Chaos and Calm

This is the latest in TMN staff writer Allison Maschoff’s collection of short fiction stories.

Two sisters stood on the doorstep of their childhood home, fully grown and only partially ready to depart. They had always been together, two sides of the same coin, but now they were heading in opposite directions. The outcomes of their journeys had long been prophesied: one headed toward chaos and the other toward calm. Neither truly knew which was which, but each had hope of a certain outcome.

The first sister, the elder and quieter of the two, was heading south. Her rose skin was destined to gain the golden glow of the coastal sun; her brown curls were destined to lighten and bounce. The second sister, younger but bolder and perhaps wiser, was headed north. Her dark features would not lighten; her freckles would not gain siblings from days spent lounging in the sunlight. The first wore a whimsical gingham the color of sky and denim and cloud. The second wore a sensible black sweater with an eye-catching v-neck of fire. They met eyes before taking those first steps in opposing directions, but they did not say goodbye.

The first sister made her way lazily, first to Georgia, then Texas, then Mexico. Somewhere along the way, perhaps in Tennessee, she picked up a pair of rose-tinted glasses and never took them off. Everything was in hues of gold and peach, and life was like warm honey slowly dripping from a tilted spoon: she never knew when she’d finally hit the ground, but she knew it was coming. As the song says, “Falling feels like flying till the bone crush.”

The second sister took a train from Philadelphia to Montreal. She learned to speak French and wear red lipstick and let her eyebrows grow thick. Best of all, she learned to dance. She met a man who would spin her across the floor from sunset to dawn and love filled her chest for the first time in ages. Perhaps she did not wear glasses like her sister, but she began to see things just as rosily despite the cold and wind.

The first sister found love the moment she finally hit the ground. It was a love built on new beginnings and it led her so far south that suddenly she was north. But with the steadying hand of her love grasped firmly in her own, she was at peace.

The second sister kept dancing until one dawn’s light shone upon a harsh truth she’d worked so hard to blind herself to: her partner had always loved another. The music stopped and the rosiness was gone and she ran until the earth curved beneath her feet. By the time she ran into her sister, her tears had run out. But the pain was still there.

Two sisters stood on the doorstep of the last place they had expected to see each other. Despite having believed themselves fully grown in the past, they had done nothing but continue to grow in their time apart. Their reunion could not have come at a better time.

Each sister, one too eager to share her joy, the other too tired to keep holding in her fears, announced to the other, “I’m pregnant.”

Nine months later, the first sister gave birth to a beautiful little girl just days before her sister did the same. Despite their different paths, they had come to the same spot and yet the prophecy remained fulfilled.

“Hello, little Chaos,” said one mother to her daughter.

“Hello, little Calm,” said the other to hers.