[Fiction] A closeted gay man’s self-perception shifts through the experiences of his almost-twin brother:
“He was dark; I was fair.
“He was slender and shy; I was stocky and talkative.
“As children our mother dressed us as twins. Matching woolen pea coats and Buster Brown lace-ups, khaki shorts and striped T-shirts, pajamas imprinted with pictures of cowboys and Indians, Davy Crockett coonskin caps. For Easter, matching sailor suits with starched white middy blouses.
“Even so, the neighbors often strained to see the resemblance between us. ‘You’re brothers?’ they asked. ‘You’re really brothers? Which one of you is older?’
“People imagined I was, because I was larger. But in fact he was older, by fifteen months. The bassinet into which I was placed was still warm from his having so recently lain there.
“Was it paradise, living like that, with someone made of the same flesh and blood as I? When Davis and I were little, we lay awake at night in our bunk beds, devising a language only the two of us could understand. ‘Peanut butter’ meant ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘Bongo bongo’ meant ‘Go to sleep.’ ‘Applesauce’ meant ‘Laugh!’”