Back in August, I entered the Elle Writing Contest. Like the Vogue Talent Contest, which I took part in last year, you write a short piece based on a given title. This year's, #RelationshipGoals. I didn't get down to the final three, but rather than let my piece get lost in the hundreds of documents on my laptop I thought I'd publish it on here so you can read it. It’s the Year One Nativity play. Standing in the wings, I’m wearing a discarded sheet and a halo of silver tinsel which scratches at my forehead. Hopping from foot to foot, I’m an impatient Angel Gabriel desperate to have my moment in the spotlight. I can’t wait any longer. Ignoring the teacher’s muffled shouts, I run on stage. As far as I know, at no point in the Nativity story does Angel Gabriel meet the innkeeper and his wife. But that Christmas he, or rather she did. I realise my error too late; I’m paralyzed like a rabbit in headlights. As I begin to hyperventilate, the innkeeper’s wife moves across the stage. Step by step, shuffle by shuffle, the gap between the two unlikely friends closer, until, finally, Tabitha puts her arm around my heaving shoulders.
I’ve often wondered at the bizarre fascination people have with Tabitha and I. What is it about us that is so intriguing? Furtive glances, double takes and whispered murmurings follow us wherever we go, as though we are an exhibit there to be studied, discussed and questioned.
“What’s it like being a twin?”
“Are you telepathic?” No. (Sorry to disappoint)
“Do you get on?” Yes.
“Have you ever dressed up as each other?” Once.
“Do people get you confused?” Regularly. Well, not so much anymore.
Years ago red velvet Alice bands, the thick sort which hurt your head and push out your ears, with names glued on top, were used to help those who couldn’t see our differences. But now the differences are more blatant. A couple of summers ago, annoyed with the constant confusion, and taking inspiration from Anne Hathaway, I cut my hair short. Sitting in the hairdresser’s chair, my face reflected wide-eyed in the mirror ahead of me, I was struck by a mix of fear and sadness. No longer identical, would our relationship be the same? Fast forward to today and I think it actually brought us closer. We remain as thick as thieves and people now see us as individuals rather than “the Twins”
At the end of this summer, for the first time in 18 years, we’re finally going our separate ways. Tabitha is jetting off on a gap year, whilst I’m heading North to University. It’ll be weird without the other half of the egg, but I know it won’t change anything; we’ll get back together, laugh at the same stupid jokes, and annoy the hell out of each other. Why wouldn’t you want a twin?