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I remember when I first heard my mother speak of fate. It was not mine she spoke of. Mie, several years my elder, had displeased her somehow, and mother had lamented the fate of a parent cursed with a snake for child, bitten unawares by a beast hidden in the cradle. She’d wanted me to hear it, as she cursed her second-youngest, that I would know not to disappoint her as Mie had. It had surprised me then, that mother had not seen it coming, all-powerful as she was, all-knowing. So she had seemed to me then.

Fate mocked her again when it presented her her final children. Though she’d known since the third month that she was carrying twins, it still seemed to shock her during the birth. I watch mother’s eyes widen as the midwives bade her to push again, after she’d already laboured so hard with the first, already reaped a new legacy. And now another, a leftover. But where fate might have taunted her, for me it unraveled a knot and revealed a new path. Mokoya, Akeha, swaddled side-by-side, like the character for twins, again again.

For now, their pattern mirrors, but already in their first breaths it has started to spiral, grow apart, entangle and enmesh in different ways. But still bound to one another from that first simultaneous beginning. Would anything break it? Until them I was the youngest and alone—if mother had birthed just one, would they sense an absence without knowing its cause?

My counterpart has always been mother, her warm palm on my back when I pleased her, the hard back of it against my cheek when I didn’t. How do I unpick myself from the fabric of her? There is a pattern which I can not yet see clearly.