21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine: Short story about identity

Timmy Waldron

It started out as a game. We’d answer to whatever name we were called and pretend to be that person. It was fun at first, like cowboys and Indians, but as we got older we started to take it very seriously. At first our parents could tell us apart, there was a family bond that gave them an advantage most people didn’t have, it drove us crazy. Outsiders didn’t stand a chance. At any given moment you could think you were with my brother but you’d really be talking to me. You’d be telling me your secrets, buying me ice cream, and professing your to love me. The whole time you’d never know that I was there.

The game started to get really intense in our teens. We decided to make up rules, rules we would always have to live by, no matter what. We came up with ways to mislead people. There were tics that would forever be assigned to one of us and not the other. Jackson would always have the sniffles, so if you came up to one of us and assumed it was Jackson that one would fake like he had a runny nose. Jacob had itchy ears. You’d be surprised how well people pay attention to things like that when you’re a twin. Even our keen parents welcomed the easy to spot traits and fell under our spell.

We consolidated our clothes so neither one of us had a definable style. Most of our outfits were bought in doubles, the stuff that we only had one of would be shared. Sometimes the game worked against us. I remember once my brother took Dad’s car in the middle of the night. He had been trying to get the car for a month so he could drive down to the beach and spend the night with his girlfriend Mary. Mary had liked the fact Jackson always had a runny nose. She thought it was cute and enjoyed tending to his minor ailment.

In order to get his courage up to take the car, Jackson got into some alcohol. He crashed the car into a ditch. My brother was fine, not a scrape on him. The car wasn’t completely totaled, but messed up pretty good.
"Jackson?" my Dad yelled out. He had developed this stern pitch that rounded itself out in a question when he got mad. He looked at me with a raised eyebrow, unsure if it was really me. I took my handkerchief out and blew my nose, it had Jackson stitched into it; my brother had an identical one. "You better explain yourself!"
"Please Dad." I said and sucked air through my nose. "Don’t be mad at me, I’ll pay it off, I swear."
"You bet you’ll pay it off, and I’m taking the interest out of your ass."
Dad went for the extension cord and chased me around the house whipping it at me. I thought I could out maneuver him, but then I got caught up rounding a tight corner. He was wild with anger. The plug caught me in the eye, damn near ripped it out of the socket. I found out at the hospital later that night that I’d be blind in that eye for the rest of my life. I cried hard when I found out, not because of the sight that I had lost, but because I would have to live out the rest of my life as one person.

The months it took for my eye to heal were the worst of our lives. I was stuck in my identity and my brother was stuck in his. Despite our miserable lots we held hope that once the bandages were off we’d have some chance at normalcy. The doctor said he was hopeful, the eye was still intact, he thought there was a good chance I wouldn’t need a prosthetic. When I looked into the mirror it was horrible. My perfectly matched blue eye was now discolored, milky, dull, and different. I was devastated, however my brother showed no emotion.
"Don’t you have anything to say?" I sniffled. He shook his head no and dug his finger into his right ear. The very next day my brother was in the hospital with his own problem. He had gone home to work on the car that I had crashed and the craziest thing happened, a tiny spring nestled in the engine shot up and pierced his eye. The very same eye my father had taken from me. There was some question regarding the legitimacy of such an accident. "What are the odds?" people frequently asked. We were sent to counseling. Our parents feared we suffered a psychological disorder prevalent amongst identical twins. They were afraid we had the need to be identical and couldn’t accept being unique. It helped our case that we never had one class together; we both worked separate jobs, and never really hung out with the same group of people. When you live two lives you want as little overlap as possible. The suspicion died down.

It started out as a game, but now that game has ended. I’m standing at my brother’s coffin, surrounded by family; mine and his. Looking over to his wife and children I feel such loss. She is no longer my wife; those are not my children. I will still see them but it can never be the way it was. No matter how many times I enter their home I will never be a father, I will never share that bed again. My own wife, sits next to me and wipes a tear from her eye, she does not know how sad she should be. She has no idea that when they bury this man, they bury her husband as well. There is a name etched in stone above the plot where my brother’s body has been put to rest. I just don’t know which one of us has died.
© Timmy Waldron Feb 2005

More Fiction here


© Hackwriters 1999-2009 all rights reserved