My Twin Lovesbychristo©
Tell me your troubles, please. I want to hear, I want to help. You see, I'm a member of the fraternity, the brotherhood of unhappy men. Women consume our thoughts, don't they? We can't get girls to notice us, we don't know how to amuse them once we catch their eye, we don't know how to make them happy after they decide our sorry souls are worth their trouble. We're lost at sea, adrift. We all have our problems.
It's just that my problems are worse than yours. Twice as bad, actually.
I'm sorry, I'm being selfish. I'm not looking for sympathy, really. I see lonely people and my heart aches, because I know what they're missing. I know how wonderful it is to love someone and have that love returned. I couldn't be more deeply in love than I am right now. I'm hopeless. The fact that this love is based on lies, deception, and my willingness to ignore reality doesn't change a thing. I'm in love.
I'm in love, and for a few weeks more everything will be OK, before the truth comes out and my life changes forever. I wish by closing my eyes I could shut out the world. But now it's too late.
I should explain.
A Friday night in April, and spending it bar-hopping didn't appeal to me. I wanted quiet, and that's what I got, a good book in a comfortable chair and no one to bother me. But around nine o'clock I got a rather pointed craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream. I couldn't shake it, I just HAD to have some.
So ten minutes later there I was in the supermarket, stomping down the frozen food aisle. The glass door to the freezer was open, another snacker rooting around for a quart of creamy goodness. The glass so fogged I couldn't see who it was, and I tapped my foot, waiting patiently for my turn.
The door slowly swung shut, and it was like the curtain lifting as the actors take the stage. She looked up, saw me staring, and she smiled at me, a sweet, serene smile, and all thoughts of ice cream fled my mind. It was love at first sight. I mean LOVE, not lust, not some chemical imbalance polluting my brain. This was an arrow from Cupid straight to my heart.
She was wearing old jeans and a gray sweatshirt and her dark blonde hair was pulled back in a bushy ponytail. She was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. She was tall and very thin, and her skin was flawless as porcelain. Her eyes were the dark, swirling blue of the deep ocean. She looked like a china doll. But she looked me straight in the eye and her frank smile told me that she was no doll. She was definitely all girl.
"I guess I'm not the only one with a sweet-tooth," she said in a flute-like voice, holding up two pints of butter pecan.
I said "Uh, uh, uh-huh." She was so beautiful I actually gaped at her until she asked me what flavor I was looking for. "It doesn't matter," I said, awestruck by her beauty.
We chatted for a few minutes, I can't recall what we talked about, but she was nice and kind and laughed at my lame jokes. Eventually we made our way to the checkout and bought our goodies. Her car was parked on one side of the lot, my car the other. Now or never, buddy. "I know this sounds crazy, I don't go around picking up girls in grocery stores, but would you like to have dinner with me sometime? Or coffee? Or ice cream? Or..."
"I'd love to." Her smile was utterly guileless, she showed every one of her pearly, perfect teeth. Every time she smiled these tiny crinkles formed around her dark blue eyes, and that just totaled me. She gave me butterflies. It was one of those rare perfect moments in your life that you know you'll treasure forever. Perfect.
"I'm sorry, I don't even know your name. I'm Mike." I held out my hand.
She paused. "I'm Lynn," Her cool fingers nested in my palm. We exchanged phone numbers and said shy goodnights, and I got in my car and sat there a long time, pressing the hand that Lynn touched against my face. I was that far gone.
I went home to my empty apartment and bounced off the walls for an hour. I had to tell SOMEONE what had happened. I knew my friend Rick was out for the night but I called his number and left a message. "Ricky, I just met the most amazing, incredible, wonderful girl in the world!"
It turned out I was only half right.
I called her Saturday, she was free, we made a date. The whole day I was like a kid whose parents have said they were going to Disney World...tomorrow. Overexcited. Bouncing off the walls.
You know how, when you ask a girl out, a girl you just met, you don't really have a firm grasp of how she looks? I mean, you thought she was attractive enough to risk asking her out, but when you close your eyes and try to picture her she's still fuzzy around the lines. It was the same with Lynn. I knew she was beautiful, but when I daydreamed about her, about kissing her, making love to her, which I did the whole day, I couldn't quite get her in focus.
That was why, when I rang the doorbell of her house, I was rocking back and forth on the balls of my feet with anticipation. I couldn't wait to see her. And when the door opened, and there she was, wearing jeans again and her hair up in that ponytail, I sighed like a lovesick calf.
She let me have that megawatt smile, the corners of her eyes crinkled the way they had the night before, her perfect teeth shone like tiny white stones. "I'm not Lynn," she giggled.
For a second my brain didn't work. She wasn't Lynn? It didn't compute. This wasn't the angel I met last night? For a nauseous second I thought this was some cruel way to give me the brush off.
"I'm Amy," she said. "Lynn's sister."
"Sister..." the voice in my head sounded like Darth Vader when he reads Luke's mind and learns the truth about Princess Leia. "Um, uh, I..."
"I guess she didn't tell you she had a twin?"
She giggled musically. "Didn't mean to scare you like that. Come on in."
Identical twins. Whattya know? I followed Amy up the stairs and resisted the urge to kiss her. I was rattled. I fell in love with Lynn the second I saw her. I felt the exact same blissful rush when I saw Amy. Was I in love? Insane? When Amy turned and asked me to have a seat, and my stomach did flip-flops, I knew I was in trouble.
"How was your ice cream?" I asked.
"Exactly what I wanted! We were watching a movie and Lynn looked at me and we both said, 'Butter pecan' at the same time. She lost the coin toss to see who had to go to the grocery store."
A coin toss. If it had come up heads instead of tails, I would've asked out Amy the night before. I'd be talking to Lynn right now. What if they'd gone together? Could I have picked one over the other? I felt guilty even thinking that. They were two individuals, two different people who happened to look a lot alike. I looked at Amy and decided that I was mature enough to consider her the sister of a girl I was crazy about. I was mentally patting myself on the back when I heard a soft voice behind me said, "Hi, Mike."
The prettiest girl in the world stood in the doorway. Her hair fell in coppery waves to her shoulders, her blue eyes shone like stars, her lips were the same pale purple as the loose-knit blouse she wore. She took my breath away. I stood on shaky legs. "You look...wonderful."
She smiled. Her smile was exactly the same as Amy's, down to the wrinkles around her eyes. I looked at Lynn, then Amy, then back to Lynn.
"I probably should have warned you," Lynn said with a familiar giggle.
Of course identical twins look alike, that's the whole point. But even with twins there are subtle differences, here and there that, that make two unique faces out of one. Lynn and Amy, as far as I could tell, were perfectly identical This was only the second time I'd seen Lynn, and the first time I'd seen Lynn and her twin together, but the effect was eerie. It was like they could teleport across the room, I looked this way and she was sitting in the living room, I looked that way and she was standing in the doorway.
"Warned me about what?" I asked. They both laughed, and it was downright creepy, they laughed EXACTLY alike, their faces took on the same expression. But what lovely faces.
Lynn and I went to dinner, then we took a long walk through a local park, talking for hours. I learned that Lynn's parents died when the twins were two, and they'd been raised by their maternal grandmother. She and Amy both taught 3rd grade, in adjoining school districts. And, yes, she knew how remarkably alike she and her sister were.
"Even our friends have trouble telling us apart."
"You've never had different hairstyles, never dyed you hair?
"I like my hair this way, and so does Amy. You don't?"
I told her I did, I told her that changing her beautiful hair in any way would be a crime against humanity. I thought she would laugh, but she didn't. There was a sudden, serious silence. We stopped under a lamp-post, the sun was going down, it was a gorgeous evening. She looked at me, waiting for me to do what I'd wanted to do all night.
"I'm really glad I met you last night," I said.
"So am I."
I leaned down, she leaned in, we kissed. It was a quick kiss, just a few seconds of my lips touching hers. She put her hand on my shoulder, I put mine on her hip.
"I think I like you," she said. "A lot."
"I think I like you too." We kissed again, a bit longer this time. When we parted she rubbed her thumb across my lips. "Lipstick."
We walked back to the car hand-in-hand. I wanted to tell her I loved her. I wanted to ask her to marry me. I wanted to jump on the roof of my car and make monkey noises. Instead I drove her home and walked her to the door.
"I had a wonderful time," she said.
"So did I."
"Will you call me again?"
"Are you kidding? I might call you from the driveway before I leave."
She giggled, then her face turned serious, and we kissed good night. As she walked through the door I saw Amy sitting in the living room. She smiled and waved. I waved back. "Bye," Lynn said.
I lingered on the doorstep with my eyes closed, savoring the moment. I didn't mean to eavesdrop. But I heard the voice coming through the door.
There was a giggle, then I heard a faint voice, "You like him too?"
It was the word "too" that threw me. I was already a bit shaken about my reaction to meeting Amy. Was she attracted to me? That seemed both too weird and too good to be true. As I walked back to the car, I thought about it. Maybe Lynn had described me to Amy, and now that we'd met, Lynn wanted Amy's opinion. That made sense.
Except...something nagged at me. When it hit me I was coming to an intersection and I almost blew through a red light. The voice I'd heard. It was faint, much fainter than the giggling. It must have been Amy who'd asked the question. Now, why would Amy ask Lynn if she liked me "too"? It didn't make sense. Maybe I'd heard wrong. But I hadn't. I was sure I'd heard Amy. And what did that mean?
I got home, got undressed, got under the covers, and decided it didn't mean anything. I was in love. I'd met the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I fell asleep dreaming of the day when Lynn would lie next to me, to hold all night long.
That was the easy night I've known.
On Sunday I called Lynn around eleven. Hearing her voice, hearing her laugh at my jokes, it put all worries out of my head. "I want to see you," I said.
"You know where I live."
"I can be there in fifteen minutes."
"Then why are we still talking on the phone?"
Eighteen minutes later (church was letting out) I was sitting on the sofa and Lynn was sitting in my lap and we were kissing. My hands were on her tiny waist, moving up to her breasts by millimeter increments.
"This is happening so fast," she said.
She kissed me hard. "Not fast enough."
I let my hand move up, up, until my palm rested on her breast. She closed her eyes. I gently kneaded the soft swell through her T-shirt. Her breasts were small and firm, and she wasn't wearing a bra. Her hardened nipple showed through the thin material.
"I've never felt this way about a girl before," I said. "Not this fast."
She kissed me. Then she rubbed her thumb across my lips. "Lipstick."
If she'd slapped me I wouldn't have been more shocked. She'd done the exact same thing last night. The exact same thing. But...it didn't feel the same. There was something about the gesture that didn't feel right. I couldn't put my finger on it. She might do the exact same thing two days in a row, sure. I'd liked it when she did it the night before. I liked it now. But it didn't feel the same.
I looked up into her sparkling blue eyes...and felt like I was looking at a stranger.
This wasn't Lynn.
It was Amy.
I was sure of it.
She leaned down and we kissed and a tremor ran through my body. "What is it?" she asked.
"Nothing," I said, but I couldn't control my face, or my voice.
I thought of an honest lie. "I almost said those three little words, and it's too soon for that." I touched her cheek with my fingertips.
She looked at me with such tenderness it about broke my heart. "It is too soon."
"I know," I interrupted, "But right now, with how beautiful you look, I can't stop how I feel."
She took my hand, lifted her shirt, and put it against her bare breast. "It's hard for me too."
The room whirled around me. I didn't know if this was Lynn, or Amy. I didn't know if I cared. All I did know was that the warm breast in my palm felt wonderful.
"When is Amy coming home?"
My thumb circled her nipple. Her eyes slowly closed and she lowered her head until our foreheads touched. "How soon?"
"Too soon," she whispered.
It turned out to be thirty seconds later. We heard the garage door going up, so we had time to disengage and take a few deep breaths. Amy came up the stairs carrying two grocery bags and said, "You kids weren't being naughty, were you?"
"No," Lynn giggled.
I didn't giggle. I goggled. Today, both twins had their hair down. They both wore jeans and T-shirts. They both wore pale purple lipstick. And they looked exactly alike. I couldn't tell them apart. No way. I couldn't tell which one I was in love with. My mind couldn't comprehend that the girl walking up the stairs wasn't the girl I'd been with the night before. And the feeling I had that I'd just been making out with Amy was strong as ever.
"Do you need any help bringing things up?" I asked.
"Oh, no thanks," Amy said, and she smiled at me, and it was Lynn smiling back at me. I felt it in my bones.
I had to get out of there, right now. I had to think. I had to scream. "Oh, shoot, is it noon yet?" I asked.
Lynn checked the clock on the wall behind me. "Quarter to."
"I forgot, I'm supposed to call my mom to tell her when I'm coming in for dinner tonight. Always have Sunday dinner with my folks."
"That's so sweet," Lynn said. "You can use our phone."
"Actually, I should get going, I have things to do around the house." I gave her a sly smile. "I hadn't planned on rushing over here this morning."
She returned the smile. "Let me walk you to your car."
At my car she put her arms around me and kissed me on the lips. "It's crazy. I just met you, and I feel like I know you so well."
"Me too," I lied.
"It's can be so hard to trust someone this much, but I knew the second I met you that you would never do anything to hurt me."
"I never would," I said, and meant it.
"Go home, call you mom."
"I can't wait to tell her about this incredible girl I met."
She liked that, she smiled and her eyes shone. I kissed her goodbye. I watched her go back in the house as I drove away. I drove maybe 100 feet, turned on a side street, and parked. My hands were shaking.
Was I crazy? Was it conceivable that these two girls were taking turns with me? I couldn't imagine that Lynn would be twisted enough to do something like this. But did I even know who Lynn was? Who did I meet that first night? Who did I go to dinner with? Whose breast had I touched?
Were they all the same person?
Did I really want to know?
I started the car and drove home. I tried to think. The most obvious and direct solution was to ask "Lynn" if maybe they'd played a little game with me. I could just imagine her reaction-outrage would be perfectly reasonable. No, I'd have to figure this out on my own. Maybe I just had an overactive imagination. But I didn't think so.
I got home and dug through my desk and found a college-ruled 3-subject notebook. I got out a pen and wrote, "April 14.". I wrote a brief description of what had happened the night I met Lynn. Then I wrote entries for the last two days.
I labeled the next two sections "Number 1" and "Number 2". The girl I met in the grocery store I called Number 1. The girl I'd just made out with was Number 2. I would keep try to come up with a dossier on each twin, trying to find the tiny differences between them that would help me prove or debunk my hypothesis.
That's how I referred to the woman I loved. "Number 1".
The next three months did nothing to help me solve the mystery.
My friends loved Lynn when they met her, and loved the fact that she had a twin sister even more. To a man, they asked me to fix them up. To a man, I said no. I lied and told them that Amy had just gotten over a bad breakup and wasn't ready to date. Over and over they asked me, "How the hell do you tell them apart?"
They pestered me, and I ignored them. I didn't ignore my dilemma. I tried my best to figure out if the twins playing some sick game, or if I was the sick one. The results were inconclusive. I filled the notebook with observations, insights, suspicions. I took lots of pictures of Lynn, and she never objected. I took several pictures of the twins together, and again, no problem. I studied those photos as closely as a CIA analyst looking for nuclear sites in Iraq. My frantic eye could discern no obvious physical differences. None. Zero. Same height, to the centimeter. Same weight, to the gram. Same smile, same lips, same eyes, same hair. Both girls had wonderful hair, dirty blonde with streaks of brown and red throughout. I tried detecting subtle differences in the shadings and patterns of those streaks. I couldn't. Their hair was the same down to the individual strands.
It wasn't just their faces that were identical. I started looking for tiny differences that wouldn't be easy to mimic. Problem was, they didn't have any tiny differences. No birthmarks, no scars, no blemishes. Their skin was pure as milk.
For a week I made a careful study of Lynn's fingernails, to see if, say, the nail on her index finger suddenly grew a half inch. Nothing. I gave her massages and memorized the pattern of freckles on her neck. They never changed. One night our kissing became even more intense than usual, and she took her shirt off and let me suck on her small, pink nipples. As I suckled her I carefully catalogued the shape, size, and taste of her nipples. The next four times I got her shirt off, and my tongue brought her buds to perfect rosy tips, they looked the same. Tasted the same. I surfed the Internet for tips on lifting and analyzing fingerprints, but Lynn was always conscientious about cleaning up after dinner and washing the dishes, so I couldn't get her prints off her glasses.
It was like they were identical down to a molecular level.
What about their friends? I hoped that the people who had known the twins the longest could help me figure things out. It turned out that while Lynn and Amy were very friendly girls, and knew lots of people, they didn't have what you would call close friends, buddies, pals. They had each other for that.
But they didn't live on an island, and so I met their fellow teachers and neighbors and a few friends from school. And every single one of them asked me the same question five minutes after I met them, "So, do YOU know how to tell them apart? Because I can't."