Twins

I look at the photo, it’s something very innocuous, it’s of a bed, the sheets are pulled taught over the mattress, the room is clean and tidy, a picture of a perfect bedroom. The thing that concerns is my wife sits on the edge of the bed, her head in her hands, she’s crying.

The photo arrived anonymously in the mail when I was twenty-one, I didn’t understand the significance of it then, I was not married and I had not met my now wife. To be honest, I completely forgot about it.

It was the first week in our new house that I found it. When I looked at it, I was confused, I didn’t recognise my wife at first, she was older in the photo than she is now, but it was her. However, the wooden beams that ran along the ceiling in our new bedroom matched exactly, it was uncanny.

Examining it, a photo hangs on the wall, two boys around six years old smile for the camera, they look so happy. My wife has just told me she is pregnant, she doesn’t understand why I’m not happy with the news, she tells me it’s twins. I try and tell her that I am really happy, it’s what we’ve always dreamed of; I try my best to look happy and she buys it, eventually. I am genuinely elated, but I’ve not showed her the photo, so she doesn’t understand. I know I’ve only got six years left.

When the twins were born I was happy, really happy. I ignored the omen that was sent to me in the mail when I was twenty-one; I enjoyed them. I watched them grow and was the best father I could be for them. When we sent them off to school I was proud of them. I took as many photos with them as I could, so my wife had something to remember me.

Their sixth birthday came and went and I looked for the photo, but couldn’t find it. For the first time I doubted I ever had the photo in the first place. The idea of it made me laugh, how on Earth did I have a photo that predicted the future. I went back to work with a skip in my step.

In late July of that year, I had a call from my sister-in-law, she asked me to come home as quickly as I could. I raced home. I opened the door and knew there was something wrong, “Jessica, are you here?” I shouted.

I heard no response.

I ran through the house in a panic, I couldn’t find her until I burst into the bedroom. She was sat on the bed, crying. That’s when I realised, the photo was not of my wife, it was of her twin sister.

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