Apples and Oranges

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

“Ally is quieter than Annie, wouldn’t you say? Annie’s got a touch more confidence. She’s a smidge taller, too. Other than that, they’re exactly the same.”

Ally and Annie’s mother glowered at her friend. “They’re completely different. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. They’re each totally unique.”

Her friend laughed. “They’re identical twins.”

“And they have some similarities, of course. But they’re each unique in their own ways. I don’t want my daughters’ identities to be dismissed as one and the same.”

“Fair enough. Sorry I spoke.”

Ally and Annie pulled their ears away from the wall of the next room.

“That bitch,” Annie said.

Ally nodded. “Yeah. Absolute bitch.”

“We’re identical twins. Of course we’re identical in every way. How could she say we’re not?”

Ally’s eyebrows twitched. “Yeah. How could she?”

“And I’m not taller than you. We’re exactly the same height. You just have a habit of slouching. Stand up straight, raise your shoulders.”

Ally obeyed.

“I’m sick of that old cow always insisting we’re different. Being twins is our thing. It’s our novelty factor. It’s our… our…”

“Hook.”

“Right, exactly. But we’ll put a stop to it. Won’t we?”

Ally mimicked her sister’s vicious smile and crossed her fingers behind her back .“We’ll put a stop to it.”

It was quiet around the dinner table. The twins’ mother tried to squeeze a drop of conversation from her girls.

“Good day at school?”

“It’s college, Mum,” the girls said in unison.

“Good day at college, then?”

“It was okay.”

“What lessons did you have today?”

“English and History.”

“What are you studying in History?”

The girls let out a synchronised sigh.

“We told you this last week,” started Annie.

“And the week before,” continued Ally.

“And both times you didn’t listen,” finished the pair of them together.

“Sorry.” Their mother let the silence hang.

The twins glanced at one another across the table. “Nice mash today,” they said.

“Is it? Not tried it yet. Not much of an appetite.”

“You have to try it, Mum,” said Annie. She threw Ally a look.

“Yeah,” Ally said. “You have to try it.”

“I just don’t fancy it. You two can share mine, if you like.”

“No!” snapped the girls.

“Eat it,” said Annie. She forced a smile. “Just try a couple of bites at least. You’ve really exceeded yourself. Did you add extra butter? Some cream? Really delicious. Right, Ally?”

Ally kept shtum.

Their mother’s eyes flicked between them. “Are you mocking me? Is the mash bad? I thought the potatoes might be a little old. If it’s bad you can just tell me outright. I don’t mind.”

Annie shrugged.

“Let me try it.”

“Mum no!”

Annie’s head snapped towards her sister. “Let her try.”

“No.” Ally dropped her knife and fork on her plate, spattering gravy across the white tablecloth. “Don’t eat it, Mum. She’s crazy. We spiked them. She made us. I’m… you… she wants us to be identical.”

“We are identical, dipshit.”

“In looks, maybe, but not in mind. Mum. I’m sorry. I tried to avoid it. I tried to stop her, but I was scared she’d turn on me.”

Their mother’s mouth hung open. “Seriously? Annie?”

Annie shrugged. “We’re exactly the same. It’s our thing. You kept telling people we were different. We didn’t like it.”

“You didn’t like it.”

“We both didn’t like it.”

“You don’t speak for me.”

“Enough! Go to your room.”

“Who?”

“Both of you.”

The twins pushed back their chairs and stood at the same time, glaring at their mother. They took three identical steps towards the doorway, flicking their hair over the right shoulders along the way. But at the threshold Ally turned back, alone.

“You’re right, Mum. Comparing us is like apples and oranges. I’m me and she’s… Honestly? She should be locked up.”

Her mother nodded. “I know. Give it a week; we’ll spike her mash.”