It was one of those summer storms. My window was open and the rain was starting to come through. I figured I could shut the window real easily but boy, I was wrong. There were six different flower pots spread out on the windowsill. They weren't mine and I could never really tell what was growing in them. I never saw the point of having them there. I’d jokingly refer to them as dirt piles because, well, that’s all they were to me. Anyway, I did my best to maneuver the dirt piles across the thin windowsill in hopes that when I closed the window, the pane wouldn’t smash the pots. Then, in what seemed to be an inevitable, hopeless slow-motion, the window pane clipped the side of one of the pots then proceeded to fall all the way down to the floor, conveniently plopping all of its insides all over my new prom shoes.
Prom was a week away from when this devastation took place. I was overjoyed to see them covered in dirt, really I was.
“You have got to be kidding!” On that note, Alyssa, my twin sister, ran in the room and the rest, well...
“What do you mean, your petunias? My prom shoes are all messed up!”
“Who cares about your prom shoes, they were finally starting to sprout!”
“This is why I can't have nice things, you leave your piles of dirt all over the place.”
“You're the one who dropped it, you moron! Now they'll never grow!”
It’s great having a twin.
No, we aren’t identical. No, we don’t finish each other's sentences and no, if one of us gets pinched the other one doesn't feel it too. We have, however, spent pretty much every waking day together.
We’ve always been in the same school. Up until eighth grade, we’ve been in every single class together. We went to the same high school, took the same route home, were in the same homeroom, had lockers adjacent to each other, shared a bedroom together and in the fifth grade, even had to share a pair of glasses. Alyssa likes to say, and I kid you not, “First we were wombmates, now we’re roommates!”
Yeah, I wish I was lying.
The constant of always being around each other got rather frustrating for us at times. We aren’t your stereotypical twins that loved all the same things and did everything together. In fact, we’re like night and day. She’s more of a math and science person, I’m more of an English and history person. She’d rather sit quietly in the art room and sketch, I’d rather be on stage and take part in a musical. She’s rational yet quirky, whereas I’m unsystematic and more impulsive.
She sees petunias, I see a dirt pile.
As our high school careers progressed, we both became involved in different clubs and had different friend groups, and began to see each other less and less. I’d only see her across the room in certain classes, for a whole seven minutes in homeroom and at occasional stops to my locker.
To me, that was enough. Besides, when I got home she’d be there.
Although we went through high school together, our experiences of it couldn’t be any more different. It took me my first three years of high school to finally find the right friend group, whereas Alyssa made her forever friends within the first few weeks of freshman year. Luckily for me though, my sister always made herself available to me to fall back on. There were days I had no one to sit with at lunch, but she’d be there. There were times I had no one to do projects with but like always, she’d be there. I really can’t explain it all to you; I wish I could. She’d just simply be there.
I think that’s why it took me so long to realize that she wouldn't always be.
I’ve always known that my sister and I would be going to different colleges. I knew it freshman year, and again when we both applied to different places. Finally came the day Alyssa decided on a school in Long Island and I decided on a school in Manhattan. However, it wasn’t until I went to freshman orientation without her that it finally hit me.
For the first time in our whole, young lives, we wouldn’t be together. We wouldn't share a room, we wouldn’t be ranting about what happened in class or knocking into each other at our lockers.
We’d be twinless. It was actually happening.
So many different and unfamiliar emotions began to surface. The first was definitely excitement. I was excited that we both picked the perfect colleges that best suited ourselves. I also thought, since we are so different, it makes sense that we’d both pick different colleges, so that part was OK.
Then came the feeling of relief. Throughout our childhood, we’ve gone back and forth with the feeling that we were constantly being compared to each other. We’ve both felt the pressure at one point or another. That’s why I took comfort in going to different colleges — maybe we’d get to feel more like our own people. We’d get to be in a place where a whole group of people only knew one Diodato and not two: Not the one who’s more introverted and the one who’s more extroverted, the one who’s more of a realist and the one who’s more of a dreamer, the one who’s more anxious and the one who’s more laid back. For the first time in our lives, there would only be just one, with no one else left to inevitably be compared to.
Still, you win some and you lose some. With that relief came some unpleasant emotions.
Fear and anxiety are tough to beat. It wasn't so much fear or anxiety over how I’d fare without my sister around to fall back on, it was more of a fear and anxiety for how my sister would handle being twinless for a change. It’s true that my sister was always around for me when I had no one else. But my sister needed me just as much as I’ve needed her. We’ve kind of formed this co-dependency over the years and I really worry about her. This is all so new to us and there’s no instruction guide on how to handle it.
All we knew is that we couldn't be there. There where one was, and the other was not.
Then I thought of those unsightly dirt piles, and the prom shoes which I adored. The prom shoes survived. The petunias though, they didn't make it.
But then more room was made on that thin windowsill... enough room for something else to sprout. And now, there’s this beautiful purple flower that sits where the potential petunias once sat.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, you win some and you lose some. However, you still gain something from a loss. Yes, it’s unexpected and unfamiliar, but it inevitably happens one way or another. And soon you’ll see, it turns into something more beautiful and precious than anything you could have ever asked for. Maybe the thing my sister and I need is the thing that’s ahead of the loss. We’re losing a half of ourselves; inevitable. Nevertheless, we’ll gain something from this and it’ll be a story of serendipity, I just know it.
Some things never change, though. Alyssa will get flowers for her dorm for sure. It makes me fancy getting my own pile of dirt.
Maybe I’ll put it on the windowsill, too.
Lead Image Credit: Unsplash