NO DENYING IT
I was ten years old when I realized for the first time that my brother wanted nothing to do with me—or at least I thought he didn’t. Born just fifteen minutes apart, me being the older one, we were both bald, but had soft, sky blue eyes, my parents had told us. When we came home, we were quite sick at first. Even though we weighed a healthy five pounds at birth, we were seven weeks early and had dropped to just under four pounds, a week later. In fact, our whole first year, I was sick much of the time; however, my brother was just angry, crying at most anything.
As time went on, my mother dressed us identical, except for I wore a dress and he wore pants. She took us everywhere to show us off, because as she would often say, twins were rare in 1972.
I thought it was great, getting attention and all, but my brother would scowl and say, “We are not twins!” I would usually laugh (my brother joked all the time) and that would be the end of it. My mother would shake her head and say, “kids,” then roll her eyes. Strangers would coo and say, “Oh how cute.” My brother would “humph!” then he would walk away. I would always come back with the words, “We will always be twins, there’s no denying it.”
One particular incident happened when my mother had us participate in the Fourth of July parade. The first time we would be “showcased” as twins in the annual event. It was 1982 and by this time, both my brother and I were starting on the road to independence. He didn’t want to be in the parade (no surprise there) but my mother insisted, giving him the look of, “I went through 56 hours of labor for you!” My brother shrugged and then said, “Fine.”
That day was hot and too sunny, when you’re walking in a two mile parade. The float carried twins from all over the state and we were on it, sweating and cursing the sun, not too mention mom. When it came our time to be introduced, my brother did the unthinkable—he took the microphone from the woman and shouted, “This is so stupid! I don’t care about being a twin, just leave me alone!” Then he got off the moving float and stomped away.
My mother was devastated.
So was I.
I realized that my brother cared nothing for me—or so I thought—and that all he wanted was to be an only child. That night, my father had a long talk with him. (I know because my siblings and I tried listening by his door) and when my father walked out, he took just me to another room and sat down and told me what he and my brother talked about.
“He does love you,” my father said. “He just wants his own identity,” and then he said something I will never forget, “but he would also fight to the death to protect you.” After that, whenever my brother and I fought, I would remember what my father told me and know deep down, he loved me. And true to his word, he did protect me, on many occasions.
Now that we are both older and wiser, he still protects me, and has a deep sincerity, even though he has a hard time showing it. I never confronted him about his cruel behavior as a child, but I now know, from him, that he always loved me.
In 1998, when I had my last child, a girl, I almost died that day. After major complications, a hysterectomy, bladder repair surgery and transfusion of nearly 8 pints of blood, I was staring down the barrel of death. My brother learned of my condition and later I was told, he wouldn’t eat or sleep, until he knew I was going to be ok. He told me he had never prayed harder that day, but learned how much a relationship—especially a twin relationship—meant to him.
When we turned thirty, five years ago, he hugged me and said, “Well sis, it’s been thirty years we’ve known each other and for much of that time, I was a jerk, but I still remember the day at that parade, when I said those things, and since then, I have regretted it. In fact, every time I looked at you, the words, ‘’’You were meant to come together,”‘ flooded my mind, and I knew that being a twin was more special than I thought… there’s no denying it.”