I have an identical twin sister but we are sworn enemies.
My twin sister and I were not like this before. Growing up, very few people could tell us apart. We are both gap toothed, we are both dark in complexion, we both have moles at the same spot; just right behind our left ears. In fact, many times, my mother, who always claimed she was the only one who could tell us apart, would always mix us up because of course, we dressed alike and styled our hair alike.
We are Juliet and Juliana. I am Juliet or the Taiwo in Yoruba and she is Juliana or Kehinde; we were called Letty and Ana for short.
To give you a glimpse into our growing up years; we were always up to one mischief or another and when we were in secondary school and even at the university, we have sat for each other’s exams before. Nobody knew who was who in each of our classes.
Ana was in social science class; I was in art class, so though in many ways we were alike, physically, we were so different in other ways.
So, how did this enmity start?
First off, I have always been seen as the quieter twin. I love music, movies, dance and stuff; Ana loved music only when it had to do with a party, she loved dance, only when she had to do it at a nightclub or in a loud place where everyone would see her; she hated movies, loved fashion and is easily impressed with things.
As for me; I am not particular about fashion. I couldn’t care less if the daughter of the president of the United States of America is in my class and I am not easily swayed by boys who claim to love the very ground I walk. That’s just me!
So, in that respect we were different beings; and as we grew older, we began to wear clothes that reflected our personalities; hitherto, we were forced to wear the same clothes and style our hair alike but by the time we both got to the university, we were simply identical twins with different personalities and friends.
Ana liked the good life; I was the one who liked books and art and naturally most of my friends were book people, artists, and movie lovers; we were not loud people.
Ana was the one who aborted three pregnancies at the university that I had to go and sit for two exams for her; yes, she was always jumping into bed with everything in trousers. I warned her after the second one and refused to sit for another test for her when she landed sick after yet another abortion.
The abortions were like once in a year, I think, she got pregnant in our second year, third year and during her Masters. You would think she would learn from her past mistakes; like insist the guy or guys use condoms or she takes pills, no, my sister believed every lie the boys told her to get her in bed and would come crying to me to help her when she fell pregnant.
I escorted her to the small clinics who helped remove the pregnancies and after the third one, I told her I was done!
Am I judging her? No way, she is my twin sister!
Anyway, of course our parents did not know; I would never have told them.
But those days were the beginning of our enmity; on one of those occasions when we quarrelled over the loose lifestyle she was living, she actually accused me of being jealous of her!
She had a boyfriend or boyfriends, I should say. I had none; she had friends like mad. I had few. She had clothes, more than I ever could, of course from her numerous boyfriends. Many times, I would go to her to borrow if I had to go somewhere important. But she was my twin sister! Who else would I go to?
Ana accused me of being bitter about my ‘miserable life.’ It’s funny because if anyone has a miserable life she is the one, not me.
After school, because we pursued different areas of life, we began to drift apart. Yes, even as twin sisters. I came to settle in Lagos, my sister went to Abuja; she studied architecture, I studied linguistics.
We both thrived. That’s the way I see it. She met and married a rich guy with a northern background; I was there for her as the chief bridesmaid. And she set up an NGO. No, she didn’t practice as an architect. I strongly suspect she wanted to but her husband was against it. She didn’t say so in many words but I know my sister. And this should also let you know that we had stopped confiding in each other at that time.
Ok, as for me, I gave my life to Christ and so far haven’t been lucky with men. No, I am not a virgin, ha, at my age? No but my boyfriends were few over the years; three relationships and none yielded to marriage, so that is it for me, I dedicated my life to Christ.
I was minding my business when my sister, who had ostracised me for years, called crying; she needed help, she wanted me to come to Abuja; it had to do with her husband.
I took the first flight next day and landed at her porch.
Turns out she couldn’t have children, her womb had been messed up most probably by the last abortion. Her husband after six years of marriage wanted to take another wife and she wanted me to come save her and sleep with her man and bear a child for her!
I said over my dead body!
Ana is selfish! Why would I want to sleep with her husband whom I first of all found totally repulsive? The only thing he has is his money and such did not even attract me; secondly, let’s even assume I agreed, what happens to my life in Lagos?
My job, because I know Ana will never be able to be me, the way I can emulate and deceive people into thinking she is me. I bet she would just walk off the job and tell me she couldn’t cope and probably begin to sleep with men all over Lagos while I got pounded over and over by the ugly thing she called a husband.
Thirdly, I have given my life to Christ, I can’t live with such deceit! I warned her when she was hopping from bed to bed at school, why should I be the one to pay for it now?
I told my sister I wouldn’t do it. This happened more than 14 years ago and that was the last time we communicated with one another.
At 54 years, I am still not married neither do I have children. Ana doesn’t either. Meanwhile, her husband has married three other wives who have given him kids.
She blames me for the way things turned out and mocks when family go to mediate between us, telling them that I will never have children too. At my age, I have come to accept that fact but I am a happier person than she will ever be!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)