There is a scientific theory known as String Theory that claims on a plane of existence smaller than the one where atoms dwell there is a universe in which everything is connected by a number of strings that float out from our atoms and anchor us to each other and the earth at large. I believe sometimes a few of these strings grow thicker between certain people, and I think the person at the end of my connection has died.
I'm sorry. I think I need to go back to the beginning.
I was four when I met him. I had on a pair of blue jeans, a red "I'm a Pepper" T-shirt, and a giant, red, thumb-shaped sucker lodged firmly in my mouth. I was staring at the sidewalk, deep in concentration, wondering how my stubby legs were ever gonna be big enough to jump on the hopscotch blocks marked off by the older kids.
A shadow walked up next to me, but I didn't immediately turn around. I felt more comfortable standing next to the unknown figure than I usually did when I was with my little sister. After a few minutes I looked over at him and popped the sucker out of my mouth. He was close to my age and had bright red hair, but the most interesting thing about him was the way his skin was covered in more freckles than I'd ever seen on anyone before. For a few seconds I wondered if you could connect all of his dots and if doing so would make a new person.
"Patrick Anderson." He answered.
"Hmmm. Where did you come from, Mars?"
"Might as well be Mars." I told him, pointing the remaining sliver of my sucker at his face accusingly.
He laughed, and I think that was when the strings first began to sink past our flesh and into our very bloodstreams. It was too late for me. I know now that it may have been too late for me the second he walked over and our shadows connected on the pavement.
It wasn't long before they began calling us the two Pats, running it together as if it were one word, "the tupats", as if we had somehow merged into one entity over the years and were now undeserving of individual names.
However, it was two years later before blood solidified the connection and brought it one step closer to the thing that is now killing me. I was six, and we were playing hide and seek at Patrick's house. There was a large, ornate, block lining one edge of his porch with intricate carvings of stone flowers and leaves blossoming out from its surface. I was hiding behind one of these when Patrick sat down next to me.
"Hey, we'll be easier to find if we're together." I scolded him, peeking up and around the corner to make sure that his brother, Clark, wasn't anywhere in sight since he was the designated hunter.
"I know, but the others already had the good hiding spots."
Instead of answering him, I just nodded, knowing that he was probably right. With his family, my family, and the neighborhood kids combined, there were over thirteen of us dashing around that house, looking for places to hide.
I stood up and looked around the corner again, and when I sat down Patrick leaned in to kiss me, his chapped lips brushing against the soft skin of my cheek caused me to gasp.