top of page

Are you interested in best selling women's fiction? Check out the new novel -- The Orphan Sister -- by Gwendolen Gross. It's rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. You might also like "The Very Thought of You: A Novel by Rosie Alison (4 stars), Next to Love: A Novel by Ellen Feldman (4 stars), The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers (4.4 stars), and The Violets of March: A Novel by Sarah Jio (4.4 stars).

The Orphan Sister

Chapter One

When my sister Odette called to tell me Dad hadn't shown up for rounds, my first guilty thought was that he'd had a heart attack on the Garden State Parkway, that his Benz had swerved, swiveled and scraped against the railing near exit 142 until it flipped into the opposite lane like a beetle on its back, ready for the picking of crows. He'd fumbled for the aspirin he always kept in the cup holder, in a wood and silver pillbox he couldn't unclasp when it mattered at last. Blood would mat the silvery-red mix of his still-thick hair, his eyes would be open, he'd be dead, and I'd never have a chance to prove him wrong. Of course, my second thought was to feel horrible for my first.

"No, he didn't say anything to me," I said. I almost suggested she call Olivia, but I knew she didn't need to, because Odette and Olivia, my twin sisters, know each other's opinions, their desires and mistakes, without speaking in words. Though sometimes I am party to this peculiar frequency, sometimes I stand feeling like the last chosen for a team, because they are identical twins, and I am their triplet, number three. I don't match physically (they are four inches taller than I and my eyes are hazel green to their clear, cold blue) or hear as clearly in the ether of their silent communication.

We were polyzygots-they were identical, monozygotic, one egg and one sperm met and then split into two zygotes. I was fraternal-another egg, another sperm, but the same timing, which means I was like an ordinary sibling in terms of genetic material, and they were halves of a whole.

I'd been mulling, for about six months, the possibility that my father might have early dementia, or even Alzheimer's. I'd researched the topic when I should have been studying chemistry.  Symptom one: memory loss that disrupts daily life. This was a disruption, for sure, though generally his focus on-and memory of-family commitments and plans had always been rigorously limited. Symptom two: challenges in planning or solving problems. No. Yes. Maybe. He had twice had Mom reschedule her plans for an anniversary party because he had forgotten about other commitments. But this wasn't new.

So when Odette called I should have just waited, I should have circumnavigated the mess of other people's early and late, but I was a triplet, and triplets have extra arms, extra eyes, extra marginally obsessive worries. I thought of my father standing by his car, staring at his keys as if they were foreign objects. Last week, I'd been witness behind the carriage house curtain as he stood like that for a moment; was he thinking, or was he lost inside his own head?

Was this the beginning of a crumbled father? The beginning of interventions and wheelchairs?

No. No. Maybe...

bottom of page