of us celebrating, but I don't mind. We've been inseparable for as long as I can remember.
“You know what, we don't have a New Year’s resolution. We should do one together,” Ailado says, always the logical one. Of course, he would want us to go into the New Year prepared.
I turned away to stare at the ceiling for a moment, considering his suggestion. I don't want our resolution to be something generic, like exercising more or being more organized. I want it to be something that pertains to us specifically.
Then it comes to me, “Got it. Let’s try to be less judgemental of other people. Especially since the people here are so… different. We’ll take different approaches and compare results. I’ll go out tomorrow and start meeting people. What about you?”
“I guess I’ll research the people in this town and everywhere else on my computer. See what I’ll find out,” he tells me, satisfied with our resolution.
I wish my brother a good night, then make my way up the creaky stairs to my new bedroom. I fall asleep that night with high hopes for the new year.
I wake up early the next day, excited to start our new experiment. We got a glimpse of the small town out of the car window, but I haven't been out to look around yet. Who knows what I'll come across. Northsin, Oklahoma does seem like a unique place.
I decide to start my tour at the local farmer's market. It seemed to be quite popular around here, and Saturday morning is the only time it's open.
I throw on some casual clothes then slip quietly out the front door, careful not to wake my brother. The walk to the center of town isn't long, so I make it there feeling refreshed from the early morning air.
I slowly make my way through the numerous stalls, reading the signs displayed above each table. A variety of items are for sale; handmade pottery, sugary baked goods, and scented candles.
I stop at a small tent set up in the corner of the market. The lady standing behind the display smiles brightly as she sees me making my way over. She wears a colorful woven scarf draped across her shoulders.
After hesitantly greeting her, I gesture toward the bracelets she is selling.
"Did you make these?" I ask, examining the exceptional craftsmanship, "They're beautiful."
She nods, dipping her head slightly at my kind words.
"Each object represents a part of the town," she tells me, fingering the small items, "This one here is a shell from the stream down the road, and the book represents the town library."
I smile at her, gently picking up the shell bracelet.
"I'll take this one," I tell her handing the payment over the table.
She smiles, wishing me a good day, and I walk back home feeling content with the start of our experiment. The people here are living in their own little world, and I find that beautiful.
When Aislado said he would be the one to stay home and research the people, I was a little hesitant to agree. He has always been the slightly isolated one, the one that preferred to stay at home instead of going out to meet new people. I was never concerned until now.
After seeing whatever he read on his computer, he seems even less eager to associate with the townspeople. He never got to see the subtle charm of the town, the small details. Online, he only read breaking news headlines on all the dreadful things that have happened lately.
The worst part is he seems to believe the people I talk to every day are brainwashing me. He thinks the longer I hang around the new people, the more clueless I become. I choose to see the brighter side of this new adjustment but that doesn't mean I'm ignorant.
If I had known our new resolution would cause a rift between us, I never would have agreed to it.
A few days into the experiment, Aislado and I are eating cereal in the kitchen. I'm humming along to the music cheerfully. My brother, on the other hand, is glaring down at his food as if it greatly wronged him.
He mutters something under his breath, just quiet enough for his exact words not to be understood.
“If you’re gonna talk when I’m sitting right here, at least talk so I can hear you,” I snap at him, frustrated. He has been like this for the past few days. It seems the resolution has only made him cold and glum.
“What’s happened? What has happened between the two of us? We used to be so close, Cynthia. There was nothing that could separate us before...” he repeats himself, trailing off at the end of the thought. The pained expression on his face mirrors my own. I don't know what happened, Aislado.
“That was then, this is now. Now we have two completely different ideas of this world and the only reason we go anywhere near each other is that our parents won’t let us live in different houses. Now, can we go back to not talking? I’m begging you, please let us stop talking,” I say icily. The truth is, I wish we could go back to how things were last year. I wish I could go into town with my brother without him eyeing each new person suspiciously.
“No! Even though I see the world differently than you do doesn’t mean that the two of us should hate each other for the rest of our lives! For Pete’s sake, Cyn, you’re still my sister! Twin! Sibling! Whatever! We’re still… together. So, we should set aside our differences and be civilized adults,” he desperately pleads with me. Begging me to see our disagreement from his perspective.
“Well, if we’re going to be ‘civilized adults’, you better start paying more attention to your grades,” I murmur, unsuccessfully trying to hide the teasing smile on my face.