29: Weirdly in Sync

29: Weirdly in Sync

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More

Weirdly in Sync

Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.

~Julius Charles Hare

In the fall of 1955, my mother delivered identical twin girls. The only person more surprised than Mother was the doctor at the end of the table. Throughout Mother’s pregnancy, only one heartbeat had been detected. And, in the normal world of obstetricians and pregnant women, one heartbeat equals one bundle of joy.

But not this time.

A few minutes after Dayle was delivered (seven to be exact), the doctor said, “Hold everything. We’ve got another one coming.” Thus, my twin and I entered the world abnormally—and we’ve been a bit abnormal ever since.

Well, actually, “abnormal” isn’t totally accurate. As kids, Dayle and I were just plain weird.

For starters, we ate weird things—like dirt. Where the dirt came from, or where the dirt had been, didn’t much matter. To Mother’s dismay, she often caught us sliding our hands beneath rugs and licking the spoils of our pursuit. Dirty shoes were fair game, as well, and our Mississippi mud pies were really Mississippi mud pies.

Another weird Blue Plate Special of ours was varnished wood.

Whenever the house became unusually quiet, Mother would find us standing side-by-side, chewing on a small varnished table. No matter how many times she attempted to stop the chewing, it didn’t stop.

Finally, after suffering major damage, the table was turned to reveal a non-chewed-on side. But not for long. Like two little beavers, homeless in the woods, we returned to the table and started gnawing again.

Our speech was weird, too. Decoding our vocabulary often took days.

After hearing us chatter about “tan-day-ya” for weeks on end, Mother marked it down as a mystery word in her proverbial book of “Weird Things the Twins Say.” A few days later, while flipping through photo albums, a picture of Granddaddy appeared. “There Tan-day-ya!” we yelled, pointing at Granddaddy’s picture on the page. Ah! Granddaddy. Tan-day-ya. Piece of cake.

Normally, Mother used the process of elimination for interpreting our babble, but it didn’t always do the trick.

One day, I walked into the kitchen and said, “Momma, tuba.” In her usual fashion, Mother commenced pointing around the room, but, alas, nothing was filling the bill.

After a lengthy exchange of “This?” “No.” “This?” “No.” “This?” Dayle walked in. In a tutorial tone of voice, she said, “Momma, ooh know what ooh put toopay on?” And with that bit of a clue, Mother figured out that I wanted to brush my teeth. Toopay on a tuba. Makes perfect sense to me.

But, undoubtedly, the weirdest thing about the Allen twins from Mississippi was the invisible bond that tied them together, dictating their behavior, like puppet and puppeteer.

Mother tells a funny story of us running in a department store one day. Like two actors reading from the same script, we both lost our footing and fell flat on our rears at the exact same spot of parallel aisles. Indeed, everything we did, we did in sync.

I remember going to the dentist when we were about six years old. While Dayle hollered bloody murder from the dentist’s chair, I hollered bloody murder in the waiting room. Never mind that I was unharmed, alone with the magazines. Dayle’s fears were my fears, and there was no escaping it.

Some say that little has changed since those early days of yore, and they have a point, I suppose: We’re still weird in a wonderful kind of way.

We finish each other’s sentences. We make up words as the occasion warrants. We laugh at nothing. We cry at anything. We play Scrabble till three in the morning, when normal people are in bed and fast asleep. Indeed, we’re two peas in a pod, double trouble, God-created clones.

Imagining life without Dayle is impossible to do, and, in reality, it’s a futile exercise anyhow. Even if I traveled to the far side of the moon, I could never be without her. As Dr. Landry discovered fifty-three years ago, our hearts beat as one. Forever and always, as long as I breathe, Dayle is here with me, breathing in sync.

~Gayle Allen Cox

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