And for much of our lives, that was true. Sure, we fought, as hard as any siblings. But all twins I've know, including my sister and me, feel the bond is unique during the close times: the communication more effortless, the understanding more immediate and clear than it is with other siblings, other friends, even lovers. In our best times, we can finish each other's sentences, know what the other is going to say before they say it, talk with an ease and a lack of self-consciousness that's rarely duplicated in other relationships. And yes, we've had our share of pseudo-telepathic episodes, picking up the telephone before it rings and finding the other on the line; dreaming that the other is in pain when, in fact, she is.
Spouses of twins tell me that kind of closeness puts extra, sometimes difficult demands on their marriages: twins expect a kind of intimacy in relationships that may not be familiar, or so much of a given, for the non-twin. That's certainly the case for both of us in past relationship with men: the demand for intensity and the wish for a kind of extra-strength closeness, one that borders on fusion, are almost abnormally strong. And problematic: we both ended up disappointed a lot.
But then again, we had a mitigating factor on our side: when relationships crumbled, we always had each other to fall back on.
I don't blame her wedding, but some of that's changed; distance has crept in. My friend is right in ways: perhaps in testimony to the success of our efforts to separate, we have grown increasingly different, farther apart. On an objective level — as we've become more deeply entrenched in our own lives and work and separate relationships — we have less in common; on murkier levels, we look at each other these days and see unfamiliar things: fresh out of medical school, her language is peppered with jargon I don't understand; her lifestyle — largely oriented on catching up on lost sleep — seems foreign to me. That's not unusual, but it adds undercurrents of strain to our conversations, and defensiveness and disdain: to completely accept the differences, I think, would be to acknowledge the loss of that person we both carried around inside for so long, our other half.
And I suppose her marriage will advance the process, which is where the sadness comes in. She and her husband plan to stay in Boston for a year, then spend a year travelling, the move, maybe to North Carolina or the Midwest. Her focus will be on this new life: her marriage, her career, probably kids not long from now. In that light, the wedding seemed less like a formal rite for them than a formal transition for us: though we've been moving in different directions for some time, this was the first conscious step away from a more closely shared path.