A brother and sister once slept in the same room. They did it naked, in ignorance, coiled around each other like twine. No one knows precisely what led to them being in that room. What is known is that they died there, long before they had the chance to leave.
The brother’s name may have been Levi, short for “Leviticus” of biblical fame. His mother read that book often and feared having a child who would lay with someone from their same sex. Levi would have made his mother proud. He’d have accompanied no man, married into a wealthy family, and worked hard and saved often, living a long and modest life. As a reward the world would have respected Levi. On his deathbed he would have been surrounded by as many grandchildren as he had fingers and toes.
Although, some of those grandchildren might have been told unpleasant stories. They would have learned at their bedsides that their grandfather was not a saint. Grandpa Levi was a man of hard discipline who would routinely beat his own offspring and sue his neighbors for their mortal mistakes. If these wide-eyed youths could believe it, Levi would become the reason behind his wife’s many bruises—and her eventual death. That revelation would have been told in whispers, for no one wanted to believe it. It seemed Grandma had uncovered Grandpa’s darkest secret, and for doing so she had paid the ultimate price.
Yes, a hard man, rarely moved or perturbed. Levi’s only soft spot would have been his sister dearest. She would have been the light of his life, his anchor at sea, who when all the world riled against him he could’ve always turned to for solace. On every occasion would his sister have welcomed him. Wearing his tears on her breast, she would have walked him through old and undying memories. A playground. A movie theater. A theme park in the summer of life. These would have been the tethers that bound him to sanity. When they returned the real world, Levi would have wept no more.
This woman who lent her ear to her brother’s confessions may have been named Elizabeth, after the English princess. Like the English princess, Elizabeth’s character would have been noble. She would have consoled many more suffering friends and family members, fought for the rights of the weak and the liberty of the innocent. She would have risen to political heights and helped to keep the world spinning. Most importantly, she would have become pregnant—twice. The two brave women whom Elizabeth raised would have contributed a great deal to the human experiment.
But Elizabeth would have loved fruitlessly, become widowed, then died alone. She would not be pretty, this Elizabeth, in the eye of any beholder. This would have driven her to weeping into her own bosom from time to time. She would have confided in her brother her terrible thoughts, her desires to add a few lies to her looks. Levi would have brought her to her senses with his hardened words. She was already beautiful, he would have said. It was the world that was ugly and didn’t understand.
In this way would they have been an inseparable pair. More than a team; more than the sides of a coin. They would have done anything for each other, and anything again. Be it mere well-wishes sent across an ocean or a check with many zeroes designated to a casino, they would have tackled life’s challenges in all their forms, surviving long past that moment that they spent in that room.
The room. The place where they did spend that moment. The place where, while lying in their pitiful states, would-be Levi and would-be Elizabeth were besieged by deadly chemicals and ripped from the Earth. No more futures, no more dreams. Just nudity, wetness, namelessness, ignorance. Still without voices, still in their fetal positions.
There, in that sullied palace of their mother’s flesh.