SSM: “Twins” by Lily Hoang

15 May

This month, Justin Sirois is guest editor over at Everyday Genius. All the pieces published this month are responses to an animated gif, like this one to which Lily Hoang responded to with her story “Twins.”

She’d always wanted girls, two of them twins twinning and twisting, she always imagined they’d be the same, look the same, speak in their special twin language. Instead, she got boys, two of them, not twins in the least, different as planets from separate galaxies: more like one was a burnt out moon full of dust and death, the other like a pale planet one its way out. Determined, she calls them Shelley and Sheldon. Determined, she puts them in the same clothes. They are a riot of a bunch, if two could ever be called a bunch. And she bunches their hair into horse’s tails: she calls them unicorns, their little penises had to have some use.

Read the full story at Everyday Genius.

There’s something terrifying to me about this story. This story reads like an underlying fairytale, but I can’t help but remember my dad telling me once how my mom had it all planned out. She wanted a boy and a girl. I was supposed to be the girl. She even had a name for me: Angie Dawn.

But when I came out of that womb, my tiny newborn penis the heir apparent and the doctor, “Congratulations, Mrs. Newgent. It’s a boy,” I wonder if there was a disappointment there. I wonder if my mother’s first thought about me beyond the elation of her labor coming to an end was disappointment.

Shortly after my mother died, I was checking out at a local grocery store. My girlfriend at the time and I were there buying groceries, and I think I said something jokingly that ended up sounding kind of prickish, and I immediately apologized, felt awful. The lady at the cash register just laughed, smiled at me, said, “Oh, I know it was a joke. You seem like a nice young man. Your mother would be proud.”

It stopped me dead in my tracks. I just stared at her, unmoving. I almost cried right there in the checkout line. It was months after my mom’s death. I could laugh easily when a friend accidentally tossed a “Your mom,” joke my way. And this lady, out of nowhere, “Your mother would be proud.” I gathered my groceries. It was all I could do to walk away, and God, I hope she’s right.

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