Who’s Got Your Back?

I just spent a week in California visiting with my twin sister. If you read my memoir Thinking of Miller Place, you know her as Finn.

It’s been quite a few years, well decades actually, since we realized on a really deep level that we were and always will be connected. I’ve often said God made me a twin so I wouldn’t be lonely (thank you, Jack Kornfield). Although those psychic twin happenings aren’t as frequent or as profound as they were when we were children, that connection is still there.

My twin is a sounding board, a cheerleader, a guidepost, an audience when I feel silly, creative, funny, and no one else gets it. She’s been a major supporter, not enabler, pointing the way, (often leading the way). Sometimes the support has been kind of an “ouch.” You know that twinge you feel when someone you love and respect lets you know that she knows there’s a certain amount of denial wafting through the air.

Sometimes the support is like a security blanket that you know will be folded at the foot of your bed. She saw me through the intense grief of the death of my first husband, physically and emotionally supported my recovery from several of the “isms” that stalk our society, bolstered stamina rebuilding after illnesses, heart mending after friendship and family losses. She reads my books, essays, and blogs and is the auditory storyboard (is that an oxymoron?) for seeds of new writing and storytelling ideas. She knows me and she’s got my back.

On the surface this past week was a total blast–fun, exciting, relaxing. Two couples enjoying each other’s company, wonderful dinners, walks, the beach, lots of laughing. Underneath, Finn and I rewove the threads of our connection, sharing childhood memories with other people who were just meeting us as “the twins,” filling in memory gaps with each other, and musing over what the future can bring for us both.

I rediscovered how funny my Finn is, how clever, how talented. I see how exacting, how explicitly definite, how specific we both can be and realize this actually is part of what I love about her having my back. There’s no BS. I do marvel that my husband can respond with humor and usually a “hey, it’s okay by me” attitude when I am so, shall we say, direct.

“What a fun week,” I said as my sweetie and I packed the car for the 500-mile drive back to Tucson. “Yeah, yeah,” we all agreed, laughing. Hug to Finn’s Joe, lean over and pat Peanut the adorable dog, call out bye to Mykah the “I’ll warm up to you next time” cat, and turn to hug my sister, my twin, my wombmate.

When what to my wondering soul should arise but a huge sigh, which morphed into a gulping gasp, and sob. Big sob. For 7 days, 168 hours, we had been within physical reach of each other. I could hear her voice almost anywhere in their house. She sings almost all the time. And now I was getting into the car to separate. Hard to do. I will miss this touch factor I got used to during the week. She hugged me really tight and did that pat, pat, pat thing that people do during hugs. And then she kind of rubbed my back with one hand in a small circle motion. And it hit me again. She is and always will be a part of me. She’s got my back.

Who’s got your back?

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships.


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