As a twin I looked at the photo recently of 12 sets of twins at Huonville Primary in The Mercury with great interest.
A couple of ‘sets’ look happy together, others not so. Lucy and Sam, 9 and Laura and Madi, 5, look very content in each others arms. Jade and Axel have smiles enforced in concrete and Samantha, twin of Rhys, looks tense and suspicious.
What sort of burden is it then, to be a twin?
Never recognised for who you are but for what you are. Part of a unit, a team, never one, dressed the same, the other ‘half’, always there. What sort of difference comes from being identical as opposed to non-identical?
Identical twins, from the one egg, fertilised by the one sperm – you split say at 8 cells of growth. Why? Who knows? An aberration. You are an aberration of nature. (Siamese twins continue on in their aberration).
You grow together from 8 cells, as one, one genetic imprint, same set of DNA.
Non-identical, you are a result of your mums’ fertile ovaries, releasing not one, but two eggs, or in the modern way, from reproductive science.
You’ll never be this close to another person again, ever
Identical or non-identical, you grow together in the same environment, the same, soft, red womb. You grow closer and closer as space gets tighter and tighter until you end up folded in each others arms and legs, skin to skin, drinking the same amniotic fluid, listening to your shared mother’s heartbeat.
Even if separated by the thin membranes of your bag of buffer fluid, you still feel each other, you still know each other intimately, you’ll never be this close to another person again, ever.
Then, you’re born. Into a world that recognises you as half of one-never as one.
The turmoil of your parents, how to share their love and time equally? What comes first, precious time with you, who has to share everthing with your other ‘half’, or the housework, the cooking, cleaning, washing, folding, just general day-to-day maintenance that doubles with the birth of the ‘twins’?
Talk to parents of twins and often it’s the housework that wins out. The only way they cope, they’ll tell you, is if the house is orderly.
What about the sex, what if you are a boy and a girl and there are already two boys, or one boy, or two girls, or one girl?
What about my poor unfortunate gay hairdresser who was the boy of a girl-boy set born after 8 previous boys? He reckoned he was left in a corner and forgotten. What would the psychotherapist say about my beautiful mates sexuality? I wonder.
Ah twins! What special, special creatures.