I see her everywhere. I see her in windows, glass doors, water, mirrors; I see her in my reflection. Memories of our childhood haunt me every time I get a glimpse of my face, a face almost indistinguishable from hers. We used to share everything, Kara and I, but now that our connection has been severed, I feel lost, faceless. Kara was always a better version of me: extroverted whilst I was introverted, confident whilst I was shy, popular whilst I was unpopular, intelligent whilst I was average. Yet we were inseparable as children. Sometimes we could just look at each other and know exactly what the other was thinking - a telepathic connection wired by our matching genes.
When I was in primary school I accidently threw a ball through a classroom window, shattering the glass and nearly breaking a teacher’s nose. The classmates who had witnessed it ran to tell on me, whilst I ran crying to the bathroom. Kara found me there, and as I explained the situation, her face lit up. “Give me your jacket and skirt,” she ordered. I did as she said, accepting the clothes she shoved at me in exchange. When we had dressed, I followed her, bewildered, to the teacher. “It was me, miss. I’m really sorry,” she said, staring levelly, as always, in the face of authority. As she was ushered to the headteacher’s office, she turned around and flashed a ‘thank me later’ smile before turning the corner.
I used to feel both inexplicably lucky and cursed for being Kara’s twin. When we were alone, we treated each other as equals, sharing secrets and playing games that no one else understood. But at school it was different – she was with the popular group whilst I had only two close friends. She often ignored me at school, passing by me at lunch without even a wave. It wasn’t particularly important that I was her twin, but when people realised that she was mine, their eyes would widen in awe and confusion that someone as remarkable as her was related to someone as unremarkable as me.
One day, when I was fifteen, a new student joined our school, arriving in the middle of a maths class. “Do you mind if I sit here?” she asked, motioning to the chair next to mine.
“Sure,” I smiled, moving my bag and shifting over. She leaned over to look at my book, and having seen my name, paused and said “Oh, you’re Kara’s sister,” with a wistful look in her eye. Rage raced through my veins and it took all my strength to supress the urge to scream and cry at the same time. The girl cocked her head in confusion. “Aren’t you?” Before I knew what I was doing, I had slapped her hard across the face and was running out of the classroom. I climbed over the school gates and ran all the way home, sobbing. I can still remember the icy pain in my lungs from running in the early winter air, and the strange feeling of freedom from crying publicly, unashamed.
I will always be ‘Kara’s twin’. Over the years I’ve started to resent her for this, blaming her for my lack of identity. That’s why I started to separate myself from her, blocking her out of my life. I dyed my hair, began acting differently – I even contemplated getting a tattoo. But still I see her in myself; her ghostly image follows me like a shadow. I used to cover all the mirrors at home, trying to free myself from her, but it didn’t work. That’s why I sought help, why I’m here now. She’s all I’ve ever known – I have always existed in the context of Kara, so who am I without her?