Lisa’s expletive startled her. That couldn’t be good. Deep breath. She must keep extremely calm and soothing.
“Lisa what’s going on?”
“I knew it!”
The excitement in Lisa’s voice could be good or bad. Hopefully it would be good. She couldn’t handle bad today. Not today.
“What did you know honey?”
Lisa turned on her seat holding her book triumphantly.
“There was an even number of words on that page of my book.”
“Oh that’s good. That’s really good honey.”
“It’s an even day.”
“Apparently it is.”
The frown on her twin’s face though… oh no.
“How many times did you boil the water for tea Lily?”
“Twice Lisa. Twice; you know how I am.”
She giggled. But bit her lip.
“How many times did you sip from your cup before you finished your tea?”
I don’t know… I didn’t count. “Six times honey.”
Or 7 or 8… But she couldn’t tell her sister that.
“Oh good. But… Lily what’s the day today?”
Lily stood and took her sister in her arms.
“It’s the sixty eighth day since you came back honey.”
That she knew; that she counted. Because she had to.
“Shush sweetie. Calm down. It’s ok. It’s ok.”
Her sister’s paranoid superstitions weren’t half as bad as they could have been, the doctors said. Her PTSD was manageable most of the time. But it was never certain. Each day came with its own uncertainties. The last time Lisa had a bad day she’d ended up almost killing herself. Two months in a psychiatric ward. She’d been ok since her return but some days were difficult. And today… well today could be a trigger for the both of them. Lily knew it. And she knew she couldn’t really expect Lisa to consider anything but her own pain. Except sometimes, Lily too needed a break.
“I saw a black cat last night Lily.”
“Honey you know what they say in French ‘in the dark of night, every cat is black.’ Of course it was.”
Well it wasn’t exactly that but it rhymed in French and it worked right now.
She caressed her sister’s head, soothing her anxiety in any way she could. She’d had the habit of doing this for years, even when they were kids and her sister would get anxious. Lisa had always been an anxious kid. And then an angsty teenager. She’d always been fragile. What happened only pushed her into the realm of pathology. And it turned Lily into the caregiver. Apparently today would be a bad day. Not surprising all in all – although she wondered if Lisa even remembered why it was so. It seemed they wouldn’t make it to the cemetery after all. For a fleeting second, Lily wondered if their parents’ spirits would harass and haunt them for that.