You will soon find your missing counterpart...
Grant whistled as he walked towards the little house he, his wife, and twin daughters lived in. It had been a particularly long day at work and he was looking forward to spending the evening with his family and not thinking about anything work-related. He reached for the knob, pushed the door open, and was met with the sound of crying babies. His beautiful wife, Jolie, was holding little Orlha in her arms, trying to calm her with a soothing whisper. She looked up as the door opened, and immediately a look of relief washed over her face.
"Oh Grant, thank goodness you're here! I swear I'll never get the hang of this 'Mother' thing!" she exclaimed as she patted Orlha softly on the back. Grant heard Tia crying from her crib in the other room. Jolie explained, "They're getting so big that I can only really hold one at a time. I've tried everything!"
"You're doing great. I promise you. Raising one baby isn't easy. Raising twins is even harder! What happened?" Grant approached his wife and gave her a tender kiss on the cheek.
"Well, you know Tia's starting to get a little cold, so I decided to put her down to sleep, but then Orlha wouldn't stop crying and then of course, Tia started crying too! And no matter what I do, they won't stop!" Jolie looked at Grant, her eyes pleading for help.
He looked thoughtful for a minute and then said, "Let me try something." He reached his hands out and took Orlha from Jolie's arms. He walked with the crying baby into the room where Tia was wailing.
"Oh no, Grant, don't get Orlha near Tia or she'll get sick too!"
But Grant laid Orlha in the crib next to her twin sister. Immediately the two infants' crying died away and they seemed to take solace in the presence of the other. Jolie stood next to her husband and looked down at her daughters in wonder. "It's almost as if they have some sort of link with each other and separating them was what was making them cry," Grant mused.
"But they're so young!"
"I know. There's a special bond between these two. Maybe it's because they're twins or maybe it goes deeper than that. Look at what happened with the brooch." The Sapphire Brooch that had been in his family for many generations was an heirloom that was passed down to the eldest child in each family. However, the night that Orlha and Tia had been born, Grant noticed that the blue stone in the brooch, safe in a glass display case, had a large crack that ran down the middle, breaking it into two identical parts. When Jolie had denied ever touching the brooch, Grant knew it had something to do with the girls. As if it were meant for both and not just one. He looked down at Jolie and gave her a little hug. "Come on. You look like you could use a chance to relax!"
And as the girls grew older, the bond between them increased. They could sense what the other was feeling and they finished each other's sentences all the time. One sunny afternoon, hand in hand, they skipped to the edge of the pier and took off their shoes, dangling their long legs in the water. The sun reflected off the two girls' blond heads, giving it the appearance of spun gold. While they sat and chattered away, an obnoxious little boy ran up to them and pushed Tia into the water. She shrieked in surprise, but pushed off from the sea bottom and made her way back to the surface only to see her sister pounding her fists against the little boy's arms. "Orlha!" she called out.
Orlha looked up and the boy took that opportunity to scramble away. He fell back, laughing, as Orlha pulled her sister out of the water. "You big meanie!" she shouted at him. Tia pulled one of her long pig-tails to the side and began to wring the water out of it.
"Oh come on, Orlha!" the boy responded. "I was just playin'!"
"You're nothin' but a--" Orlha started.
"A bully!" Tia finished for her.
The little boy grinned cheekily and shrugged, running off. "Are you ok?" Orlha asked.
Tia nodded and said, "Yeah, I'm fine. Come on! Let's go home!" And so the two girls, identical in every way except one was sopping wet and the other was dry, skipped back to their little house.
When they opened the door, they found their Mother leaning against the kitchen sink, reading a letter. She had a smile on her face. "Mommy!" they exclaimed and rushed to embrace her.
"My my! What happened?" Jolie asked, setting the letter down and grabbing a towel. "Tia, you're soaked!"
"Tia got pushed in the water by a stupid boy," Orlha pulled out a chair near the table and plopped down.
"And Orlha beat him up for me!" Tia added, giggling at the memory.
Jolie frowned, "Orlha, you know you're not supposed to beat on people. Even mean little boys who push little girls into the water."
"No buts! Go clean up before your Daddy gets home."
"Yes Ma'am," the two girls answered in unison and scampered off towards the washroom. And there they began to plot how to get the little boy back the next day when they heard the door open and shut. "Daddy!" they squealed in unison and ran to meet him. They ran down the short hallway into the kitchen, propelling themselves into Grant's arms.
"How're my two princesses?" he laughed.
"I got a letter from my sister today," Jolie picked up the letter.
"Becca? How is she? The wedding's getting close!"
"Yeah," Jolie absent-mindedly folded and unfolded the letter. "She's nervous. It's only next week! Which reminds me, I've worked out the arrangements for the ship to take us out there."
"Oh good," Grant touseled Tia's hair, making her giggle. "It'll be nice to see your family. I know they've been wanting to see the girls." He sighed. "I can't believe Becca's getting married!"
"I know," Jolie agreed.
"Daddy, what happens when you get married?" Tia asked.
His lips fell into a slight smile as he thought about what he didn't want to tell her. "Well, you see, Tia, when a man and woman love each other, they go into a church and promise to be each other's best friend."
"No way!" Orlha cried. "Tia's my best friend!"
"Well, it's a different kind of friendship," Grant tried to explain, but Tia merely shook her head.
"Nope. Ain't no one gonna be my best friend but Orlha!" she said, rushing to her sister protectively.
"Alright, alright!" Grant threw back his arms in surrender before the two tiny faces flushed with anger. "You guys are right. You'll always be best friends. I've never seen anyone closer!" This seemed to satisfy the girls. "Now, whatever you've been cooking really smells good! Shall we?"
"Did we forget anything?" Jolie asked as she checked to make sure they had everything they needed. She noticed that Orlha had climbed up onto the railing that lined the walkway and was attempting to walk across it as if it were a balance beam. "Orlha! Get down! You might hurt yourself!" Her mother's scolding startled her and she lost her balance and crashed to the floor with a scream.
"ORLHA!" a tiny voice yelled. With tears rushing down her cheeks, Tia ran to her sister's side.
Grant had been locking up the house when he heard Orlha fall. He ran towards his daughter. "What happened??" he cried as he knelt beside Orlha, who was clutching her foot and crying. "Tell me what--Tia, will you stop crying for a second? Daddy needs to find out what happened."
"Orlha fell," Tia sniffed.
"She had climbed onto that railing and she slipped off," Jolie said in a choked voice.
Grant felt down by Orlha's leg and the little girl winced. He looked up at his wife. "I think she may have just sprained her ankle. I don't think it's broken or anything, but I'll need to take her to the doctor just to make sure." Jolie looked pained and Grant quickly said, "You two go ahead and leave on the ship. Becca will be expecting you there. As soon as Orlha's fixed up, we'll join you."
"I wanna stay with Orlha!" Tia wailed.
"No honey. You go with Mommy. Aunt Becca and Grandma really want to see you!" Grant insisted.
Jolie stared down at Orlha in concern. "I don't want to leave Orlha."
"She'll be fine. And I swear. I'll let you know what's going on as soon as I find out. And as soon as we're able, we'll join you. OK? Now go before the ship sails without you!" His wife nodded and he kissed her deeply. She took Tia's hand and they hurried towards the ship. Both Tia's and Orlha's cries echoed and as Grant lifted his daughter in his arms to carry her to the doctor's, he wondered if she was really crying from the pain or from the separation from her best friend.
That night, lying in bed, Orhla woke up with a start. She gasped for air and cried out. Within a minute, her Daddy had entered the room and he sat on the edge of the bed. "You ok?" he asked. He had been right and it had turned out that she hadn't broken her leg at all, but that it was a nasty sprain. The little girl nodded and he asked, "Your foot hurting you?" She shook her head. "You miss Tia?" he asked. Orlha nodded.
"I was sleeping, but then I think I had a bad dream. I don't remember it, but it was bad."
He tucked the covers around her neck and replied soothingly, "It was nothing more than a dream. I know it's weird not having Tia here, but we'll see her and Mommy really soon. The doctor said we can leave in 3 days. So will you be my brave girl till then?" Orlha nodded and he bent down and kissed her cheek. "I have an idea!" he suddenly brightened and ran out of the room, returning a few seconds later with the glass display case in which the Sapphire Brooch sat. "How about we keep this in here and when you look at it, you can picture Tia being right with you, ok?" Orlha nodded and her Daddy kissed her once more on the forehead and left the room after bidding her goodnight. She stared at the brooch: two parts, yet a whole. And though she still felt uneasy, she drifted off to sleep.
Two days later, she was lying in bed resting her foot when she heard a knock on the door. Her daddy went to go answer it. She strained her ears to understand what the man was saying, but she couldn't quite hear. All of the sudden, her daddy gave a strangled cry and it frightened her. "Daddy?" she called out to him. "DADDY???"
He entered her room a few minutes later, his eyes red with tears. He leaned next to Orlha and gave her a hug.
"Daddy, what's wrong?" she whispered.
"Orlha, honey, I'm afraid something bad has happened. Something very bad."
"I want Tia."
"Honey, I'm afraid you can't see Tia or Mommy again. Not for a long time, at least?"
Orlha began to cry. "I want Tia!" she insisted.
Grant closed his eyes with grief. The ship that Jolie and Tia had been on had gone down. A band of ruthless pirates had attacked the ship and left no prisoners when they were finished. But how could he tell his little girl all that? If he hadn't insisted that Jolie and Tia had gone ahead, they'd still be here. In essence, he was responsible for the death of his wife and little girl. He was also responsible for the grief that little Orlha was facing right now. He realized that the exact moment Orlha had awakened the other night was probably the exact moment when…"I'm so sorry, honey," he whispered and simply held her, trying to quiet the sobs that wracked her body.
And as the years passed and Orlha grew older, her father, Grant, fell deeper and deeper into depression as his grief and feeling of responsibility consumed him. But Orlha refused to give up. The Sapphire Brooch was the most valuable item in her possession now, not for it's worth by worldly standards, but because it represented the closest bond that had ever been: the bond between sisters. The bond between twins. Two parts, yet a whole.
"I'll find you, Tia," she vowed. "I'll find you…"