I laid flat beneath the flowered duvet, back rigid, hands clasped over my chest. I was waiting for Alyson to tap on my window, to signal her arrival, but neither a tap nor a knock had been heard for over four hours now. You would think I was impatient but it wasn't that which kept me awake tonight. It was the sense of loss that punctured my gut, the nothingness that filled my head, the collapsing of my heart.
* * *
Alyson had been climbing out of my window since I was thirteen, leaving me in the night for friends and God knows what else. She would creep out of her room as soon as my parents' door closed and tiptoe into mine, trying not to wake me, though I did every time. And like clockwork I would ask Alyson where she was going.
“Out bumblebee, just out,” she would say with a quick peck on my forehead; her blonde curls tumbling around her angular face. I would never get straight answers from her and in a way I was glad, what I didn't know couldn’t hurt me. She'd then climb over me to the window, drop her shoes out first, and scale down the trellis. Somehow she would make it out okay but her return home was a different matter.
The worst part of the night was when I would hear the tap on my window. I feared what kind of person she would come home as; one thing I knew for sure though was that it was never herself. I could usually measure the severity of her mood by how strongly she smelled of alcohol. These moods covered the whole spectrum but it was the nights where she was silent that scared me the most.
I remember one of those bad nights more vividly than the rest. I helped her through the window like always, but instead of going back to her own room she stayed in mine. She was mute as she cuddled up beneath my covers, clutching on to me as if the world's burdens lay on her shoulders. I never commented on her appearance those nights, although it was hard not to. Scrapes and bruises were frequent but that night it was worse. These injuries were stitch-worthy but it was an unspoken truth that I wasn't to do anything about it. It's funny in that not-so-humourous kind of way that she came home each night with these wounds and my parents never noticed. They didn't have the same bond that I had with Alyson, in fact, I was more her mother than our own. But that's how my family worked, if you could even call it that.
These memories were what kept me up tonight; they crawled through my veins reaching every part of me. This night was different than the rest, not injury different, but death different. The connection we shared was severed and I could no longer feel her. We had that twin-thing going on; you know the one where one twin senses the other's emotions? That connection was lost tonight.