Twins – Gem Club
He’d always known that something was missing from his life, and when he was thirteen he found out why. It was Christmas, and all the adults were drunk, particularly his mum. Frank from down the road was moaning about all the things his children had done, and said how lucky Sal was to only have the one, and she said “It should have been two, did you not know about the twin?” and then her eyes moved around the room and she saw Damon there. Her hand went up to her mouth like she was going to be sick, and her eyes went very wide.
He ran out of the room, and ran out of the house, and hid in the garden but it was only a small surburban semi so his Auntie Pat found him in under thirty seconds, and she squatted down next to him beside the greenhouse and she held him while he sobbed, and she breathed rum and coke all over him.
The next day, his mum and dad sat down and had the talk with him, and they told him how it had been. The twin had died while they were being born. He asked if they had named it, and they said yes. Donna. He sat in his room that night, talking to his sister, but she didn’t talk back. Not then, not ever.
Damon talked to her though, all the time. She was his advisor, his sounding board, his confidante, all through his teenage years. When he did bad things he shouldn’t, he felt her disapproval, when he did good things that he shouldn’t he felt her wild excitement, when he was down he felt her consolation and patience. People said how impressive he was, how self-reliant, but that was because he didn’t ever really feel that he needed other people. He had her.
He made friends, but didn’t get as close to them as they wanted him to be. He got married, but it only lasted a few years because her habits annoyed him, and she didn’t really understand him, not like his sister did. Donna gave him good advice, and he found himself in a career that gave him the security that comes with money, the security to do what you like without caring. So he started doing things like booking a table for two in a restaurant, even though it was just him there, and it amused him and although other people asked, he never explained himself to them.
He’d been out for a meal one night, just him at a table set for two, and when he walked out into the darkness and the drizzle his mind was on something else, and although he had meant to hail a cab he walked in front of one instead.
When he resurfaced in the hospital the staff were concerned for him because he was now full of plates and bolts and wouldn’t ever walk the same again. But he didn’t show any shock, didn’t show any disappointment at the way his life had gone. He was very polite, and very kind to the staff, and they all talked about how amazing it was that he died twice in the street and once on the operating table, and yet now he smiled all the time. I’m pleased for him, a nurse said. He’s a lovely man, but hardly gets any visitors, but he was telling me how happy he had been to see his sister.