The Same But Different
"That's MY pillow! Give it back!"
"No, it's not! Yours is the one with the big
stain where you threw up on it!"
"That was YOUR pillow! Now give it back!"
Sarah groaned as her the sounds of a pillow fight
drifted down the stairs. A nightly routine, and it wore on Sarah's nerves more
than anything else ever could.
Rummaging around in the fridge, she found a cold
soda and held it to her throbbing forehead, whimpering softly as the shrieks
and wails from upstairs increased. No matter how hard she tried, the twins would
not learn to like one another. Bribery, threats, guilt trips - they had no effect.
Plastering a smile on her face, she took a deep
breath and climbed the stairs. Sarah walked down the hall to the girls' room,
and the noise suddenly stopped. As their mother opened the door, Abby and Tara
plopped down on their pillows and smiled innocently at her.
"Is it bedtime?"
Sarah shook her head slowly. It never failed
to amaze her how they could be demons one minute, and angels the next.
But Abby and Tara misread the shaking of the
head. "It's not bedtime? YAY!"
And they proceeded to dance around the room.
Sarah tried vainly to catch their attention, but failing that, she yelled, "BED.
The girls darted to their beds and pulled the
covers up to their chins. Sarah followed at a more leisurely pace and straightened
out the covers on both levels of the bunk bed.
And then she sat down on the bean bag chair beside
the bed. And the twins knew it was time for a story. Abby vaulted down from
her top bunk and sat on the lower one with Tara. After much pushing and shoving
to locate a place where they wouldn't be touching, Sarah cleared her throat
"Once upon a time, in Neopia Central..."
"Mommy," Tara interrupted, "can't it be in Terror
"Yes, Mommy," Abby pleaded. "Terror Mountain."
Sarah grinned and continued. "Once upon a time
in Terror Mountain, there was a mother and two little girls."
"What did the little girls look like?" Tara demanded.
"They were two little baby Aishas. And there
was hardly any difference between them."
"And one day, the girls were old enough to go
out in public all by themselves. The mommy was very sad that they were old enough,
because she loved her precious little girls and wanted them to stay little forever.
"So the two little girls went to..."
"It was the Happy Shop, Mommy."
"The Super Happy Icy Fun Snow Shop," Sarah continued.
"And while they were there, a lady came up to them and said..."
"That they looked ezackly the same and wasn't
they precious," Abby mumbled.
"And do you know what that means?"
"That we're ezackly the same."
"And nobody wants to know who Abby is. Or Tara."
Sarah stopped, horrified. "Oh, that wasn't what
the lady meant. She meant that you looked a lot like one another. She didn't
mean that no one cares who Tara is, and who Abby is. She didn't mean that people
think of you as Abby and Tara, Tara and Abby. People do think of you separately."
"Mommy?" Tara ventured. "Are Abby and I d...
diff... diff'runt at all?"
"Yes, you are, precious. Mommy knows exactly
which is which."
"And do you love me better?"
"No, I love you both with all my heart."
"But to do that, Mommy," Abby explained, "you'd
have to have two hearts."
"And Mommy, you didn't finish esplaining about
think sep-rit-lee. An' you always say finish what you start. So finish esplaining."
"When I buy you presents, I don't buy the same
things, do I?"
"No, I don't. I buy Abby her plushies, and I
buy Tara her books. And you're both happy with what you get, right?"
Both heads nodded.
"There. And now, let's keep going with the story."
The little girls settled back on a pillow. "And
the little girls were upset because they wanted to be different. And so..."
"They bought their treats and went home."
Sarah was puzzled. "No, they did something else
first. Don't you remember?"
Abby whispered to Tara, and they both yelled,
"And they threw their snow puffs at the lady!"
Sarah smothered a smile as they leapt up and
started shrieking, "And she yelled, and she yelled, and she yelled!"
"Okay, settle down. The story's not finished
"Mommy? Can we finish the story?"
"Yes, we want to finish it."
"Now. There was the two girls, and they chased
after the lady and threw snow puffs at her."
"And then they went home," Sarah interrupted.
"No, Mommy. First the Chia Police came."
"Yes, Mommy. They came and rested the little
girls for... what's the big long name, Abby?"
Abby stood up and fished a piece of paper from
under her mattress. "Um... lessee... Mommy, I can't read this. What does it
Sarah took the piece of paper and stared at it.
"You already said that, Mommy. What do the big
"Uh... nothing important, honey. Now it's time
that you go to bed. It's very late, and we have things to do tomorrow."
Sarah tucked the girls in and shut off the lights
as she left the room. Safe in the hallway, the piece of paper was tucked into
a small chest of drawers and left there for a later day.
"I wonder how they escaped from their cell."
And she walked down the hall to her room, where
sleep was slow in coming. Later that same night, she crept back into the girls'
room and glanced up at the top bunk.
It was empty. In a display of frantic-ness, Sarah
dropped to her knees by Tara's bunk and breathed a sigh of relief. The twins
were there, snuggled together, fast asleep.
The next morning was a hectic one. The girls
seemed content to throw pancakes at the walls. Sarah cleaned the kitchen with
a pace not even the fastest Battledomer could beat.
And then they left the house.
Apparently the young demon-angels had stowed
pancakes in their pockets. They threw them at passersby and at random and sundry
They stopped at the "Happy Shop" and got a couple
of snow puffs for the twins. The purchase was fast, lest the shopkeeper be pelted
As they left the shop, a most unfortunate thing
A lady stopped in front of them and said in a
voice reserved for the very tiniest of babies, "Awww, wook at da cute wittle
babies. Day is so very cute, izzent day? And zey look just like each uzzer,
Abby and Tara had been glancing at each other
during this outburst of gibberish. Nodding at each other, they threw their snow
puffs and screamed, "WHACK THE LADY!"
The lady screamed and fled, with the twins hot
on her tail. Most accidentally, she slipped and fell and slid several yards
into the Snowager's den.
The girls ran back to Sarah and tugged her hands,
yanking her away from the curious crowd that had gathered.
"Mommy, I think we should visit Mystery Island."
"Yes, let's do it today."
"And can we stay for awhile - a really long time?"
"Yes, can we?"
"Just think of it, Mommy - warm water, warm sand,
re-relux-reluxin', no 'rests..." This from Tara, obviously.
Sarah was confused. "How in Neopia did you learn
that word? And what do arrests have to do with our family vacation?"
The twins looked at each other and started to
run, yelling over their shoulders, "Who said anything about summer vacation?"