Last Word: Splitting Up

When Twins Go Their Own Ways

Our first split wasn’t a conscious decision, given the lack of brain development or will power at that early stage in gestation, when a single fertilized egg divided into Emily and me.

I suppose our second real split came at about five and a half years. Twins at my elementary school had to decide before beginning kindergarten whether they always wanted to be in the same class or always in different classes. Though I don’t know precisely why we chose separate classes, I have a strong feeling it had something to do with collectively making the highest possible number of friends.

Whatever the impetus for the split, it worked in our favor early on: instead of all the mind-blowingly awesome toys I could have brought to Ms. Ostlund’s kindergarten for show-and-tell (my battery-operated Power Rangers glove comes immediately to mind), I dedicated my ten minutes in the spotlight to showing off My Identical Twin Sister, Emily. 

Maybe it’s obvious given my inclination to show-and-tell her, but Emily and I have always been the best-friends kind of twins. Some twins are competitive; they seem out to prove the egg didn’t split evenly, if you know what I mean. Some are so eager to develop distinct identities that (it seems to me, as an insider) one twin will cultivate habits merely as a reaction against the other’s: I don’t even like tennis, but dammit, I will not...

To read the rest of this article please login or become a subscriber.

About the Author

Ellen B. Koneck runs Special Projects at Commonweal and teaches in the Catholic Studies department at Sacred Heart University. You can follow her on Twitter.