7. The Yale Review: There I Almost Am
My best friend is an identical twin. We met when she transferred to my high school for her senior year. I didn’t know she was a twin—let alone an identical twin—for the first few months of our friendship, and didn’t meet her twin until graduation. I’ve never had trouble telling them apart because of this, and I learned her face on its own before I knew it was also the face of someone else.
My friend has talked to me about sharing “the same face—your face, the signature that proves the youness of you—so that you can look at another person and think, There I am. There I almost am.” My friend has also shared how she searches for ways in which their bodies differ, how “time acts upon us,” as Jean Garnett states in this essay, and that she’s “treated her [twin’s] body as a human mirror.”
Since meeting my friend, I’ve come to know two other sets of identical twins. One is a friend I met after undergraduate, and, in actuality, I’ve never met her twin. The other set are my friend’s daughters. All of the identical twins I know have spoken of how “we must all be equal, but also different and special, and so with twins, who are the same but different, a dizzying, ever-vigilant accounting is necessary.”
I met my friend’s twins at the same time when they were 12. At first, I had trouble telling them apart, but now it is easy. Now they are 15 and finishing their first year of high school. While I don’t know if I would say that they envy each other, I see how envy understood as both “an active realization that one is not good enough,” as defined by Harry Stack Sullivan, and “a defense against annihilating love” applies to them. I also don’t know how much of that is because they are twins, and how much is because they are in high school and everyone is trying to figure out who they are—how they are different, how they are special—in high school.