Posted in prose

i. the devil

“In every set of twins, there is one angel, one devil.”

Her brother was, by all definitions, perfect.

Everything he did was magnificent, flawless: his spotless school record; his 4.0 GPA; his unfailingly polite manners; his unique ability to never piss off the parental unit – all of it and more just went to show how amazing he was, and how she could never hope to be comparable to him.

That didn’t stop her parents and teachers from comparing them, though; everything she did was wrong in their eyes, and even when she did something right, it was immediately weighed against how he had performed the same task. She, of course, was the one who, from their comparisons, came out lacking.

“Your brother could do this better.”

“Your brother got an A+ on this assignment, while you got only an A.”

“Your brother works so hard; why don’t you do the same?”

As she got older – and more rebellious – their remarks progressively got worse:

“Your brother passed his exams with flying colors; why did you fail?”

“Your brother never sneaks out of the house to go to late-night parties; he’s never given us reason to ground him.”

“You’re twins, aren’t you? Shouldn’t you be as intelligent and hard-working as he is?”

…and so on.

When her temper finally flared, unable to stand their words, all she got was shocked looks and more comparisons: “Your brother never talks back to us” and “your brother has never once lost his temper” being the leading ones.

Why did her brother never talk back to them? Because they never gave him a bloody reason to do so, that was why! Nobody ever complained about him, they never found any fault with him. It was always her wrongdoings they noticed. Even when he, surprisingly, came home three hours after curfew, her parents forgave him because “it’s nothing compared to what your sister does all the time. She’s a disgrace, really.”

Her brother was, by all definitions, perfect; everyone loved him.

What she hated the most about herself was that she adored him, too.

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Posted in prose

ii. the angel

“In every set of twins, there is one angel, one devil.”

She was an unstoppable force; nobody could control her, least of all him.

He envied her don’t-care attitude towards the world, her ability to say and do whatever she wanted, her freedom. If she didn’t like something their parents or teachers told her, she’d ignore it and do the exact opposite. How she stood up to them, he had no idea. He had always wanted to be able to do the same, to look his parents in the eye and somehow manage to say, “No.” He’d fantasized about it thousands of times, but never actually built up the nerve to carry it out. The most he had ever done was come home way after curfew, and that too was simply because he had lost track of the time whilst in the library. His parents had barely batted an eyelash; his sister hadn’t spoken to him for three full days after that incident. Thus, he could only blame himself for where he was now: pre-med, on his merry way to becoming a surgeon like his parents, when his real love was for the planets and stars.

She had escaped his fate, though. That, too, with only the simple “No” – along with a million expletives, but he sometimes wondered if she was unable to utter a single sentence without them. So there she was, studying Accounting and Finance – simply to spite their parents, not because she had any particular love for it, he was sure – and here he was, regretting every single life decision that had brought him here.

What he envied the most about her was, to be sure, her knack for making friends. A word here, a grin there, and voilà, she had a new friend to hang out with, and three new exclusive parties she was invited to. Suffice it to say, the only parties he knew of were the ones he read about. Boys and girls alike flocked around her, attracted to her like moths were to light. And that was exactly what she was – a brilliant, burning flame of life, nowhere near sputtering out, bringing light with her wherever she went. He would never burn as brightly as she did, not in a million years. Sure, his teachers adored him and his parents were constantly praising him, but he knew for a fact that when they looked at him, they saw only his achievements, nothing more. When people looked at his sister, they actually saw her, not her grades or her achievements. He desperately wished he could know what it was like to be loved like that, the type of unconditional love she had somehow managed to gain from nearly everyone around her, including himself.

She was an unstoppable force; nobody could control her.

He fervently hoped that nobody ever would.

Posted in prose

shadow

“Now you see me; now you don’t.”

He was there, and then he was gone.

He wasn’t ever actually present, not really; just a lone figure in the corner of someone’s eye, or a stray thought in the back of someone else’s mind. Even a ghost would have more presence than him – at least people reacted to seeing ghosts. How else would ghost stories circulate around the world?

There weren’t any stories of him, though. Nobody knew enough about him. Yes, if anyone actually noticed him, they may have managed to put a name to his face, but it would be gone just as quickly, their attention immediately attracted elsewhere. Nobody knew where he lived, or what he did for a living, or his hobbies, if he even had any. Nobody even cared to know; why would anyone want to learn about a shadow of a person, someone they barely even knew existed?

In a room full of lively people, he’d be the only one unnoticed; on a bustling street, he’d be the man on the bench everyone passed by but nobody gave a second glance to; in a bus, he’d be the person who sat neither at the very back nor the very front, but somewhere in between, with his shoulders hunched and eyes cast downward as if he was trying to make his already slight presence even slighter.

Nobody knew him, yet he knew everyone.

Don’t shadows always know?