It was finally time for me to return home for Christmas vacation. It being my first year of college, I was extremely excited for a chance to go home and relax. I said farewell to my boyfriend (he had a six-hour trip to Long Island, while I only had a less-than-two hour journey Upstate) and hopped enthusiastically into the minivan I recognized as my parents’ as soon as it pulled up to the curb. My parents looked so old.
My house was completely different. New linoleum in the kitchen, hard-wood flooring where a faded blue carpet used to be in the living room, new paneling on all of the walls, and something else that I couldn’t quit recognize, though I noticed it immediately. I put my bags in my once-so-distant bedroom and flopped onto the most comfortable bed I had ever laid on – my own. I stayed there for a few moments, letting my muscles loosen, letting my brain relax, and letting my body realize that I was home. I was safe in a familiar place surrounded by love.
I walked out of my bedroom and saw my parents both sitting at the kitchen table. I joined them.
“Where are Ricky and Cody?” I asked, noticing the absence of my elder twin brothers.
“Cody’s at Brandin’s for the weekend and Rick has gone with the Graysons to pick up Courtney” my mother answered. “They’ll all be home Sunday evening.” It was Friday evening.
“Lacey, we need to talk to you” my father said somberly. “You’re eighteen now and in college. Your life is just beginning and you have a whole plethora of opportunities ahead of you”.
What was he trying to say? What did I do? What didn’t I do? Was this some sort of lecture? Was this ‘The Talk’?
“Lacey,” my mother picked up, “there’s something that we need to tell you. We never wanted you to find out, but we no longer have a choice.”
They both looked very solemnly at me.
My mother started explaining how twins run in her family. I knew this. My brothers were twins, as were some of my other more distant relatives. They then proceeded to tell me that I had a twin sister. We were separated at birth. The hospital had told them that she would not survive, that she would surly die within five months. She was left at the hospital to receive care. When she did not die after a year, she was given up for adoption. My parents could no longer afford to pay her medical bills and would hardly be able to afford keeping her. They kept this fact from me for eighteen years. My sister had found them. Her name was Amelia Rothschild and she lived in California. She was coming to meet us over Christmas vacation.
I stared at my reflection in the mirror. My entire life I’d felt as though there was something out there, floating around in the universe that was supposed to be a part of me. I had always had thoughts that weren’t mine, feelings that I didn’t experience, moments of alertness I couldn’t explain. I’d spent my whole life wondering. I was not mad at my parents for not wanting to tell me. It was painful for them and they knew it would haunt me just as it haunted them. But perhaps finally meeting her would fix everything. Perhaps I would no longer wonder; perhaps they would no longer hurt.
My brothers both came home that Sunday night just after dinner time. Amelia would be there that Tuesday. Things were strangely normal in my house. We behaved like a normal, functional family (bearing in mind that our ideas of ‘normal’ and ‘functional’ family behavior differ greatly based on our up-bringing). Tuesday came all too suddenly, but not quickly enough. The doorbell rang imposingly late that afternoon. I stood in the middle of the living room awkwardly, not knowing where else to be or what to do with my hands. My brothers sat on the couch, looking calmer than ever. My mother opened the door, my father close behind her. When the door flung open there was a moment when time stood still, my parents stared into the doorway. Then with no movement whatsoever, there was an embrace that could have heated the whole town had it been energy.
I stayed planted to my spot in the newly floored living room, straining to look casual and nonchalant. Finally the figure appeared. Long bleach-blonde hair was pulled away from my face in a ponytail. A miniskirt exposed my long, more tan legs though it was the dead of winter. My body slowly turned to face me. She studied me. She saw my short brunette hair with blonde highlights. She saw my tight jeans and light Sicilian skin. She was looking passed the alterations just as I was. We were staring at each other looking at ourselves. It was the most bizarre and complex sensation I’d ever experienced.
“Hi” she said in breathless, low voice much like my own.
“Hey” I replied, still dazed by the dream-like encounter.
We embraced without thinking. We melded into one person. We were the same person, split and separated. Was the world ready for us to become whole? Were we ready to become whole? It didn’t matter to us right then. All that mattered was that we had both found what we had not even known we were searching for.