The twins are talking together not far off, just a few paces away, they’re more than likely in the living room. They’re soft spoken. They’ve matured to a point over the past few weeks though they still have their energetic moments. I’m just glad that they’re adjusting so well to this new life.

The kitchen is still my domain at this point though they will have to learn how to prepare meals for themselves before too long. I’m sure they will learn quickly enough. I did get them several easy cooking books, in all languages they speak so I know that if they don’t understand one recipe in one language, they can try another in a different one.

I’m looking forward to them learning this new skill. It’s out of necessity at this point since I’m just days from starting a new job. I’m still not even sure how I really got it, I have no résumé and no experience in life at all when it comes to working (one month in a job does not convert to proper experience).

It’s a small job in a quiet little boutique, one of those holes-in-the-wall places. It’s an old place, it was dusty when I went in but quiet. There had been a sign out in the window about how they were looking for someone to cover the day shift so I went in. I had nothing with me, just myself and that’s it. The old man was all smiles and I guess I might have gotten the job because I’m pretty or something but he said he felt he could trust me. It felt good.

When we moved into this apartment, we still were nobodies. No paperwork done ever, we essentially didn’t exist. Alexis came by a few days after we’d settled in to drop down some cards for us. Birth certificates (I have no idea how he managed these), social security numbers, the whole deal. I don’t know what he expects in turn though he said he only did it because he knew we needed these.

“Agni, Mira! Time for today’s lesson!” I try to teach them some of the basic cooking skills I know. One a day usually so that when I start working they won’t be working with no experience whatsoever. I want them to have a slight sort of base so they don’t burn this place down. I wish I could ask for help from the guys above but they already do more for us than I’m comfortable with so this I work out on my own. It’s not the first time in my life I have to do something new and it’s not the last.

The boys stall before coming into the kitchen. Agni huffing and looking as if I’d just interrupted their fun and Mira rubbing his eyes, as if he’d been sleeping. That seems slightly unlikely as I know I was hearing them talking together.

I cross my arms, brow quirked as I wait for them to come stand at my side. They’ve been a little reluctant to touch anything in the kitchen, it’s all so brand new. That and last time, a few years back when we were in a shelter, their curiosity had taken them into the kitchen and they’d indeed started a fire. It had been an accident but it left something of a scar, in the end. I don’t really blame them for that. They still need to learn.

“Come now, we all know this is safe as can be and what I’m teaching you today requires little to no fire, no worries, all right?” Well, it’s true, the only thing we’ll be using today is the microwave. I figure it’s safer than the oven just now, though the oven would warm up the apartment a little more.

I pull out the book of recipes in Hindi and I find the page I’d set my heart on. It’s a simple oatmeal recipe. I’m aware this could be done on the stovetop but I’d prefer for them to be comfortable with the microwave first. I set the book out, page open and marked and I step back. They need to learn on their own. They know they can ask me questions but I won’t do the preparations for them.

With warm, delicious oatmeal for breakfast, we’ve all settled around the table. The boys look surprised that their meal is edible and that nothing has exploded. I congratulate them on a job well done and I can’t help the soft, lightly amused chuckle. I know they’re fearful but they’ll learn. It’s one day after the other. Plus, if they’re really uncomfortable with the idea of cooking while I’m at work, they can always make themselves some sandwiches, there’s nothing wrong with eating fresh bread with tomatoes, lettuce and cold cuts. We even have some of that pre-cooked bacon thing, it goes in the microwave. BLTs are good for the souls.

We eat in silence, the boys eating slow, as if wanting to taste every last bit of the food they prepared to make sure they didn’t somehow muck up. All of it is delicious and their bowls are nearly licked clean once breakfast is done and over with.

Together, we wash the dishes and set them away. I know we have a dishwasher but I don’t really see the point to using it just yet. We don’t dirty enough dishes at once to really require the dishwasher and washing by hand is an old family habit. We used to wash all the dishes by hand back home. It brings back sweet memories for me. The twins were too young to recall those times.

As they prepare to head somewhere else in the building, I remind me brothers that they’re not supposed to bother the man downstairs and that if they go upstairs and they’re told that now is currently not the time, they need to come back. I remind them that they can also, if they feel like it, head back down to the other building with Yael and Quentin whose pool is open. The one on the roof isn’t ready yet though Eoghan says it will be soon.

There is a whole world out there for us still to discover, every day is a new sort of day with new experiences and new things to learn. I know I can’t keep my brothers on a leash forever. It’s just hard to let them go when I’ve had to protect them and keep them safe for years now. Old habits do die hard.

I’m doing my best, I live one day after the other, I lessen my control over them a little bit more every day. It’s hard but I know it’s a necessity. I want to believe that we’re safe in this place, that no real hurt can come our way. I just want an almost normal life. As normal a life one can have when they’re so different from the rest of the world that they have to hide part of themselves because of it.

I know it’s mostly possible, I just have to look at Alexis who has been alive for I don’t know how many years at this point. It’s just a matter of slowly heading in the right direction.


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