These two don’t need a blog as much as a book. My mum and my aunt. Ela and Ala. Distinguished by a single embroidered letter on their jumpers as children. Worked at the same company (British Airways), live next door to each other, drive the same car. Ok, you could say creepy (twin-hater). or you could say cute, but for me observing these two for my current lifespan, I wouldn’t bother adding any judgment. The twins just are. It’s the same force as a wind or a wave. You just can’t stop it.
Chloe is the kid now in our family who spends the most amount of time with them. She calls their relationship twin-tuition. I like it. That’s because they are so ingrained in each other, so empathetic of each other’s movements, so annoyed by each other’s decisions, it’s almost impossible to imagine one without the other. Their twin-tuition forms into a solid, moving mass. An iceberg of sorts.
I’ve just come back to Wales, having spent a week with them. I stay at my mum‘s house and Ela lives next door. Their back gardens are separate but they’ve made a gap in the fence and go back and forwards to each other’s houses all day long. Add the mix of my grandmother – their mother – and you have significant extra movement.
We all went to Kew Gardens on Sunday for Chloe‘s birthday. This allowed a typical narrative between the two of them: who was going to drive? I didn’t mind driving, I said, but Jack’s car was nicely parked up and I didn’t want to lose the parking space before picking him and Lu up at the airport. Look, I’m a good person in other ways!
Mum and Ela’s cars, separated by a single digit on their licence plates, are usually parked on their driveways, except when someone wants to rent their driveway. Yes, that actually happens now since nearby Sky’s headquarters have become so huge. Luckily for the twins, once or twice a week they have driveway-renting clientele due to Sky’s current parking limitations. Handy for an extra tenner to spend next door in Tesco’s.
On the day of our Kew Gardens visit, both twins shrugged their shoulders at each other. Oh yeah – twin-tuition.
‘I pay for stuff for you,’ one says.
‘You don’t think I pay either?’ the other replies.
‘Well, give me an example.’
‘I paid for your rug.’
’I paid for the painting.’
’Do you think I sit here and count up all the money?’
’I pay for plenty, it’s not my failt you don’t notice.’
Sometimes it’s like watching a proverbial tennis match. If you thought married couples bicker, you should come to a pair of twins who live next door to each other. But here’s the difference. My twins will always sort it out. I mean, if there are any prolonged disagreements, one might retreat to their house and you don’t see them for the rest of the day.
I do know that when one of them had a dicey flight over Florida, the other woke up in the middle of the night, knowing that something was wrong. I know that if they don’t speak to each other at least three times a day then things just don’t sit right. I also know how each twin used to leave their suburban London house for work at 4:30am on a summer’s morning. As one door went, the next door opened. They got into their identical cars and drove to Heathrow Airport. I saw it with my own eyes. Twin-tuition yes. Another word for magic.