Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hello, are you me?

"Do I know you?" "I mean, have we met before?" "I don't think so" I answer, pulling my tie-in- the-back robe more securely around me. She squints one eye and bites her bottom lip like one does when she's trying to recall where she might have left something important and then tells me that she will be back in a moment. Before the door has completely shut it opens again and she leans in, hand still on the door handle. "Are you famous?" she asks, eyes wide. "No" I answer in my best I'm not at all flattered voice. "Hmm" she breaths rather defeatedly as she again pulls the door closed. Moments later she returns and apologizes for her false sense of familiarity, "Sorry about that, it's just that I swear I know you from somewhere." I wonder if this is how an amnesiac feels I think to myself, knowing I have never seen this person before in my life.

When I was a kid I dreamt of having a twin. We would have rhyming names and wear coordinating outfits. Her side ponytail would be on the left and mine on the right. All the other kids would want to be us because we would have two of everything. Two trampolines, two playhouses, two pink canopy beds with the little stair steps to help you up to the super fluffy bedding. We would fake out the adults by taking turns skipping out of Sunday school and dentist appointments. Oddly enough, the adults in these scenarios never knew I had a twin. I would always be the good twin and she, the bad. I think I must have based these fantasies on some after school special or Saturday summer movie I saw at the public library, because my only other source of reference would have been Lisa and Leslie, or as I fondly remember them, Tandem Evil.

Lisa and Leslie lived a couple of blocks down from us and I only remember playing with them once or twice. Both times there were incidents. The first was when they blamed their spilled red Kool-aide on the little brother of the other girl who was playing with us. "Who spilled this?" the mother asked. "He did it" Lisa replied with her arm as straight as a fire poker and the tip of her index finger only inches away from the little boys chest. "Uhh hu, he did it" Leslie chimed in, with a tight-lipped nod. It happened so fast, nobody had anytime to react. The mother sighed a pissed off sigh and told us all to go play outside. The second time, I don't remember who the unfortunate victim was only that she was left, whimpering in a half squat, half kneeling position with her long trusses tied to a door knob. Lisa and Leslie laughing their blond heads off as they skipped happily away. I don't remember my reaction to this; I would like to think that I helped the poor girl, or tried to right the injustice by standing up to the two pint sized bullies, but in all reality I was probably what we consider today to be a bystander and only followed the two (for my own protection) down the stairs.

Funny that these, being my real life experiences with twins, I would ever have wanted to be one. But, like I said, in my head, I would be the good one and she would be the evil one. And as it turns out, I do (apparently) have a twin out there. On average the Do I know you scenario happens about once a week. And just this past week twice, at the gym. The gatekeeper at the front swore my member number didn't match the name he typed into the computer. When I asked him to make sure he spelled Hello correctly, he questioned me, "Your last name is Hello?" His typing tempo slowed down considerably and I was just about ready to go into my standard shtick about how I know it's weird and a lot like the Abbott and Costello Who's On First Routine, when he interrupts me with, "No, it's not that, it's just that there's this other member here who looks just like you." "Really, it's crazy how much y'all look alike" he says in a tone that makes me think he's not sure I'm being straight with him.

And then again, a couple of days later, a trainer approaches me in mid crunch to ask me how far I had run. "Oh, I don't run" I replied thinking, erroneously, that she had mistaken my legs for those of a top form sprinter or long distance martyr. "Oh, sorry, I thought you were Jennifer. You two could be twins" she said as she backed up looking around to see where my mirror image could have gone.

So now, I search for her. I go daily and scour the elliptical machines for something that I think I might recognize. I look for traces of myself in the girl working out beside the lockers and then again in the woman on the mat in the back. Will I recognize her if I see her? And what is it that I'll see? Do others see us as we see ourselves? Will I think she's pretty? Will I think she looks young or see her as a thirty eight year old mom type. What exactly is it that we have in common? Is it a specific feature? A smile? Hair color? Or is it more general, a resemblance in our build or carriage?

I've told the gatekeeper to alert me if she's ever there when I'm there. I want to meet her. I want to see if she thinks we look alike. I want to take her to lunch and see if she's the evil one.


uberchik said...

Bullying is a problem in the school system. It is said that if you do not intercept and stand by quietly, you are guilty of bullying in the passive form.

Maybe your twin's last name is Goodbye.


Anonymous said...

I hope the reason you quit writing this blog is that you got a book deal. If not, it's time to get back going, Marce.

(not spelled wrong ;)

Moose Coming May 27th!!