Half and Whole by Sarah McPherson

Inseparable is what we are. I am the same as her. She is the same as me. We have never been apart, never been alone. She is my mirror and I am hers; our face, our hair, our smile. I am half of her self and she is half of mine.

She likes what I like. We like what we like. I like spaghetti, I think. We like spaghetti. We like sandwiches and rich tea biscuits and tea. When she says it I know it is true. When I say it I hear my own voice like an echo. The echo of my self in the hollow of her self calls back to me, questioning. Answering. Speaking truth to me. Speaking things she says are truth.

I want to see Italy. She does not like to travel. We do not like to travel, she reminds me. Anyway, I can see Italy on television. I watch food shows – salivating over insalata caprese, ravioli alla panna, and ‘Njuda sausage – and travel shows, I watch live-broadcast opera. We do not like opera, she reminds me. I don’t watch the opera again.

I research Italy on the internet when she is in the bathroom. I look at hotels and flights, museums and theatres, Tuscany, Rome, vineyards, cathedrals, the Colosseum, the Pantheon. My finger hovers over booking links. I hear her footsteps in the hall.

The last time I told a lie was this morning. It was the first lie I ever told her directly. I looked in her face, which is my face, my mirror, my sister, my self, when I told her. I told her I would be right back, and I walked out before she could answer.

Sarah McPherson is a Sheffield-based writer and poet, with work published in Ellipsis Zine, Splonk, STORGY, The Cabinet of Heed, and elsewhere. She has been long/shortlisted in various competitions, and had a story selected for Best Microfiction 2021. She tweets as @summer_moth and blogs at theleadedwindow.blogspot.com/.

Image: unsplash.com