|" Are we planning to be late again?" yelled Menon while fiddling with the shoe laces of her red plaid sneakers. She was sitting on the edge of a small stool placed beside the auburn coloured teak shoe rack, wearing the same old stressed-out expression, an unsuitable tint rouge.
" Wait a minute, I'm comin' " replied Bertha who had spend about an hour in the closet of her glum dimlit bedroom doing what was a reflex reaction on her part....crying over her predicament.
Bertha Pete and Melissa Pete were born on 6 August 1985. The two sisters were their parents' lucky charm. In the delivery ward, when Samantha Evans Rogers was vehemently squealing in pain, the would-be father was nowhere to be seen. At the most crucial moment, Dale Rogers was urgently called by his boss for the speculated thrashing. Cursing under his breath, Dale bang entered his Boss' office. But what he saw was startling, a bunch of juniors were standing holding the "Congratulations!" banner high, cheering gayly, along with the Managing director and Dale's boss on their side.
Not believing what his eyes seem to be witnessing, he rushed towards his boss and said,
" Boss, what's goin' on here? "
Dale's boss in his mid-forties, chuckled and said-" O' my boy, are you taken by surprise? You have received a promotion!"
Meanwhile his cellphone buzzed and the screen flashed "Hospital".
Dale picked up the call rather nervously and spoke "umm...Hello"
The voice on the other line replied " Hello, I'm speaking from The Holy Cross Hospital. May I speak to Mr. Dale Rogers, please."
"hmmm... ya its me" , Dale quivered.
" Sir, you are blessed with twin daughters. Congratulations!"
He beamed with happiness and replied in turn, "Oh! goodness gracious! Is my wife alright?"
"Yes sir, nothing to worry about. She's resting in her ward.", said the voice indifferently.
Dale said hurriedly, " Okay, I'm comin', I'm comin' as soon as possible"
Bertha and Melissa a.k.a. Menon were like the two poles of a bar magnet. Where Bertha was blonde,bashful, mature and sensitive to emotions; Melissa was independent, wild and a highly secure person. Though the two sisters were different from one another in the way they dressed, the cuisines they liked, their sexualities, their hair colour and the music they listened to; there was one thing common to both- their love for Halloween!
On every 31st October, the two sisters would dress up as their favourite Disney or any other cartoon characters, as Cindrella or as the Big Bad Wolf, as Snow White or as Popeye. The two sisters would then compete with each other for the largest number of candies. They would go "trick or treating" from one duplex to another. People were more than happy to give them candies and chocochips.
At twelve midnight, when the two big girls would come home after a toilsome day, they would count the total number of candies and whosoever had more number of candies would ask the other to part away with one of her most prized possessions. For this purpose, they prepared a hand-made " Hocus-Pocus chest". Both of them believed in a superstition that if the "witch" with less number of candies refused to part away with the demanded item, she would be doomed forever by the "Hocus-Pocus Chest", an old witch's casket with magical eagle's eyes... They did paint eyes on the colourful box using oil paints.
On their thirteenth Halloween, the two girls came home with the most delicious candies any child could dream of. They counted the number of candies and gulped a few like hungry bloodhounds. Bertha stopped at a figure of 1050 and announced with glee, " One Thousand & fifty... break that Melon! Ooops! sorry, Menon". Menon kept counting, " Thousand and forty nine....thousand and fifty.... thousand and fifty one....thousand and fifty two". But before declaring her victory with joy , she gulped three blueberry candies at once and announced, " 1049 candies... shit! I lost by one... You lucky minx!"
Bertha tuned in to her "thinking mode" as she cringed and placed her left index finger on her chin. She couldn't think of what to ask for, so she said- " I can't reach a decision, gimme whatever you feel like parting with....but please not that stinking Roller socks of yours". Menon fished towards her playroom and brought an old sparkling Barbie diadem that belonged to their mother. She brought with her the Hocus-Pocus chest too and prophecised- " I give to you, this shiny Celtic tiara. From now on its your responsibility. Make sure it passes from generation to generation and always has an owner or else it'll lose its sparkle."
At this Bertha giggled and asked, " What's Kelltick?"
" You mean Celtic?" Menon corrected.
While playing with her hair Bertha said, "Yes, the same."
" Huh...Just something I read in a book." sighed Menon.
After 15 years of their parents' death in a house fire , the two confronted the most dreadful realities of their lives. Bertha and Melissa were headed to the courtroom to claim the custody of Bertha's two- year- old daughter, Saoirse; after Bertha and Joey split . Menon never really liked Joey. She hated him because of his drinking habit. Bertha was 25 when she gave birth to Saoirse. She was a pretty little angel and had her aunt's dotting hazel eyes. Saoirse was her aunt's sweetheart.
Things had been harsh for the twin sisters lately, as they both had their own battles to fight.
One day, while Menon was bathing, the doorbell rang. She hurried down the staircase to answer the doorbell. As she descended down the steep steps, her bathroom slippers remained speechless, reiterating towards the formidable accident. She was expecting Rebecca, the love of her life. Melissa was eagerly waiting for Becca, as she had a wonderful surprise waiting for her; she was about to propose her to marriage. But things didn't turn out to be as was expected, Rebecca died in a hit-and-run accident.....her body lied lifeless on a stretcher, in front of Melissa's driveway.
Menon couldn't cope with the shock of Rebecca's death. She took in solitary confinement and stopped feeding herself. After ten days, she had been hospitalised and was discharged after a month. After what had happened to Menon, she cut herself off from the outside world, became irritable and left her sister all alone to fend for herself. Times were tough for both of them but they had always been on each other's side at the time of need....
"And where's my coffee?" , Menon shouted after she was done with her shoes. "Are you payin' attention? Where is my coffee?" she shouted on top of her voice.
"Yeah, its on the centre table." , spoke Bertha as she rummaged her wardrobe for something decent and formal to wear. She coudn't find anything proper to wear, after standing and sobbing in the cupboard for about an hour. Suddenly, she stumbled over an old dust-enveloped box. And as soon as she realised what it was she ran downstairs at the speed of the wind, unable to contain her excitement.
Bertha stopped at about a foot from the glass centre table and addressed Menon saying, "Look what I've found." Menon looked at the box rather unintrestingly. After a few seconds, there was a look of sheer astoundness on her face. Bertha with the box in her hand approached the sofa, all four eyes were on the box. Bertha sat close to Melissa, blew the magic powder that covered the box and opened it carefully. Melissa pulled a tiny tiara out of the box, tears dwelled in her eyes; fighting her tears she said, " Bertha, do you remember?"
A tear trickled down Bertha's cheeks and she spoke after a long time " Yes, I.... I remember". " I think its time, the witch's diadem needs a change of hands.... it needs a new owner." replied Melissa. " What do you mean? " said Bertha as she flaunted the smeared kohl in her eyes.
Melissa had a sassy grin on her face. She said "Let's bring the that lil' witch of yours back.... we need her to take charge of this tiara."
Bertha smiled and said ".....or else I'll be damned", the two laughed like babies. Happiness surged the house after what seemed like an Ice Age. The two hurried for the court and departed, holding on to each other.
The two hopeful butterflies spread their wings and flew beyond the highest zenith of the sky visible to a normal eye.
(around 1200 words)