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Facades

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It would be much easier if it really were all about the clothes.

You can stroll through the boutiques of the Upper East Side, pull out one of your sister’s credit cards and
wrap yourself up in any prestige brand name you choose, head to toe.

You can put on any of the two dozen pairs of enormous sunglasses she used to wear, the ones that hide half your face and make everyone who looks your way assume your vanishing act is no loss, because there's nothing worth reading in your expression, anyway.

People assume you are, but you hope they are mistaken, vacant. Like the building of Andrew’s you investigated, vacant doesn’t mean empty. Close your eyes and you can picture that abandoned space filled with trash, a towering heap of all that’s been left behind.

 

At fourteen, fifteen, you used to worry that Siobhan was somehow prettier than you. In photographs you could see that your individual features were indistinguishable, yes, but there had to be a reason that people admired her, sought her attention, while passing you by.

Yes, you made good money, stripping. People paid a lot for your services, your time, but there was no satisfaction in that. You never deluded yourself that anyone renting your consent actually wanted anything from you other than your mouth, your tits, your pussy, and your ass.

You learn early, when you’re a twin, the difference between “me” and “my body”.

 

There’s only one body, the one you and your sister share. Two copies, yes, but one body.

And inside that body? You thought you knew Siobhan and understood her hunger for a good life but, the longer you pretend, the more of her betrayals you uncover.

 

You’re fighting to keep everything she threw away.

For whose sake? Theirs, hers, yours? For the sake of a dream both of you had but neither of you ever managed to make true?

What you do protects you, yes, but isn’t it also intended for Andrew, Juliet? Might that be some absolution for a liar?

 

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, you’d wake up to your heart skipping a beat. You’d roll over onto your back, press the heel of your palm between your breasts, and wonder, staring into the dark of your room, if she’d been startled, too, if each long, slow breath you took was an echo of hers.