Here's a glimpse...Everything's Jake

Chapter 1  -  Hiding

     Even though Nathan died seventeen years ago, Mom still tells people I'm a twin. Or at least I was for fifty-five minutes.

     "Yeah, I know." I fidget with my phone, hoping that our time is almost up and offer nothing more.

     "You were identical twins, correct?" Elaine asks.

     Identical? Matching DNA? Um, maybe not. Don't go there. Just tell her what she wants to hear.

     "Yes." The details surrounding Nathan's death are sort of murky for me, so it's not something I talk about much.

     Dude, she's your counselor for God's sake. What are you afraid of?

     "Jake, it's important for you to understand that Nathan's death couldn't have been prevented. You do get that, right?" Ellen presses.

     My jaw clenches and the question I'm afraid to ask bounces around in my mouth. Our eyes meet.

     She knows you're hiding something.

     My silence betrays me. Elaine senses I'm holding back, so her next words surprise me.

     "Well, we're almost out of time. We won't see each other next week because you're heading up north to see your grandparents after Christmas, right? How's that going? Having any thoughts about the flight?"

     "Not yet, but I'm sure as it gets closer, that'll change." I'm relieved that my response to this particular question is an honest one.

     "Based on the events of the past few months, you're probably right, Jake. Remember, if you change your mind just call my office and I'll call something in for you."

     "Thanks." I wish her happy holidays and slide into the hallway before she has the chance to say anything further. The door to the parking lot swings open and a breeze rushes to greet me. Even though it's December, beads of sweat form a line on my forehead the minute I get into my car. Elaine's words about Nathan echo in my head. Scientifically I know I'm not responsible for his death, but logic has a way of eluding me these days. Merging into traffic, I open my window and let the weight of the words I'd held back in Elaine's office escape into the wind.

     If it hadn't been for me, Nathan would have lived.