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Mona looked outside. She and her twin sister Dona were on Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, Ontario. It was bright and sunny outside. Just bright and sunny enough to keep mild autumnal chill at bay. Maple and other deciduous trees bled in all possible shades of blood.  But they had yet not shed most of their foliage.  Individual leaves seemed unsure and hesitated before breaking the bond and take the final plunge.  The entire valley looked crimson like the open heart of a patient at Toronto General Hospital where Mona worked as a nurse. It was the time when a sweet melancholy descends on the heart like fluttering dry leaves. One wants to leave behind all the cares and snares of life and walk hand-in-hand, quite quiet, with one?s soul mate, under the caressing sun on a dusty forest path strewn with dry crumbling leaves.

Mona felt suffocated in the car. She wanted to be out in the sun, under the clear sky, bare feet, feeling the gently yielding soft cushion of freshly fallen yet not crumble-dry leaves under her feet. She did not belong to this car. It was unfair to keep her here. It was still unfair to not let know the world and the family that she did not belong to them. Even it was unfair that her husband Harry was so loving and considerate and she doted on her two children. If it were not so, it would have been easy for her to decide. Perhaps decided she was. She was only hesitating to gently let go the twig and together with another leaf which came her way from nowhere waltz down on the hammock of cool breeze awash in golden sunshine.  It would be a short time before they fell down to earth and perished with other leaves.  But it was enough.  It was necessary.  She had stopped to try to understand how and why this happened to her. But she would not like John to ?unhappen' to her.  At any cost.  Without knowing it she opened the door of the car.

Dona whispered in alarm without raising her voice or taking off her eyes from the road, ?What are you doing!?

Blushing, Mona murmured, ?Sorry. I didn't realize what I was doing.?

Now-a-days she did not know what she was doing. She was living as if in a trance. She was doing all her household duties like a robot?without thinking or realizing. Her thoughts were always hovering around John. Her brain was busy in finding new ways to meet or talk to him. But meeting or talking was not the solution. She wanted to be with him all the time!   

?How could you ever leave poor Harry and darling Mellisa and Anthony? How would they survive?? said Dona, as if all along they were discussing this subject only.

?That's what bugs me. That's what's so unthinkable and painful!?

?I'm so busy with my husband and daughters that I don't have time to even die. They are so dependent on me that I cannot imagine they can survive even one day without me. If God tells me at this moment, 'Dona, your time is up,' I will have to tell Him, 'OK, Boss. But not so abruptly. Please give me some notice period. I want at least one year to prepare my family to survive without me.' At the end of one year, I may be again asking for more time.?

?I know. I used to feel the same way. I used to think that I'm the happiest married woman on the earth. My life was so complete. Amongst my office colleagues, they cite our example when they talk of made-for-each-other couple and stable marriage. In fact, they joke about us that we are mad-for-each-other. I used to think that marital disharmony and divorces are for others. They happen to others. Like accidents.?

?Then what has come over you, Mona??

?I dunno. I still love Harry and children. I even don't know much about John. We came from Europe; he from Australia. Yet....  It's so difficult to explain. It seems that I have known John all my life. May be all my previous lives too. You know what I mean. It seems that all my life was just a preparation for this moment. All what happened to me, what I did, all was just to lead me inexorably to this encounter with John. This was bound to happen; this was inescapable, inevitable, and ineluctable. At hospital some patients suddenly die?without any good reason.  We, for want of any good name, call them, ?IWIK? cases?I Wish I Knew.  I don't know how I lived without John. How I considered myself supremely happy. How I didn't know that I was living for him! Suddenly my husband of fifteen years doesn't mean anything to me! My two children hardly count! No, no, they are always in my heart. But they will survive. They will grow into fine young lady and gentleman. I am ashamed of even thinking like this. It seems shameful and selfish. May be I will suffer for my sin, if it is that.?

            They had gone to attend a church wedding of a distant relative from France. When the guests knew that they were identical twin sisters they started talking of twins and how similar they could be in looks and manners. Some said their emotions and feelings also are the same. Mona always wondered, as did Dona too, how come these people talk so much on the subject of twins when they themselves were not being allowed to say anything at all! Similarly, now-a-days, when she heard them talking of love, she wanted to cry, 'Shut up, stupid women! What do you know of love?' But they never shut up. They talk and talk, and write books and make films. Without knowing anything!

There was a guest who had come from France to attend the marriage. She said, ?Have you heard the latest news from Finland? It just happened last week. This is sort of first of its kind. Two Finnish identical twin brothers, aged 71, were killed the same day in identical bicycle accidents. One twin was hit by a truck and killed while out cycling early on Tuesday in the first week of March on the west coast of Finland.

Before police could identify the body and inform family members, his brother was killed on his bicycle by a second truck a kilometer down the road.?

They started discussing similar cases. Mona and Dona had heard all of them scores of times though this Finland one was new. They excused themselves early.

Mona glanced in despair at Dona. Dona had fixed her eyes on the road ahead. Dona was very careful driver. In fact, she was the designated family driver. They both became eligible for the driving license the same day. But Dona went ahead and got it. Mona delayed. It became established practice of the family that whenever Dona was in the car she would drive the family. Mona suddenly realized how beautiful Dona was. Even after two children. Her light blue eyes were perfect foil to her peach face. Her shoulder length blond hair encircled her oval face like a dark halo. Dona too had once long hip-length hair. One day, within six month of their coming to Canada, a boy kissed her in school. It was Dona's first full kiss on the mouth. Unfortunately, the boy whispered, 'Mona, I love you!' Dona slapped the boy, wept bitterly, and then and there cut her hair. Their mother ranted and wept and threatened, but they did not tell why she had cut her hair. Dona looked exquisite in her short hair. She recalled that while in college they had been jointly (what they called ?twinly?) declared beauty queen of their city. Before marriage Dona had no dearth of boy friends. Mona remained more or less aloof.

Mona squeezed Dona's right hand and raised it to her mouth and kissed it. Their eyes met in the mirror. Dona smiled and said, ?Those were good days, n?est pas??

Mona said, ?As twins we not only look alike, our lives also have moved parallel to each other. We desperately fell in love with boys more or less having same height and built and manners. We married within the same month, had children approximately at the same time, and live and work in the same locality. However, it seems that the similarities have ended there.? She wanted to add, ?You will remain faithful to ?till death doth part us?; I have to leave but have no idea how and when.?

Dona momentarily withdrew her gaze from the road and fixed it on Mona. ?Exactly, when we had everything more or less the same, then how come you alone fall in love? How can you leave your family when I will always remain with mine??

Both fell silent.  Mona?s eyes wandered over the canopy of crimson over Don Valley while Dona fixed her eyes on the road.

[THE END! No, of course not! There is some more to come. If I were a shrewd businessman I would have stopped here and either compelled you to become a paid member or asked you to buy the story. I would not do anything of that sort. Only I would request you to become a free member of The Life Beautiful! Please go to Home page and become a member and come back to read the end of the story. Done? Yes. Go ahead. No. Well, still go ahead

[Read about and Order Accidental Love]





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