There are things you still have not done.
Places you have not returned, people you have not seen.
In four years, your return to the land of the living has slowed with twists and turns, paces forward and stumbles back.
You decide on a big step, a walk into your old life, crowded rooms, people brushing close yet so much further away than before.
But you forgot about the wrong words, the well-meaning questions, the not knowing, the explaining.
You smile and correct them with “surviving triplets” when they say twins, whether they are still listening or not.
You skip explanations when you can, point out your oldest, your youngest, don’t answer when someone says “I thought you only had four” and your heart folds as someone argues your 10 millionth no-they-are-triplets explanation with a way too happy “but now there are two so you do have twins!”
And you feel like the only person left. The only one hanging on to what your family is, the pieces that make it whole, whether they sit at your hip or cling to your heart. She was here, you know it, but was she if no one else does?
And you are blinking yourself “home” and looking for your husband to save you and digging for your keys and then one more person asks,
“Now which two are the twins?”
You admit defeat, don’t correct, only say “that one” towards the khaki shorts climbing the porch and “that one” at the dress balancing a dessert and then your daughter, your teenager, the one who you are not sure is on the same planet, let alone the same room as you when you speak…
she comes from you-are-not-sure-where and points at the sky and says,
“And one up there. They are triplets.”
Then she walks away, unaware of the gift she just handed to you.
Your shoulders straighten and the room is full of people from your old life who have somehow appeared in your new.
The people who need to know do and the people who will always remember always will.
And you drive home and tell your teenager how much that moment meant.
Her headphones are in and she brushes off your hand but you know she is listening when you tell her how much you love her.
And somewhere up there,
her little sister is too.
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