I haven’t been able to talk about my brother because of my guilt and shame in not being able to help him. But I want to find ways to help others.
I don’t talk about Steve anymore. He’s become my secret. The one I’m too ashamed to share.
Steve and I were uncommonly close, that kind of close that only identical twins can understand. Born seven minutes apart, we shared everything. We lived together (except for college) until we were 27. Our mom tells me that when we were just over 2 years old, I talked Steve into climbing into my crib in the middle of the night. Mom found him in the middle of the floor, better at escaping his crib than getting into mine. Once, in a streak of high school independence, we asked for our own bedrooms. That lasted a month before we moved back in together, using the second room as a den.
Sibling rivalry reaches new heights when you’re a twin. You have someone who looks and sounds like you, living a similar life. Steve was objectively smarter than me. He outscored me in every standardized test, from IQ to Graduate Management Admission Test. We did our homework side by side, yet he outscored me on high school finals. His first job paid more, and even when I got my MBA first, his banking job paid twice what my health care job did. It was impossible not to compare. But the competition seemed normal and motivating.
I loved being a twin, even in the small moments. Like the numerous times we’d go on a trip and come out of our hotel rooms wearing the same outfit and argue over who had to change. Or, knowing that no matter what I did, he was always in my corner.
Our careers eventually took us to opposite coasts, but our lives remained intertwined. We spent every holiday, every birthday, together – no matter where we were.
Now, at best, I’m a silent listener to twin stories. At worst, I lie and pretend he didn’t exist.
I didn’t see it coming