People have been asking me what it’s like to be a twin for as long as I can remember. Every time I’ve tried to answer them I’ve stumbled over my words, unable to articulate it. So I’m going to fall back on what Jack said when we were six years old: it’s like being half a pretzel.
But things have changed since we were that young. We no longer share a room and I’ve stopped tying his shoelaces for him. We’ve branched out and now have completely different lives. He debates, I do Harbinger. Any likeness we might have shared is gone; he now has five inches on me and a beard. People continue to feel the need to inform me that my twin and I are in fact not very much like twins. Au contraire.
We fight like any siblings do. My parents are more than sick of our bickering over trivial things like whether AP is harder than IB. I’m ashamed to admit that I spend too much time nagging him about when we leave in the morning (is 7:15 really too much to ask?) or him putting his feet on the dashboard in the car while I drive.
When we were little, I stopped nagging him when I realized that I wasn’t going to marry him. Stop looking at me like that. What other conclusion is a three-year-old supposed to come to when she shares a room with her twin brother and sees her parents sharing a room?
But behind closed doors and out of the weird environment that is high school, I find myself knowing his opinion about something before he voices it. He has an eerie way of knowing what I’m upset about and being able to explain it to my parents when I can’t.
It was no different when we were little. We never got tired of each other. My mother will tell you about how we would fall asleep on eight-hour plane rides to France completely entwined because it was comfortable. She’ll tell you that we supposedly had our own language and communicated with each other before anyone else.
But as I’ve begun the search for the the perfect college and already started planning my long-awaited independent life, all of this has made me realize something that doesn’t fit into my perfect picture. Leaving home most likely means leaving my twin brother for a separate life somewhere else.
I had a taste of what that will mean when I spent two and a half weeks this summer staying with my cousins in Paris. I remember wishing I had him by my side when I was out with them and didn’t know a single person and had trouble communicating. I wished that I could sit with him and make fun of the ridiculous clothes that French guys wear (denim capris, anyone?).
We’re busier than ever now that we’re nearing the end of our time living at home, so it would be really easy for us to never see each other. But my parents keep this from happening by insisting that we eat dinner together every night, even if it’s a frozen pizza.
I have the most loving and amazing family in the world, but sometimes the only person I want to talk to is Jack, because I never find myself needing to explain anything to him. Even though he’s not in IB or on Harbinger, it’s like he can read my mind like my family used to joke.
As much as I would like to say nothing’s changed from when we were six, I’d be lying if I said that I’ve been the model twin these past couple months. Lately, I’ve been snappy and downright mean to him. Because I was doing homework or editing stories or trying to get some sleep, and of course I didn’t have any time to talk.
I could make excuses and say that junior year is just too hard with the very-real balancing act that we’re all performing. I could blame Chem 2 labs or English papers or feature stories. But I know for sure something needs to change.
Even though he’s learned how to tie his shoes and I’ve stopped trying to convince him to celebrate his birthday on January 21 or 23 so that I could have my own birthday, I wouldn’t mind taking a break from junior year and going back to elementary school.
I don’t want to lose the other half of my pretzel before I have to.