our mother always told us we had the most peculiar cry. she referred to us as, “you.” she did not know there were two of us, thus, we cried in perfect harmony.
“we’re hungry!” we’d half sing, half yell, our belly already full of snacks.
“you’re hungry, sweetie,” she’d warmly correct as she handed us a banana.
“we both are,” i’d reply flatly. she’d hover for a second as though considering something before sighing quietly and eventually walking away.
she wanted us to be one. we wanted mother to be happy.
after some time, we eventually stopped referring to our multiplicity and began using the word, “I,” but that did not change the nature of our duality. we said it as simply and robotically as, “please” and “thank you.”
it meant nothing at all.
one bad night, mother was busy cooking, or so we thought. we were arguing out loud. it was escalating quickly, neither of us willing to budge on our position, but having to share one body. how would this be decided? who would take control?
so we did what any pissed off kids would do. we wrestled.
when mom walked in our bedroom, our body was rolling around the now bloodied plush rug digging the flesh out of both arms with our fingernails. i think we were screaming…in harmony, as usual.
mom screamed then, completely off-key, as she rushed over, pinning us down, holding each arm down with her own stronger, limbs.
“WHY ARE YOU DESTROYING YOURSELF, ADAM?! WHY?!”
“he wouldn’t let me! she wouldn’t let me! he wouldn’t! she wouldn’t! he- she -he – she – he – she…”
as we attempted to yell over one another with one mouth, our speech became complete gibberish and mom started sobbing violently as she released her grip. she fell over on the floor next to us, covering her face with her hands.
we hated seeing mother cry and we both softened a bit inside.
“i’m sorry mom,” we said.
“i just got caught up in pretend. that’s all, mama… i swear,” we lied.
mother looked up into our eyes then. through her own tears, she sternly reprimanded us through her tone alone.
“it isn’t real, adam.”
“i’m sorry, ma…,” we said as we touched her shoulder lightly.
mother wiped her nose with the back of her forefinger.
“i know, sweetie,” and she began to pick herself up.
“just wash your hands, dinner’s almost ready and your father will be home soon, okay?”
“yes, mother,” we replied.