Wednesday, 29 August 2012

For my long-vanished twin: song of a wombtwin survivor


Vanished twin, I still miss you.

I love you.

You are always with me and always have been.

You always will be, treasured twin of my heart.

Wombtwin survivor, born an only child.



I dreamed you and felt you deep in my gut in unspoken places. I asked about you. I traced you with my feelings and fears, my missing piece. 

Together we were “fearfully and wonderfully made” in mum's womb. Conceived together in love. Awaited with expectation, trepidation, excitement.

“I have to tell you, you might be expecting twins!”

That first appointment, when the midwives palpated mum's stomach to find out about us, they caught the whisper of both of us, in the fragile fluid that cradled us in our amniotic sacs.



No ultrasound in 1961. No man on the moon. No TV in our house. The steam trains thundering by at the bottom of the garden. But you know that. You were there, where you were meant to be. A heartbeat away with your heart that never saw the light of that October morning when I broke through, head first, large domed skull, tearing mum's tenderness, away from you.

I'm so sorry you couldn't come with me. But thank you that I carried you out with me, unseen as mist, like a deep taste of the ocean beyond and the constellations above us, pricking out radiance through the autumn sky. That you let me live.



I smelled you in the bonfires and heard you in the crunch of the autumn leaves, I know I did. Even though words would not reach you. I tasted you in the exciting glow of those early birthday candles that lit the front room in our cottage when the world was dark by five o'clock. The sweetness of icing and the creaking polished stability of the old sideboard.

Those mirrors, the space between the bubbles in the bath water, always gave me a rush of terror. Reflecting lightbulbs. Kicking away stability like the sky was rushing in and I was marooned on another planet. In my panic I closed my eyes. Was I afraid not to see you there, mirroring me? Half a century later I still tilt the mirrors down where they can't mock me that you're still not here.



From the earliest days I was always fantasising being other people. Usually characters that caught my imagination. I had a whole invisible galaxy of animals who were my invisible friends. To understand people I became them. I always have. Acting out in my mind the actions and reactions of others. Whole families of children named every breathtaking beautiful name I knew, and some I didn't.

Telling stories as I waved grasses quietly in my hands where nobody could watch me, down our garden, behind dad's garage. Singing songs that never ended. I was caught in the world where you should have been to play the other part. I needed nobody else, though they seemed to require my presence. I was happy alone. Because you were filling the lack like a swan's bent neck staring back from the glassy pond at it's happy image.



Once in my teens, on a bus, I heard a baby cry. Somewhere deep inside, in the quivering place in my stomach, I heard a baby's cry, on and on, that refused to be comforted. Sadness that went so deep it was a tear that couldn't mend itself. I know that was you. Part of me, but wholly other. My mirror and soulmate from the first day I breathed in life's potential.

“Are you in pig?”



That hurt my mum. Some drunken bloke mouthing off near the Horse and Groom, in drink and seeing her pregnant. Were you already absorbed into the warm silence, by then? I feel so protective to you and mum. That was ok for me, but not for you two. I wonder if you heard that?

We would have been inseparable. Sampling Granddad's cabbages down his allotment. Making him think of his mum and his younger brothers, each of them with their twindom that had shaped his own consciousness, running across the summer fields and over the stiles towards Hoyland at the end of Victoria's reign.



You weren't in the physical world to share dad's bike with him, the man things, the boy simplicities, direct and compelling and blunt. So inside I was both daughter and son, girl and boy. I never wanted to coddle dolls or dress up like a queen. I loved the wild outdoors and knowing and naming every plant, creature and corner of the landscape. The places we would have explored together, I investigated and claimed for both of us.

I saw the pegs and the line and put more and more pegs in. Extra and over till the line was heavy and full with wood, like so many birds on a wire. Some for me and some for you. Because I didn't have you to play with. Yet in my soul I did, somehow.



We were conceived in January. Maybe somewhere in the middle of the month when the nights were freezing. Those old sash windows, they used to get ice on the inside and when snow came it drifted half way up the yard wall on the entry side and huge icicles hung from the back of our outhouses where the outside toilet pipes dripped. By Easter, I guess you were gone to all intents and purposes. But not to me.

When I was little, I dreamed about a little dog who would be my shadow, to be with me like you should have been with me. I met him when I was thirty six and he was perfect. My little man. The dog I saw in my dreams all those years ago. Just as you are real to me, as if you had been born fifty years ago, holding my heel or me grasping your fingertips, sibling and sister.



I always craved a soulmate. But in reality nobody can carry that and not be your twin. They would always fall short or be smothered, or misunderstand that need for wordless symbiotic merging. You are my other half and you have never left me, not for a moment. I cannot need somebody else like I needed you, so I am still that singleton. Whole apart, yet wholly partial, filling in my own silent blanks, making my own peace out of the chaos of our brokenness.



Some words say things for us. We understand them with our spirit.
I hear the words of this song that Leona Lewis sings and it says so much of how I miss you, it always makes me cry from that deep wound you left when you lost the fight to be fully formed. I'm so sorry I flourished because you stepped back into the still sea of before. But I know I can and must survive this, strengthened eternally now by our twinship, by the love and healing tenderness of our Maker, for which I will be thankful every day of the remainder of my life.

“RUN” -words by Snow Patrol, sung by Leona Lewis around 2009 when my beloved pet dog died, bringing up all these age old feelings. Here I am, singing this my way, for my vanished twin as I move on without him.

video

I'll sing it one last time for you
Then we really have to go
You've been the only thing that's right
In all I've done

And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we'll make it anywhere
Away from here

Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you dear

Louder louder
And we'll run for our lives
I can hardly speak I understand
Why you can't raise your voice to say

To think I might not see those eyes
Makes it so hard not to cry
And as we say our long goodbye
I nearly do

Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you dear

Louder louder
And we'll run for our lives
I can hardly speak I understand
Why you can't raise your voice to say

Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I'll be right beside you dear

Louder louder
And we'll run for our lives
I can hardly speak I understand
Why you can't raise your voice to say

3 comments:

  1. Amazing Jobiska! Just amazing. I will write you privately. Beautiful honesty and so moving.

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  2. Hi Jobiska,
    I wish I had found this wondrous blog sooner....your words flow and conjure up pure magic that can be seen, heard, felt and tasted....I, too am a synesthete and a wombtwin survivor, my beautiful sister has been with me every day of my life here on earth...although it took over fifty years to find out there were others on this planet that felt exactly the same way. That day was almost a day of rebirth for me, that I wasn't the only one!! Thank you for such a beautiful account of your deepest feelings. It is greatly treasured. Sending wishes for love and joy, dear one.

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  3. Thank you for stopping by here, Dream Big and Anonymous. Your comments mean the world to me. Sorry it's taken me such an age to reply as have spent the best part of the last year not really blogging while largely housebound and unable to do much writing (or singing!). Bless you both for letting me know about this special thing we share. One day I feel sure we will all dance again in the arms of our precious wombtwins and find that perfect completion with the ones we know in the deepest parts of our souls xxx

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