The words hung in the air, giving Maurine pause as she considered the implications. Maureen’s eyes widened, and for a moment, the room felt tense. “Have you been reading my diary?”
“What? No,” Maurine stammered. “I didn’t even know you kept a diary.”
“Swear to me.”
Maureen exhaled sharply. “That you haven’t been snooping in my diary.”
“I swear. Why?”
“Because I wrote the exact same thing not two days ago.”
“No you didn’t.”
“I can show you the entry.”
“And have you accuse me of snooping through your diary? No, thank you.”
Maureen’s mouth curled into a warm smile and she took Maurine’s hand. “I think it’s a wonderful idea. We should have a baby.”
The rest of the evening was filled with tears, kisses, endless hugs, various strategies on becoming pregnant and friendly but serious debates on who would carry the baby. And in the early light of morning, none of it mattered because both women woke up and knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were inexplicably pregnant.
“But how?” asked Maurine.
“Don’t jinx it,” Maureen cautioned. “Don’t you know it’s bad luck to look a miracle in the mouth?”
Maurine wasn’t familiar with that proverb but she believed heavily in the power of the jinx, so she questioned their situation no further, even when both their pregnancies progressed at an astonishing rate. Their bodies were adapting and changing rapidly, and any concerns were swept aside in the wake of the awe and excitement of their eager anticipation of the arrival of their babies.
The following morning, Maurine and Maureen awoke to the significant changes their bodies had undergone overnight. Morning sickness, tender breasts, and fatigue – these were common symptoms of the first trimester, yet despite these discomforts, they reveled in the knowledge that they were carrying life within them.
The second day brought with it the second trimester. The babies were starting to grow, which meant their bellies were expanding. The morning sickness subsided, giving them a renewed sense of energy. Maurine and Maureen felt the first flutters of movement, as their little ones kicked and turned within their wombs.
On the third day, the third trimester arrived, and the women’s bellies swelled even more. Now they experienced the full weight of pregnancy, with swollen feet, backaches, and difficulty sleeping. Yet, they continued to bond with their growing babies, talking and singing to them, hoping that the love in their voices would reach their children.
Braxton Hicks contractions awaited Maurine and Maureen on the fourth day as their bodies prepared for the upcoming labor. They leaned on each other for support, taking comfort in the fact that they were going through this incredible journey together.
On the fifth day, the nesting instinct kicked in, and the women found themselves cleaning and organizing the house, readying it for the arrival of their daughters. They set up cribs, washed tiny clothes, and decorated the nursery with soft colors and gentle touches.
Day six was when both Maurine and Maureen’s water broke, signaling the start of labor. The contractions intensified, and they held each other’s hands tightly, their love and support providing strength as they prepared to bring their children into the world.
After enduring hours of labor that extended into the seventh day, the women each brought a beautiful baby girl into the world. As they tenderly cradled their newborn daughters, they marveled at how strikingly the infants resembled Maurine and Maureen when they themselves were babies. Choosing names for the girls was a seamless process, as each mother opted to share her own name, with a slight twist in spelling: Moreen and Morene.
The space-time distortion that had influenced their miraculous pregnancies continued to affect Moreen and Morene after they were born. From the very first moments of life, these extraordinary children developed and learned at an astonishing pace. Their eyes focused on their mothers’ faces, and their tiny hands eagerly grasped at outstretched fingers. Maurine and Maureen marveled at the rapid growth and development of their daughters, witnessing their unique and accelerated journey through childhood.
The sun rose on the second day, and the girls had already grown into toddlers. They began to crawl, exploring their surroundings with curiosity and wonder. Maurine and Maureen watched as Moreen and Morene started to babble and form simple words, their voices filling the house with laughter and joy.
By the third day, the girls had progressed into early childhood. They were walking and talking, engaging in imaginative play and demonstrating their unique personalities. Moreen was more cautious and reserved, while Morene was adventurous and outgoing. The family spent hours playing together, enjoying the seemingly magical experience of their children’s rapid development.
On the fourth day, Moreen and Morene entered their elementary years. Their intellectual abilities blossomed, and they showed a keen interest in learning new things. Maurine and Maureen did their best to keep up with their daughters’ insatiable curiosity, answering endless questions and engaging in stimulating conversations. At this stage, the girls began to assert their independence, sometimes leading to minor clashes with their mothers.
The fifth day marked the beginning of the girls’ adolescence. Hormones and emotions ran high as Moreen and Morene navigated the challenges of their teenage years. They experienced mood swings and attitude adjustments, testing boundaries and asserting their individuality. Maurine and Maureen found themselves grappling with the complexities of parenting teenagers, trying to strike a balance between guidance and freedom.
On day six, Moreen and Morene transitioned into young adults. They began to explore their identities and passions more deeply, considering their future goals and aspirations. Maurine and Maureen encouraged their daughters to pursue their dreams, proud of the strong and capable women they were becoming. At this stage, the girls showed a growing desire for autonomy, sometimes clashing with their mothers as they sought to establish their own paths in life.
As Moreen and Morene reached full adulthood at the end of the week, they had blossomed into well-rounded individuals with a strong sense of self. Now capable of making their own decisions and tackling life’s challenges head-on, they seamlessly integrated into the family dynamic.
One evening, in the warmth of their cozy living room, Maurine, Maureen, Moreen, and Morene gathered for a family game night. The air was filled with the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, lovingly prepared by Maureen, while soft music played in the background.
As the family settled in around the coffee table, Moreen excitedly pulled out her favorite board game from childhood, Chutes and Ladders. “Remember how we used to play this for hours?” she asked, her eyes shining with nostalgia. Morene nodded in agreement, a smile lighting up her face.
Maurine, with a playful glint in her eyes, rolled the dice and moved her piece across the board. “I may be a little rusty, but I’m still the reigning champion!” she teased. Moreen and Morene exchanged determined glances, ready to take on their mother’s challenge.
As the game progressed, the family laughed and joked, teasing each other good-naturedly about their competitive streaks. At one point, Morene attempted a risky move, hoping to claim victory. The others watched in anticipation, only for her plan to backfire, sending her piece back to the starting point. The room erupted with laughter, and even Morene couldn’t help but join in, her face flushed with mock indignation.
Maureen stood up, her face glowing with warmth and happiness. “Time for a cookie break!” she announced, distributing plates of her scrumptious treats. The family continued to chat and reminisce, sharing stories of their adventures together. In that moment, surrounded by love and laughter, Maurine and Maureen looked at their daughters with pride and gratitude. However, as the evening progressed, subtle hints of strain began to surface in their relationships.
The tension had been building for some time, with small disagreements and minor irritations left unresolved. The argument began like any other, but an undercurrent of unease was palpable. As the four identical women gathered in the living room, the situation finally reached its breaking point.
Moreen was the first to speak up, her voice trembling with frustration. “I can’t stand it anymore! It’s like I have no identity of my own. Every time I look at one of you, I’m reminded of how I’m just a copy of someone else.”
Morene chimed in, her eyes narrowed in anger. “You think you’re the only one who feels that way? We’re all struggling here, Moreen. But instead of talking about it like adults, we just keep sweeping everything under the pseudo-happy family rug.”
“Oh, so looking like me is a problem now?” Maurine asked, sounding more defensive than intended. “I happen to think you look beautiful, and I’ll bet there are hundreds of women who wished they looked as good as you!”
Maureen sighed, rubbing her temples as if to ward off a headache. “Rine, I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that. Everything’s happened so quickly over the past week, and maybe we all just need a little space to process the situation.”
The room fell silent for a moment, the weight of their words settling heavily on each of them. Then Moreen spoke up again, tears streaming down her face. “I just want to feel like I matter, like I’m unique and special. Is that too much to ask?”
Morene nodded, her own eyes glistening. “We all want that, but I don’t know how we can achieve it when we’re living like this.”
Maurine and Maureen exchanged worried glances, realizing the severity of the issue at hand. This wasn’t just a simple disagreement that could be talked through and resolved. It was a fundamental problem stemming from the very nature of their existence.
The argument had exposed the deep fractures in their relationships, and in the end, they all retreated to separate parts of the house, left to grapple with the unique and harsh reality of their lives.
A month had elapsed since Madge’s phone conversation with Maurine. At first, she didn’t dwell on it, knowing that Maurine always had her own unique way of thinking and expressing herself. However, a persistent voice in the back of her mind kept replaying the conversation. Being a mother to a grown woman was challenging. She had to discern when to let Maurine tackle life’s difficulties independently and when to intervene.
After seven unsuccessful attempts to reach Maurine, Madge knew it was time to step in and decided to pay her daughter a surprise visit. Respecting her daughter’s privacy, she rang the doorbell and knocked on the door. Only when she received no response did she use her emergency key. Immediately, she regretted not coming sooner.
The house was in chaos, filled with the stench of body odor and decaying trash. Shards of shattered mirrors covered every wall in every room, glued haphazardly to the surfaces.
“Am I a narcissist, Mom?” Maurine had asked during their phone call, and Madge had casually brushed it off, failing to recognize the obvious warning sign.
Madge hesitantly stepped deeper into the house, her heart pounding as she took in the alarming state of her daughter’s home. Piles of dirty laundry and dishes were strewn about, and the stench of decay hung heavy in the air. The walls, once adorned with tasteful artwork and family photos, were now plastered with jagged shards of shattered mirrors.
Her shock and dismay grew as she noticed that the fragments of glass bore countless fingerprints and smears of blood, evidence of desperate attempts to piece together a fractured sense of self. It was as if Maurine had become obsessed with her own reflection, the mirrored surfaces an eerie testament to the narcissism that had consumed her.
Overwhelmed with dread, Madge made her way to the bedroom, the door standing slightly ajar. As she pushed it open, a gasp escaped her lips at the scene before her. The bedroom was a nightmarish landscape, the bed itself a treacherous nest of broken glass.
There, amidst the twisted sheets and scattered mirror shards, lay Maurine’s lifeless body. Her emaciated form spoke to the neglect she had suffered in her final days, her once-vibrant spirit now a hollow shell. Her skin was marred with countless cuts and scratches, evidence of her futile struggle to cling to her own distorted image.
Tears welled up in Madge’s eyes as she took in the tragic sight of her daughter’s demise, her heart aching with a grief that threatened to swallow her whole. She had been unable to see the depth of Maurine’s madness, blind to the unraveling of her daughter’s sanity.
As she stood there, grieving the loss of her daughter and the twisted path that had led to this moment, Madge couldn’t help but wonder how it had all come to this. She looked around the room once more, the shattered fragments of glass reflecting the harsh truth of Maurine’s tragic end. It was a chilling reminder of the fragile nature of the human mind and the terrible consequences of unchecked narcissism.