Identical Opposites

Campbell is the perfect alpha-girl stereotype in a 'Jungle' of Stereotypes, always ready for anything. But is she ready when she discovers that she has a long-lost identical twin- and meets her? Follow Campbell as her identical opposite, Abigail, helps her discover her own emotions that she has kept hidden from herself in a short story of raw emotion.

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2. Phoenix

It wasn’t that hard to figure out. We were both adopted. We were identical. What more was there to think about? Identical twins, separated at birth. And I thought this stuff only happened in cheap online stories.

           That day, when I woke up in the nurse’s, it was just me and her. They had brought me there, and left her alone with me. Even the nurse had gone out, having left a note behind just in case. There was nothing to say, and so we looked at each other for a while.

           We realized we had to say something, anything. And we both knew we were supposed to say hi, nice to meet you, my name is, I like, my favorite color is… But we didn’t. We didn’t have to. We couldn’t. Not with what was happening.

           I didn’t know what to do. The tiger within was crumbling. So we just sat there for a long time. Taking each other in. Because it did take a really long time.

           My parents were very shocked. They told me I did have a twin, but that the orphanage was halfway across the country and that the odds of us ending up meeting was about a million to one so they didn’t tell me. I wasn’t too happy that they haven’t told me this. But I stayed calm. I knew how to control my emotions. I didn’t scream or cry or have a serious mental breakdown about my identity. I stayed the tiger I was. I kept calm.

           And now, I am ready to face her again. It is a new day, and I walk into homeroom and set down my laptop. I have emails to answer and appointments to schedule, cancel and reschedule. There was a promise made, by myself and to myself, last night. I wouldn’t treat her any different because she was my twin. No, she’s my twin at all. We’re just two random people that look like each other. A lot. If she tries to get close to me, I would just face her like I would face a normal… what animal is she in the jungle? It was soon to be found out.

           Finally, she comes in. She is carrying a tote bag, and she’s wearing the normal jeans and sneakers. She might be a common rodent. The ones with no uniqueness, the ones with nowhere to go or to belong to. The ones that ran around on the dark floor of the jungle, trying to survive day by day. Everyone stares at her. We look the same, identical, but everything else from that very basic thing is different. Her facial expressions, hairdo, makeup (I cannot repeat this enough- she has none), accessories… So different from what I have. And yet, there is that- sameness- in the air. It drives me crazy how the situation doesn’t make sense.

           She sits down on a single desk. So far, she is just a normal student. But she wouldn’t be able to stay normal, not when she looked like me.

           Abigail stands up. She turns around. Every single motion she makes is magnified to my eyes, slow motion… I didn’t know why, but my heart is pounding against my chest after years of knowing to control this.

           She comes to me. Without hesitation, she just walks right up. Okay, maybe not so much of a rodent after all. She had some guts, doing this while knowing who I am. Every single pair of eyes turns toward us.

           “Hi, Abigail. We’re not related now. I’m a Simmons, you’re…not. We just look the same. So you don’t have to try to pretend like you’re my best friend.” I shoot out. My words leave more bitterly than I had intended. But this is who I am. I am the tiger. However, Abigail doesn’t look scared, jealous or even hurt in the least bit. It’s a strange look she has, a mix of surprise and kindness and questioning, and yes, it’s almost- no, it’s exactly- curiosity.

           “Relax. I wasn’t gonna pretend I’m your best friend. We’re not.” She is unfazed.

           “Good for you.” I bite again. The curiosity on her face grows and grows with my every word.

           “Why are you trying to be meaner than usual?” She asks me. And it catches me off-guard. I just can’t breathe for a second. Her words pierce through my heart. I didn’t hear that question, it was as if the question was shot through my emotions itself. I’m trying to be meaner than usual… I can’t say anything. I freeze. And she continues to talk.

           “You know you are. You’re defending yourself, aren’t you? You’re…” her eyebrows rise, as in slight amusement. “You’re scared, aren’t you? You’re scared of being my sister, scared how this will change your social life. So you’re being defensive, trying to guard your throne.”

           My throne… How does she know this about how I thought? I never told anyone about how I thought of myself as on a throne. I don’t have the friends to talk about that. I’m just so shocked. It’s like she knows my emotions better than I do. Sensing my inability to talk, she ends the conversation.

           “It was nice meeting you, Campbell Simmons.” She says. Then she goes back to her seat, and sits there like nothing just happened. She leaves me still in paralysis, the only one devastated by this conversation, the center of attention. I am destroyed with this one conversation.

           Her words sounded so… true. The more I thought about it, the more I discovered the coward I was. As I mulled over her sentences again and again, I realized that’s what I’ve been doing all along. I was scared, I was defending myself. I was over-sensitive, over-stressed. But how? How did she know this with one exchange with me? I declare an invisible headache and plan to hide out at the nurse’s for the rest of the day. I’ve never done this before, although everyone else does it all the time. It’s just that I’m a little insane after what just happened. I was so shaken up, so much that it just can’t possibly be described in words.

It wasn’t that hard to figure out. We were both adopted. We were identical. What more was there to think about? Identical twins, separated at birth. And I thought this stuff only happened in cheap online stories.

           That day, when I woke up in the nurse’s, it was just me and her. They had brought me there, and left her alone with me. Even the nurse had gone out, having left a note behind just in case. There was nothing to say, and so we looked at each other for a while.

           We realized we had to say something, anything. And we both knew we were supposed to say hi, nice to meet you, my name is, I like, my favorite color is… But we didn’t. We didn’t have to. We couldn’t. Not with what was happening.

           I didn’t know what to do. The tiger within was crumbling. So we just sat there for a long time. Taking each other in. Because it did take a really long time.

           My parents were very shocked. They told me I did have a twin, but that the orphanage was halfway across the country and that the odds of us ending up meeting was about a million to one so they didn’t tell me. I wasn’t too happy that they haven’t told me this. But I stayed calm. I knew how to control my emotions. I didn’t scream or cry or have a serious mental breakdown about my identity. I stayed the tiger I was. I kept calm.

           And now, I am ready to face her again. It is a new day, and I walk into homeroom and set down my laptop. I have emails to answer and appointments to schedule, cancel and reschedule. There was a promise made, by myself and to myself, last night. I wouldn’t treat her any different because she was my twin. No, she’s my twin at all. We’re just two random people that look like each other. A lot. If she tries to get close to me, I would just face her like I would face a normal… what animal is she in the jungle? It was soon to be found out.

           Finally, she comes in. She is carrying a tote bag, and she’s wearing the normal jeans and sneakers. She might be a common rodent. The ones with no uniqueness, the ones with nowhere to go or to belong to. The ones that ran around on the dark floor of the jungle, trying to survive day by day. Everyone stares at her. We look the same, identical, but everything else from that very basic thing is different. Her facial expressions, hairdo, makeup (I cannot repeat this enough- she has none), accessories… So different from what I have. And yet, there is that- sameness- in the air. It drives me crazy how the situation doesn’t make sense.

           She sits down on a single desk. So far, she is just a normal student. But she wouldn’t be able to stay normal, not when she looked like me.

           Abigail stands up. She turns around. Every single motion she makes is magnified to my eyes, slow motion… I didn’t know why, but my heart is pounding against my chest after years of knowing to control this.

           She comes to me. Without hesitation, she just walks right up. Okay, maybe not so much of a rodent after all. She had some guts, doing this while knowing who I am. Every single pair of eyes turns toward us.

           “Hi, Abigail. We’re not related now. I’m a Simmons, you’re…not. We just look the same. So you don’t have to try to pretend like you’re my best friend.” I shoot out. My words leave more bitterly than I had intended. But this is who I am. I am the tiger. However, Abigail doesn’t look scared, jealous or even hurt in the least bit. It’s a strange look she has, a mix of surprise and kindness and questioning, and yes, it’s almost- no, it’s exactly- curiosity.

           “Relax. I wasn’t gonna pretend I’m your best friend. We’re not.” She is unfazed.

           “Good for you.” I bite again. The curiosity on her face grows and grows with my every word.

           “Why are you trying to be meaner than usual?” She asks me. And it catches me off-guard. I just can’t breathe for a second. Her words pierce through my heart. I didn’t hear that question, it was as if the question was shot through my emotions itself. I’m trying to be meaner than usual… I can’t say anything. I freeze. And she continues to talk.

           “You know you are. You’re defending yourself, aren’t you? You’re…” her eyebrows rise, as in slight amusement. “You’re scared, aren’t you? You’re scared of being my sister, scared how this will change your social life. So you’re being defensive, trying to guard your throne.”

           My throne… How does she know this about how I thought? I never told anyone about how I thought of myself as on a throne. I don’t have the friends to talk about that. I’m just so shocked. It’s like she knows my emotions better than I do. Sensing my inability to talk, she ends the conversation.

           “It was nice meeting you, Campbell Simmons.” She says. Then she goes back to her seat, and sits there like nothing just happened. She leaves me still in paralysis, the only one devastated by this conversation, the center of attention. I am destroyed with this one conversation.

           Her words sounded so… true. The more I thought about it, the more I discovered the coward I was. As I mulled over her sentences again and again, I realized that’s what I’ve been doing all along. I was scared, I was defending myself. I was over-sensitive, over-stressed. But how? How did she know this with one exchange with me? I declare an invisible headache and plan to hide out at the nurse’s for the rest of the day. I’ve never done this before, although everyone else does it all the time. It’s just that I’m a little insane after what just happened. I was so shaken up, so much that it just can’t possibly be described in words.

           She comes to the nurse’s during lunch. She sits at the side of my bed. I still can’t get over the way she looks, the green eyes and long brown hair. But mostly, I can’t get over what she says.

           “How?” I ask her. I know the question doesn’t make sense, and I know she’ll be going, huh? But I still ask her. Because I feel like it. And she doesn’t huh me. She grins victoriously. I’m confused.

           “That’s it. That’s the way you’re supposed to be talking. You’re not supposed to plan everything and use your words as a machinery to get what you need.”

           “Huh?” Now I’m the one going, huh?

           “This morning. You had your mini speech all planned out. Words aren’t supposed to be like that. You know the type of people who talk best? Their emotions and words are synchronized. Their words flow with their emotions, and become one. That’s how you’re supposed to talk.”

           She has me captivated. I know what she is talking about. I shouldn’t understand her talking in riddles, but I can and I can’t help it. Every word she speaks slams into me, so… true. Her words are perfect truth.

           “You still didn’t answer my question. How?” I ask her. And this time, somehow I know she knows what my question means.

           “You want to know?” She stares at me with that amused look that deranges me every time. “In fact, I think you already know. I know you know. So I won’t tell you.”

           I pause for a second.

           “How do you know I know?”

           “Because I do.”

           We sit there, staring at each other, for a long time, like the first time we did this, one day before. My guard is let down now. She crumbled the wall of resistance in my heart this morning.

           I still can’t figure out what animal she is in the jungle. Now I keep thinking she doesn’t belong in the jungle. She’s not one of the jungle animals. She’s exotic, she’s not meant to be here, she’s unreal and yet her words are the realest things in the world. She’s like… A phoenix. It’s unreal.

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