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Saturday, February 13, 2016


By Zoya Saltonstall 

Long confused glances from strangers, psychic moments and strong coincidences are a daily part of my life as a twin. Some of my Mountain Views column readers may not know I have an identical  twin sister, Ella, here on the island.  Ella and I  are of similar height, weight and totally identical voice. Telling us apart is no easy feat.
This week is National Twin week (thank you, Facebook!) and I thought that  a perfect time to share a couple  twin anecdotes.

Last Friday  I went into Cost savers to get some dog food and bulk sized processed food. An hour later, I realized I forgot weekend beverages  and went back inside. As I walked by the registers, the cashier with the pink highlights  in her hair looked at me suspiciously. "Your sister was just here." she said. 

 "Actually,  that was me. I was here an hour ago.  I forgot something so I came back." I reply with a slight I-know-where-I-was tone in my voice.

"Okkkkkk" she says. "Unless you did a super fast outfit change it was your sister" she replied-very confidently. She was in the midst of a transaction, and her eyebrows were raised in a very unconvinced angle.  The people in line looked over at me and smiled in curiosity. 

I head back to the beverage section and see a friend, Tom checking out. 
"Hey Zoya! Ella was just in here two seconds ago!" Tom says. 

"You really mean, like, 2 second ago?" I ask?

"Yeah! She just left!" he replies. 

 I was totally wrong. Ella had been there.  

"You were right. It was Ella!" I scream across the store to the cashier with the pink  highlights. Even I am confused on this one. The cashier smiles with a  look of satisfaction that comes with solving a puzzle. 

Twins 0, Cashier 1. 

It can be easy to assume that identical twins would always get along, but  I was recently reminded recently to not take  that for granted. A woman my age in my on-line writing class revealed she is an identical twin and doesn't talk to her sister at all. I read this with some sadness, as I enjoy being a twin and I had a hard time picturing otherwise. She spoke of a whole lifetime of great distance between she and her twin and I wondered what that would feel like. A gap? A chasm?

 I empathized with my classmate, as Ella and I have had our  ups and downs (for only brief months) over the years. I know how it pained our family during the brief periods when we weren't getting along. With twins there is a social expectation to be close. "You must be so close" people ask me. "Yes, we are…we're best friends" I reply. So often we finish each others sentences. We get each other. 

Other moments of twin-hood are rich with coincidence- those "twin psychic" type of moments which people love to ask and hear about. Such was a year ago when I picked Ella up at the airport. She came off the plane and we laugh as  we were both dressed in black pants, grey tops, identical black jacket and black boots. People in the airport must've thought we planned that one. Ella and I just stood there laughing at each other. 

In celebration of National Twin week, Ella and I decided we'll enjoy some home made chocolate chip cookies.  Also, Ella just recently dyed her hair red, which might make telling us apart easier. And we'll also avoid Cost Savers at the same time to keep our super-twin-detector-cashier from having to question who is who!  

Kodiak resident Zoya Saltonstall is a mother of two and a physical therapist. She loves being outside and watching the ocean.

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