A young teen decided to do some shopping for the day at the local mall. She wanted to buy a new purse sheâ€™d been eying for quite some time and determined the wait was over. Â Her mind was made up to finally make the purchase. Â And besides, it matched the new dress she had bought a few days earlier perfectly.
After purchasing the item she began to peruse the other stores in case something else might catch her fancy. Â As she walked slowly from one store to the next browsing, she noticed another girl across the way that caught her attention almost immediately. Â She was about the same age and height, with similar facial features and distinctive auburn red curls that fell about the shoulders, much like her own. Â She crept cautiously closer to the mysterious girl for a more definitive look. Â The resemblance was uncanny. Â The eyes, the high cheekbones, even the petite build. Â It was as if she had looked into a mirror at her own reflection. Â But who was she? Â Was it possible they were related?
Those thoughts among others raced through her mind as she continued to follow the mysterious girl.
After twenty minutes or so of watching intently from afar, she realized they also had much of the same interests in things. Â Was it feasible they were twins separated at birth somehow? â€śIf so, mom and dad certainly have a lot of explaining to do,â€ť she thought aloud to herself as she stooped beside a clothing rack, careful to remain unnoticed.
The mysterious girl made her way out of the mall and began to walk through the town, seemingly preoccupied by her own thoughts. Â The other kept her distance and followed slowly, observing her every move with marked interest. At last, she rounded a corner and headed toward the local hospital. Â Who could she be visiting? Â Could it be a relative sheâ€™d never had the pleasure of meeting? Â Her real mom or dad? Â The young teenâ€™s heart skipped a beat at the very thought of meeting a potential relative, and in such a manner.
She continued to shadow her through the lobby and up several flights of stairs. Â She wondered why the mysterious girl hadnâ€™t taken the elevator, but was relieved for it would have made following her near impossible. Â At the top of the stairs the girl took a sudden right and quickened her stride making it difficult for the young teen to keep up. Afraid to lose sight of her quarry she began to run, pulse racing with each step. Â Corner after corner she seemed to lose more ground and more ground as she tried to maintain the swift pace in stealth. Â Finally, she saw the mysterious girl enter a patientâ€™s room at the end of a long corridor. Â The young teen slipped up to the door and listened. Â Inside were several muffled voices, but one in particular she was able to determine from the rest. Â The voice of her very own mother.
The young teen froze in her tracks. Â Why would her mom be here? Â And how did she know the mysterious girl? Â Was there some big family secret that had been so effectively withheld from her? Â She decided to get to the bottom of it. Â Her hands began to sweat as she grasped the door handle. Â As she pushed the door open slowly with caution she wasnâ€™t prepared for what she saw.
Her mother, father, brother, grandmother, even grandpa with his motorized scooter was there in the room. Â But, why were they all here? And where did the mysterious girl disappear to? Â Her body shivered slightly. Â â€śMom?â€ť â€śDad?â€ť she cried. Â â€śWhat are you doing here?â€ť But, no one answered her. Â It was as if she wasnâ€™t even there.
A physician was standing next to the bed and addressed her parents. Â Moving closer she gasped in horror upon recognition of the patient lying there. Â It was the mysterious girl sheâ€™d followed all afternoon throughout town. Â Or was it? Â The face that had so much resembled her own now lay lifeless and still, not at all as she remembered. Â â€śMr. and Mrs. Russell, are you sure you want to go through with this?â€ť the physician inquired. â€śI know this is a tough decision for any family to have to make but there are other options,â€ť he urged. Â Mrs. Russell began to weep uncontrollably and was comforted by her husband. Â â€śMom?! Dad?!â€ť the girl screamed, but once again no one seemed to hear.
â€śJennifer would have never wanted to live like this. Â Itâ€™s better this way,â€ť Mr. Russell said somberly as he hugged his distraught wife and son. Â The significance and weight of the words struck the girl like a crippling blow to the midsection. Â â€śJennifer?â€ť Â â€śButâ€¦Iâ€™m Jennifer,â€ť she sobbed.
She walked over to the bed to get a closer view of the mysterious girl. Â She noticed the horrific scar across the girlâ€™s left cheek and instinctively ran her fingers to her own, feeling the raised and tender skin that matched so perfectly. Â She noticed the bruising upon the girlâ€™s chest and unexpectedly felt great difficulty in drawing each subsequent breath as her pulse pounded in the ears with each rapid beat of her heart.
Then, she remembered. Â Remembered leaving school that evening with her best friend Robin. Â Remembered the highly anticipated text message received from Jason, the handsome ball player sheâ€™d had a crush on for so long and finally found the courage to approach that day. Â She recalled how nervous she had been as she pondered how best to respond to him, taking her eyes from the road ever so briefly. Her fingers trembled upon each stroke of the phoneâ€™s keys in excitement.
And then, in horror, she recalled the blaring of a not so distant horn, the frantic screams of her best friend Robin, and finally, the excruciating pain as her chest impacted the steering wheel. Â The sound of metal grinding upon metal and shattered glass filled the air. Â And then nothing. Â A lifeless black void of nothingness.
The physician turned to address the nurse at the head of the bed. Â â€śThe family has made their decision to remove the patient from life support and I regretfully concur.â€ť Â â€śPull the plug.â€ť