It’s almost routine at this point. It has been for years. Myself and my twin brother, Dennis, playing on different teams whenever we play sports.
Now it’s ultimate frisbee, though it used to be basketball. Which is strange, in some ways: on community teams, we played together, but rarely at the same time. If I came on, Dennis came out, and vice versa.
Walking towards the bench, coming onto the court, was like looking into a mirror. Always together, similar, joined in so many ways, but always apart, high fiving him, and then staring after him/myself as he walked off the court.
So much of him and me, and me in him, more than either of us would care to admit. The same anxieties and insecurities, the same ethic, the same natures, the same will to do good. Even as more diverse experiences made us different in some ways, we are, and always will be, twins.
Frisbee had become part of that, as we made teams, we always made sure we were on different teams. The origins of this are simple. When we were younger, we were advocates of fair play and balance in sports, and in making teams, separating us would ensure that balance, in some ways. It probably doesn’t still apply, but the routine, drilled into us by choice or by coaching, applies.
Always together, but always apart.
I threw a wrench into that last week for our second game, and put us together. He was startled, and so were a few who’d always seen us hold to that routine, to us separating, to the mirror looking back on itself rather than slanted onto the same side.
It was poetry, of a sort. Him knowing where I would go, me motioning him to a spot, working together as effortlessly as we did with anything. That’s the magic of being a twin: you think so similarly. It didn’t matter that we play about one game together a year at frisbee, we fell into it so naturally.
I remember one sequence, close to scoring. I called a catch for him, brazenly, with a smirk. “Just stay there,” I said, loud enough for everyone else on the field to here. “You’ll get it.” I tossed it high, and he got it, in a sea of defenders, through whatever forces conspired to let that happen. We lost the game in the end, but it didn’t much matter (as if it ever does).
I don’t know what made me change the routine, whether it was a momentary inspiration, or my occasional desire to poke and prod at normalcy. Perhaps it was my own awareness of our getting older, the certainty that we will eventually chart our own paths, separately, the twins set loose on the world.
For the moment, I’m quite happy to have him on my team.