The one saving thing for me growing up was having my twin by my side most of the time. Then we hit middle school, with different classes and very few of them together. For the first time in my life I had to navigate the halls of school on my own.
And this is where we first ran into a big problem.
I would walk down the hallway blithely ignoring greetings from strangers, guys, because I was far too shy to talk to them only to have Bonnie later come up and bop me on the head because I’d ignored a friend of hers.
I don’t remember such incidences in eight grade then in ninth grade we moved to a small school. The minute we walked in the entire student body knew there were two of us so we had no problems with mix ups until we moved again.
This last school was the largest yet. Here I handled it the same way I had in seventh grade, much to Bonnie’s dismay. I simply ignored greetings from any guys I didn’t know. So when her friends asked why sometimes she ignored them she had to respond. “Those times it wasn’t me.”
Of course by then she’d already given me the ‘if a guy you don’t know says hi to you he’s probably my friend so say hi,’ lecture several times. I never did.
Then there was the previously mentioned incident in P.E. class where my friend asked how to tell us apart.
After thinking about it a moment, I said, “Well, if you know her and see one of us in the hallway and say hi and get no response you have me. And if you know me and see one of us in the hallway,” I paused. “Well, you still don’t know which one you have.”
“That doesn’t help me. I know you.”
Bonnie always figured if she didn’t recognize someone saying hi to her than they must think she was me so she was friendly back. Me? There was no way I was talking to a stranger, especially a strange guy, so Bonnie’s friends got ignored. A lot.
But that is the yin and yang of being twins. One tends to be the quiet shy one and one tends to be the outspoken one. For us, I’ll gladly accept that I’m the quiet one.
I’m the one who quietly accepted walking past a guy friend of mine every day between second and third period passing at the drinking fountain so close I could touch him without ever saying a word.
I could end the story there but actually one day, at an after school drama activity, he mentioned to me that he hadn’t seen me in a couple of weeks and asked where I’d been. I told him where and when I saw him every day, saying, “Look down once in a while.” The next school day he was looking down as he came around that corner. He didn’t miss me anymore.
You would think I’d learn to speak up after that, but I’m still the quiet one. And though I’m not as shy now, I’m still the quiet one. I think it’s a twin thing.