Rose and Mary – by Audrey Elizabeth (College)

She can still feel their arms wrapped around her neck. A double necklace of gold, two ornaments to grace her spirit from conception to her grave. Holding their small forms in her arms, their breaths tiny and constant. They were so soft.
Her stomach drops now. Her heart pounds, and her chest hurts. She wishes to take away the last 11 months. Her lip trembles, her sight blurs. Each tear brings a fresh memory. The first kicks. The first tears. The first laughs. In her heart she still hears the sweet, sweet mumbling as they slept.
She sucks in a deep breath. She doesn’t understand how this could happen. Two beautiful angels born together and buried together. Beside her, Will pats the last of the fertilizer into the ground. No, she doesn’t want to take it back. She doesn’t want to erase the memories. She only wishes to erase the pain.
One final tear breaks through, splashing onto the rosemary as she remembers their toothless smiles.
They won’t try again. The doctors warned them, but still she hoped, knowing doubtlessly that it was useless. But the knowledge did nothing to soften the blow when they were born, chests connected so beautifully. Lying together, they formed a heart. A beautiful, painful heart.
Will pats the dirt one last time, and looks at his wife. Ruth gently smiles. She wouldn’t take back any second of it. Her angels never left her. She still feels them moving within her, still hears their laughter echoing in her mind. She squeezes Will’s hand. As they stand, she steals one last glance at the heart-shaped wooden sign standing above the herbs:
Roseanna and Marianne– with love forever and always, Mommy and Daddy
Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-01
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