Meg, my twin and I grew up under the watchful eye of our loving parents. Unlike most kids at school, our childhood was smooth-sailing and without complications. Our mother was an at-home Mom and also a PTA member. Dad had his own printing press just 2 miles away from home. For most days, he came home in time for dinner. It was imbibed in us that dinner time was family time. We would say our prayers and dig into the lovely food prepared by Mom’s skilled hands and share with each other all that passed in the day. Our family was picture perfect.
Until one day, when Gary came into the picture. Gary was Meg’s boyfriend. Tall and lean, sporting a leather jacket and torn jeans, hair loaded with gel, Gary was as different from us as one could be. The day Meg brought him home, Mom and Dad fell silent. Their disappointment was evident on their faces. “Hey guys! This is Gary. I have been seeing him for the past couple of weeks.” she introduced Gary. I wasn’t fond of Gary myself. As the days progressed, he seemed to be bringing out the worst in Meg.
Later, I tried to broach the topic myself a number of times. Sometimes I dropped subtle hints and at other, I would openly confront her. But Meg would just boil up with anger. She was not easy to talk to. She was, and I agreed to this reluctantly, my “Evil Twin” as some of my friends had christened her. Even as a child, Meg threw more tantrums. She bossed me around and stole my toys. There used to be bite marks on my hands and cheeks. I, on the other hand, was a bit of a pushover. Meg had always been a rebel. Although my parents loved both of us equally, I tended to respond to that love in kind a little more than Meg. It might be my imagination, but Mom and Dad were far more lenient with Meg than with me. Meg was the problem child and even so I always found myself getting punished more often. But then, they also seemed to pay more attention to me and tended to satisfy my needs and wants more.
Over the past four months of dating Gary, Meg was getting involved with him deeper and deeper. My parents, in turn, grew more and more anxious with each passing day. Meg’s relationship with Gary was taking a toll on her behaviour with all of us. The usual relaxed environment of our home was quickly getting replaced by a strained one.
“Why don’t you talk some sense into her, Mom?” I asked my Mom one day as I sat on the dining table peeling peas for her. My Mom turned to look at me. “Kelly?”
I frowned. “Yeah? I said you and Dad should make Meg understand that Gary is not right for her.”
“Well, we have tried to tell her, haven’t we?”
“Mom! It’s clearly not enough. Can’t you see how she’s changing? She’s becoming rude and arrogant and even aggressive! I would have grounded her but I am only her sister and you know how she…how she throws things at me when she’s angry.But you two are her parents! She HAS to listen to you!”
Mom sighed. “I will have a word with her tonight.” “Tonight?” I asked tentatively. Mom nodded curtly. Then she gave me a penetrating look and turned away hesitantly. I saw her blink away her tears just before facing her back to me. Mom too was worried sick about this Gary thing and rightfully so. Meg was her daughter after all. She couldn’t bear to watch her own daughter’s downfall.
At dinner time all four of us ate our food in silence. “Meg?” Mom began awkwardly looking at me. Meg didn’t answer. I nudged her with my elbow. “What?” Snapped Meg. Mom and Dad both looked up at me sharply. “Go on!” I mouthed at them.
“Listen, I know we’ve been through this many times already.” Mom started. Meg glared at her pausing abruptly from carving her lamb. “Look,”Mom continued quickly. “I am not saying that you should break up with Gary. Just maybe reduce meeting him so often?”
“And why would I want to do that?” Meg countered.
“Meg!” I interrupted. “You know we are worried about you. Gary is…he’s different you know? We are afraid that he’s going to drag him down with you.”
“Look, it’s none of your business alright? You just stay out of it.” Meg glowered at me.
“See? This is what I’m talking about! Meg, you’re becoming so arrogant these days! Not caring about what your family feels. That day you threw a vase at my head, Meg! That could have seriously injured me!”
“SERIOUSLY INJURED YOU? BUT IT DIDN’T,DID IT?” Meg was now wild with anger. What followed next,was something that would not even be my wildest imagination. Meg turned her carving knife in her hand, pointed it down at the table and brought it down towards my left hand in full speed. Before I could even comprehend or see what was about to come at me, the knife had pierced through my hand and I shouted more in shock than in pain. The excruciating pain, though, followed a moment later.
“KELLY! NOOOOO!” I saw my parents rush towards me. I was shaking from head to toe and I whirled around to look at Meg. She was already out of sight. Waves of intense agony were shooting up my arm and I wailed loudly. I saw the blood gushing out of my punctured palm and I could handle it no more. The panicked faces of my parents swam in front of my eyes. Darkness started building around me and I was soon completely enveloped by it. I had blacked out.
“She’s blacked out..Oh..oh dear!” Carrie said between sobs.
“I’ve called 911. They’ll be here in no time. It’ll be okay. I have also called-” Jim tried to console his wife.
But Carrie cut in. “Okay? Okay, Jim? What about this is okay? Is MEG okay? Is Gary OKAY? IS KELLY OKAY?”
“Shh..” Jim put his arm around Carrie and rocked her back and forth gently. “For now we have to focus on taking Kelly to the ER.” No sooner than he had said this, that the noise of sirens echoed outside their house.
Jim ran into the living room and flung open the door. A team of three paramedics rushed in. “In the kitchen! She’s unconscious!” Jim shouted at them.
“Stretcher!” One of them shouted to the other two. The two men ran back outside to get the stretcher while the third followed Jim into the kitchen carrying a medical kit.
He threw a quick glance around and got to work. “Explain how this happened?” He said as he opened his first aid box urgently.
“She…she stabbed herself.”Carrie told him. The paramedic frowned at this. “What? Why?”
“She..didn’t know what she was doing.” Jim answered.
“Mr. Fischer! I’m coming in!” A voice called from behind them and a young man rushed in to the scene. “Oh dear…he said. Meg?”
“Who’s Meg?” The paramedic demanded.
“OUT OF THE WAY PLEASE!” Bellowed the other two paramedics who had brought the stretcher in now. They held Kelly’s limp form tightly by the shoulder and legs and hoisted her onto the stretcher.
“Mr. Fisher, please explain the situation as quickly as possible.” Said the paramedic in a polite but professional manner and quickly drew out a writing pad to which a form was clipped. “And who is Meg?”
Jim and Carrie were both pale and looked sick. . The young man who’d just come in stepped forward. “No one.” He said. “Meg is no one. I am Dr. Gary Micheal. Kelly Fischer here was put under my care. She has a severe case of schizophrenia. You can have my card.” Saying this, he drew out a visiting card from his jacket pocket and handed it to the paramedic.
The paramedic looked him up and down eyeing his strange choice of clothes for a doctor – a brown leather jacket and torn jeans.
“Mr.Fischer,” Gary turned to Jim. “Please, explain.”
“Kelly imagines that she has a twin sister. She calls her Meg. It’s been 5 years now. Initially, Meg used to appear only sometimes. Now she has become a huge part of her life. So much so that Meg runs her life! She controls it! Today, she attacked herself thinking that Meg attacked her. She had a row with herself over Dr. Gary, who Kelly thinks is a delinquent and also Meg’s boyfriend.” At this point Jim broke down. Carrie rubbed his back gently.
“Continue the rest in the ambulance, please.” the paramedic gestured them all out of the house.
Within five minutes all six of them crammed into the vehicle with Kelly sprayed across the stretcher in between.
Jim was about to continue with the details of the event when he noticed Kelly stir.
“Kelly!” Jim cried. Carrie bent over Kelly too.
“We’re right beside you, sweetie. It’s going to be fine, Kelly.” Carrie said softly.
“It’s me, Meg. Who’s Kelly?”