Lorna

(Lorna. Look at me, Lorna…)2

I pretend not to notice, not to understand, but I can feel Lana's hazel eyes on me, blank; they are identical to mine, as is everything else about her features, but hers lack the anxious gleam I sometimes catch sight of on the rare occasions I look at myself in the mirror. My heart always quickens to see it, and I look away, hoping fervently that Lana did not notice the one aspect that would mark us as different, physically. But she always does… should she look now, it would be no exception.3

I lower my head further, trying to conceal my eyes, as I try to write the answer to the geometry problem before me. But the equation seems nothing but senseless chicken scratch before me now, and the answer I had just been so sure of had slipped from my mind…4

(Lorna… look at me.)5

She does not speak out loud- but she does not need to. I know even without looking at her what she wants of me…6

I am sitting on the floor of our bedroom, and Lana is on our double bed, facing me cross-legged. If I should turn to look at her, I knew her face would be bland, impassive- but I dare not look. Whatever lack of emotion there was, I knew it was a lie. If I obeyed her, turned to look at her, I would see her anger, her wanting, even if she showed me none of this. She did not have to show me- I would know, as I always had. And then, I would not be able to stop myself from obeying her.7

But for how much longer could I keep up this feeble resistance? Could I bear to deny her for much longer, when I knew- I knew…8

I could not think it, dared not, for even in not truly seeing me, Lana would understand my meaning. She nearly always knew even what I concealed from her, or tried to. There were no secrets between us- nor should there be, as she often reminded me. We were different, special, from other sisters. We were twins, and we needed no one save each other.9

I could not forget this, even had I wanted to- which, to my fear and shame, I sometimes did. For even though I loved Lana as no one else, and needed and feared her both, her disapproval, her anger and love for me, I found myself thinking sometimes how life would be if she were not my twin- if we had been born only sisters, or girls of the same age. It was a frightening thought- but somehow, I knew dimly that had that happened, our lives- my life- would have been much easier…10

But that had not occurred, and now could never be. Lana was my reflection, in more ways than our appearance… she brought forth in me what I had vainly attempted to conceal from the world, where only she could see it and share it. It seemed in those moments that what she reflected from me was her as well, that there was no difference between us- we were one person in split form.11

But this was not true, and I was never more aware of this than at times like this. Lana was not me… and I couldn't do to her what she could to me. I could not reflect her deepest parts, let alone set claim to them as my own. 12

(Lorna).13

Though I still lower my eyes, and Lana still remains silent, motionless, on the bed, I can tell she is growing impatient, angry. I feel myself weakening further, resistance faltering… I know I will not hold out much longer. I am afraid to- and even as my pulse sputters, I know I also am not sure I even want to. Lana is my twin, and I cannot deny her for long.14

Lana hates when I do this, isolate myself from her in some small way. It is not doing homework that sits ill with her, for she does what is needed to pass- what is needed to remain in the same grade I am, the same special class that provides no challenges for either of us, but keeps us safe- keeps us together. It is the fact that I am doing it alone, doing it without her, that she resents. Normally I would acquiesce to her with no protest- but today something in me refuses, something makes me futilely persist in ignoring her.15

My stomach begins to twist itself violently, and my hands are shaking, barely able to hold my pencil, let alone write. Even with my back turned away from Lana, she is all I can think of, as is her intent.16

(Lorna!)17

And then she said it aloud, her voice soft, reproachful, and yet somehow forceful, insistent. "Lorna."18

I cannot continue, I can no longer keep myself from her… heart hammering, swallowing hard with a harshness that momentarily stuck in my throat, I turned to her, my lips pressed together as I struggled to keep my thoughts from her view. It need not have mattered, for I knew very well how very little I could keep Lana from seeing.19

Her face, as I had known, was still, but I knew she was satisfied- she had, with a bit more effort than usual, extracted the obedience from me she needed. 20

(Put that stuff down, Lorna. Come here beside me.)21

Wordlessly I set down my things- the paper and textbook, the pencil- and stood, my movements fumbling, unsure. My eyes darted to her, but she was not angry with me, as I had feared- only amused. Amused, and triumphant…22

When I sat by Lana on our bed, a careful distance apart, she smiled, her mouth turning up only slightly. As I looked at her quickly, my hands twisting in my lap, she covered them with her own hand, stopping their movement. Looping her other arm around my chest and shoulders, she pulled me back gently, leaning me against her. Still holding me to her with one arm, she touched my hair with her right hand. There would be no consequences for my disobedience today- Lana forgave me.23

I lay against her unresisting, letting her touch me gently. My heartbeat had slowed a bit, but I was glad Lana was not looking at me, for fear she might read the confliction in my eyes… it felt nice, to have my sister- my twin- touching me, to know she wasn't angry, but there was as strange sadness in my chest… almost a bitterness I could not shove away