The older I become, the more of a surviver I am. When I was first born, I basically couldn't breathe and I was hooked up to breathing tubes and wires for months. I obviously lived, even though I only had a 15% chance of living. In 1996, I was in the Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia when terrorists bombed it. To this day, I still have scars on my legs and five stitches on my lower lip from the debris that went flying. In the second grade, I caught pneumonia and was in the hospital for three weeks and nearly died, I was expected to and there was nothing that any doctor could do. When I was just nine, Mom and my twin sister, Meredith, were kidnapped. No one knows where they are or were, the police closed the case, and they just assume that they are dead. I'm sure they are, but I still have a small candle of hope that they're alive inside of me. Sure I've been through a lot of shit in my life, but I'm not that person that one would see crying to a CNN reporter of how awful my life is. I don't want pity, I want to be known as tough, as a surviver. Now it's just Dad and I living together and it gets a bit lonely. When we go to theme parks, I always wish Meredith was there. It's boring when I go, there's no one to laugh with, or scream with, or a combination of both. Actually, everyday I wish Meredith was alive. We were the best of friends, though we were nine which was when everyone complains about their siblings. I miss our long talks, mainly they were about our futures. Meredith was more girly and wanted to become a baker or a fashion designer. I wanted to be a political talk show host, I could not and still cannot cook for my life. I watched Fox News every night while Meredith played with Barbies. It was times like that which make me tear up, it is such a small moment that I doubt anyone remembers, but it will live on in my brain until the day I die.
Now, I remember her as clear as day. We were fraternal twins, yet we looked somewhat like. She had long, blonde hair and piecing crystal blue eyes. Her skin was fair and she had a heart-shaped face. Her lips were a baby pink color and had very pronounced cheekbones. She was clearly the prettier one of the two of us. But, people got intimidated by her easily, people felt more at ease with me. She wasn't mean, it was just our peers got afraid of Meredith not liking them. With me, I pretty much liked everyone and I wasn't the popular one. I didn't mind that my long blonde hair was stringy, my eyes were a lifeless shade of gray. My skin was pale and I had the most oval shaped head in my art class. My lips were often flaky and my cheekbones blended into my skin. I did not have an award winning smile like her, but Meredith made me feel included with what nine year olds consider a "popular group." At the time, with the exception of Meredith of course, the popular girls were whoever had the most Webkinz, was the best at soccer, or watched episodes of American Idol religiously. I didn't like the other girls, I was not girly enough for them. But Meredith had a motto for them, "If Marley doesn't play, then Meredith doesn't play." So I played.
Though I did not like the group, I considered them my friends. All of them, Emme, London, Kim, Peyton, and Tori. I thought that they liked me, but it was Meredith who they liked. I grew up believing that people liked me, but they did not and I never will be the center of the universe. When Meredith went missing, the girls stayed by my side. We had sleepovers every night and brainstormed where my mother and Meredith might have gone. My mom had a tracking device on her phone, but when the police used it, the phone was in a gutter. Someone must have thrown it out and that would never be my mom. She was addicted to that thing and always had her eyes glued to the screen. The evidence just did not add up. The other five and I searched for them in the woods and made a memorial in my front lawn saying, 'We Love You Meredith and Dawn!' Dawn was my mother's name. Residents added to the pile putting in pictures and stuffed animals. Weeks gone by and there was still no sign of either one. The police continued to investigate, but the town had lost hope. News vehicles packed up, there was no story left. Meredith's friends were not interested in being around me anymore. It was almost overnight. It started with an eye role, then a nudge, then a "shut up," and it got physical. The girls pointed out how imperfect I was compared to now probably deceased Meredith. They laughed at me. It was a new topic every day, hair, clothes, personality, how I was dumb compared to them. That was when I truly started to miss my sister. Not because she protected me, but she really was my only friend in the world. I started to hang around with this boy, Louis. He was semi-popular and alway quick with a joke and a grin. He was a show off but I did not care, who was not a show off? He was funny and I actually stopped thinking about my twin from time to time. To this day, Lou is my best friend and I can't thank him enough for anything.
Well, everything has changed now. I made sure those five bitches are at the bottom of the social latter. After years of being pushed around, this is revenge. I do not need Meredith to help me. Nothing about me is the same. I cut my hair so it's medium to long and I put brown color contacts in my eyes. I spray tan my skin and now bangs cover my forehead. I have also found the wonders of lip balm. I found out the even better version of me. I just wish Meredith could see my transformation now, from a dork to a not-so-bad-looking sixteen year old.
"Lou Tomlinson!" I scream into the phone, tears streaming down my face, "do you know what this means?"
There is brief silence on the other end, "Yes."
"I have been waiting for this for six years and it has finally came!"
"The year that they will find Meredith."
The police had just reopened the case after a tip on where my mother and Meredith might be. Maybe after all of this time, they will find the other half of me, and of course my mother. The news vans have already started to flood into our driveway and I cannot contain my excitement. There is so much that I want to do with Meredith if she comes back, first we will go to her favorite frozen yogurt place, Swirl, maybe go to a Manchester United football match, and then go see a movie, I have been dying to see The Fault in Our Stars. I just want the feeling of having a sister again. I hang up the phone and I lean back into my chair. The house is empty, but the reporters are loud with excitement outside. I smile to myself, but it was all too soon.
"Congrats," some girl that I don't know passes me in the hallway. She must be talking about the case. That is all anyone has been saying to me all day. I push my backpack straps higher up on my shoulders as I continue to walk slowly to Political Science.
"Hey bitch," I turn around and there's Louis.
"Hey asshole," I respond back. Louis has been my best friend for six years, right after Meredith went missing. He's a great listener and is always quick with a joke. He has his own group of friends and I have mine, but we still regularly call each other. And before you ask, no, we are not dating. That is what everyone asks. Is there a problem with a guy and a girl being friends? He has his own girlfriend anyway and I have a boyfriend, Chase Smith. He is sweet and funny and honest. I have been dating him for a little over a year and a half now. Lou and I have Political Science together so I usually wait for him by his locker.
As we walk in, all of the heads in the class turn to us. Well that's nice. Ms. Tyler looks at me for a long time and I start to back out of the classroom but she speaks, "Marley McCarthy, there has been new news and your father would like to see you in the Main Office."
Lou looks at me strangely, but shrugs and takes his normal seat in the second row. I spin on my heels and walk with a purpose out of the classroom. What did Ms. Tyler mean by "new news?" Do they have a list of suspects, have they found the person or people and put them in jail? Have they found my twin? The late bell rings as classmates and freshmen push past me in hopes of not getting in trouble with their teachers. I look through the windows of the main office where I can see my father sitting down on the black couch with bags under his eyes, alongside a male police officer. This is never good. I roll back my shoulders as I walk through the door. I try to give a smile that is hopeful, but I am not that good of an actor. My father looks at the police officer, as if asking him to explain. After about forty-five seconds, I decide to break the ice, "So, what did you want me to see?"
My dad made a pained face, but the police officer decided to speak instead, "Well, Miss McCarthy, as you know the case has been reopened. I just want to have one interview with you."
"Officer, as I have told you many times, I have told you all that I know from that day. I am sorry, but I cannot help you," it is true, I have recited everything that I know from that awful day to people countless times.
"I did not want to start off like this, but we believe someone close to you may be linked to the kidnapping and possible murder of Dawn and Meredith McCarthy. Our top person of interest at the moment is Louis William Tomlinson."
"Lou? My best friend? Officer, with all of your respect, it is not Lou. I have known him for years-"
"That is what makes him so untrustworthy. Since you have known him for years, he already has gained your trust and can seriously hurt you while you do not suspect a thing. Now if you are smart, Miss McCarthy, you will keep your mouth shut on this whole topic. And don't tell Louis, it is for your safety. You may think that I am crazy at the moment, but you will be thanking me later."