Each morning, on the R-Train from Bay Ridge Avenue to Atlantic Barclays, I used to see a pair of twin girls. They sat there calmly and close to each other. Completely identical. The same light brown, warm-toned hair that was tied back in a ponytail. The same expression of adolescent curiosity on their faces which was framed by a soft jaw line that began by their ears and pleasantly converged to a neat tip on their chin. The curvy, baroque ornaments formed by their lips and twirled up into nostrils and to me seemed the most sublime I had ever seen--like anime characters. They wore the same purple corduroy trousers and the same white cotton blouse that emphasized a skinny physique made endearingly disproportionate by growth spurts of their extremities. They wore the same backpack. It was colorful and had an innumerable amount of zippers and compartments. Each of the twins looked around the car. Each filling their half of this whole that is two.
Seeing the twin girls began to become a welcome occurrence. At my office, I worked alone. There was no one whose thoughts I was able to guess and no one who’d guess mine. While toiling away in my cubicle, I would sometimes wonder how it would be to have a twin--someone who gets you, not because they can relate to what you are thinking, but because with them you form a whole. True understanding--not imitation.
One morning, the twins didn’t show up. The next morning, the same thing. And the morning after that. Must have been a bad flu, I thought. But even the week after, they still were not to be seen. Morning after morning I would check a different set of cars. In the front, in the back, in the middle. What had happened? Had they moved? Another week went by. On the train ride, I tried to recall my memories of them. Had there been a sign they would disappear? And another week. Work became more stressful and accelerated time so that my mind was caught by other things; annoying, burdensome things from the time before I had first seen the twin girls.
Then, one day, maybe a year after they stopped appearing on the train, I got on the R-Train and jumped a little. There was a girl sitting in one of three seats by the door who looked like the twins--but then again, not. I sat down a little away from her so as to not raise suspicion and tried to steal glances to make sure. It must be one of the twins. Or not? This girl had long, unkempt hair, was chubbier than they had been and seemed not quite alright. She appeared very sad and dejected and carried more the features of a grown, sorrowful woman. Heavier and darker than the light demeanor of the twin girls. But there was something in her movements that reminded me of them: the way she withstood the jolt of the stopping and starting train, how she looked out of the window at the people on the platform. At one point, she lifted her head to make sure she hadn’t missed her stop. She looked around and noticed me looking at her. I was paralyzed. It was her. It was the twin!
The shock was so great, my eyes began to water. As I tried to calm my breathing and maintain my composure, I restrained my tumbling thoughts to stay shallow. I didn’t dare to let them fall to the question: Where is the other?
I got off at the next stop, Prospect Avenue, and after the train had left the station, I hid behind a steel beam and cried a little. Eventually, I calmed down. I switched to the Brooklyn-bound platform and made my way home again. When I got home, I called my office and quit.