I have a weird fascination with twins. Always have. I was reminded of this only recently when I was assigned a story on famous twins at work, and spent what felt like hours staring at their photos, mesmerized… I’ve always found it amazing when you see a person and then discover there’s two of them. It’s like, “Woah! Was there a two-for-one sale? And why didn’t anybody tell me?” I can’t stop staring.
Growing up, one of my favourite movies was The Parent Trap (the Hayley Mills version, not the Lindsay Lohan version – although that one was also surprisingly good), about twin sisters who only meet each other at a summer camp and then switch identities in an effort to get to know their other parent and bring them both back together. “Yep,” I used think. “I bet this is what happened to me.”
When I was a little girl, I convinced myself I had a secret twin sister who my parents kept under the house. I don’t know why they kept her there. It seemed like a good enough place at the time… I even used to have arguments with my mum about it.
Me: “Just tell me! Am I a twin?”
Me: “You’re lying!”
Mum: “I think I’d know.”
After finally accepting that maybe I didn’t have a twin (I checked under the house – found nothing), I decided to convince my sister, Patrice, that she did. I concocted an elaborate story about how she was an Indian princess who we adopted. Her birth parents named her “Shitty O’Doodle Vancha”, while her twin sister was named “Darling O’Doodle Vancha”, because her biological parents preferred her sister. Obviously. That’s why they gave Patrice/Shitty up for adoption. When times got tough, Patrice would pack a bag and threaten to go back to India. I would’ve been happy to stand on the balcony and wave her goodbye, but Mum would always send me up to her room to convince her to stay. With a stony face, I’d tell her, “But they don’t want you.”
More recently, people tend to think Patrice and I are twins. While there’s definitely a similarity – we are biological sisters after all (or so they tell me – yes, the jig about India is definitely up) – I just don’t see it. In 2012, Patrice and I travelled through America together, and everyday, people would stop us and ask if we were twins. They would then proceed to stare in disbelief when we told them, “No. Just sisters.” It got to the point where it was easier to just nod in agreement and say, “Yes! Yes, we are!” (For the record, I’m three and a half years older.)
The thing I really love about twins though is how tight a unit they are. It’s like having an in-built best friend. I have cousins who are identical twins, and I’ve always been fascinated by how close they are. They obviously have their own personalities and identities, but whenever they come back together, they just seem to compliment each other perfectly. It’s like two pieces of a puzzle coming together.
So, please – if you happen to know or find my twin sister (I know she’s out there, Mum), let me know ASAP.