Hesson and Prudence raced down the street, giggling and flapping their arms like water birds. Their cries of joy filled the air as they tumbled down the avenue like the little kids they were -- they were twin girls, both age six.
They both had the brown-blonde hair of their mother, and the intimate brown eyes of their father. Sad that they lost them in a car accident, though it was two days after they left the hospital. Sometimes I wonder whether it's a good thing or bad thing that they don't remember their parents.
Autumn had finally completely taken its toll on summer. The leaves were vibrant, colorful hues of sunset colors painting the skies of many. The rain had left its chilliness and sadness behind, though I don't think even that much mourning could break the girls' elation. Even their jackets showed how mismatched they were on that frigid day -- red and green like Christmas time. They stood out like a black dot on white paper.
As I gazed out the window, I noticed they held sheets of origami paper, resembling rainbows, or better yet, like Skittles scattered across the ground. Every color imaginable lay in their grubby hands.
I saw Hesson, the smaller of the two, crouch down over a large puddle facing poor Ms. Mestas' house. I pondered on how she would make her way out of her house to pick up groceries. But Hesson didn't seem to mind, motioning Prudence to kneel beside her.
They unfolded the pieces of delicate paper from their hands, the sheets already a bit crinkled from the pressure. I couldn't make out what they were saying; the window was tightly locked to keep the winds out. Their words, however, were clear enough to transcribe with my somewhat little experience from lip reading.
Hesson pointed to the pool of water, treading her fingers across it. I watched as Prudence nodded and smiled, the grin stretching from ear to ear.
They each took a sheet of paper and started to fold it, the lines and creases seemingly simple. I observed intently, scrutinizing how they shifted it to match their needs. The ending result was a slightly uneven boat. It was probably not what adults would call "nice", but I saw the happiness embedded in each line and fold, the caution and wariness used to make each one.
The twins beamed at each other and continued, and before I knew it, before my very eyes, I saw them complete nine boats in all, varying from red to yellow, from purple to green. And in their own way, I saw the specialty and compassion in every single one.
For a moment, I saw Prudence lean over to Hesson and whisper something into her ear. Their gapped-teeth smiles came back again, and I couldn't help smiling myself -- their joy was infectious. Their eyes flickered toward my house for an instant -- the smaller, more quaint home on the edge of the street.
I wondered what the two were up to. Were they gossiping about me? But why should I worry? I was a grown woman; why should I care about childish talk?
But the fear grew deep inside me as they neared my house, sounds of mirth coming closer and closer, their muttering getting louder. Hesson stepped onto my porch and rang the doorbell. I gulped. Would they know I had been watching them?
I slowly opened the door, a tiny crack, and managed a small grin. "Hi."
They simpered, their babyish faces looking up at me. "Hi Jessie!"
"I was thinking that maybe you'd like to come out and play?" Prudence asked, mischief marked all over her features. Okay, maybe not mischief, but content.
I finally gave in and opened the door all the way. Although the temperature was freezing my butt off, I complied. "Alright. Just let me get my scarf and hat."
They clapped their hands and gave me an innocent, yet playful look.
I briskly strolled to the hangers holding my winter clothes -- plopped the hat over my curly hair and wrapped the scarf around my neck.
Once I shut the door behind me, Hesson and Prudence pulled me over to their pool with the boats. They were absolutely still, in sync with the silence of the street.
Hesson handed me one last piece of origami paper. It was wrinkled and yellow -- my most disliked color -- but I accepted it anyway. They were still little kids.
"What do I do?" I questioned, even though I perfectly knew what they would force me to do.
"Make a boat!" Hesson squealed. "Like this!" She maneuvered the paper with expertise -- in my opinion -- and came up with a simple yellow boat, something I couldn't possibly make with my clumsy, shaking fingers.
Hesson unfolded it and attempted to smooth it out. "Now you try."
I took it hesitantly and began to fold the already creased paper. Though I made many mistakes, the sisters guided me, and at last, with a lot of enduring patience, I made an imperfect paper boat. It stood out from the rest, looking tiny and shy among the other bold, proud ones.
I adjusted my black frames. Well, I'd had enough fun for today . . .
That was not what the girls had in mind. "Jessie! Lets sail them!"
"Are you sure?" I said testily. "Because the water is-"
Prudence had a confident face. "We can do it."
So we blew and blew until we were out of breath, though the boats had gone around, swirling and churning the water. They clapped in delight and pleaded for more.
And I gave in. They were cute and almost impossible to resist. As I joined in with the fun, I wondered how long it had been since I'd had so much laughter and happiness in my life. Which of course, brought the thought, had I ever been a kid?