For a while, we did everything together. We slept late on a Saturday morning. Just at ten o’clock, the morning sun rose above the neighboring apartment building and slid blades of light through the venetian blinds. The blades of light cut across the bellies and arms of our naked bodies, letting us know that early morning was long gone, and midmorning had begun its progress. That’s when one of us got up to start the coffee. The other rolled on their side and propped their chin on their hand, and only when the first returned to announce that the coffee was percolating did they look at the ceiling, smile, and roll out of bed. We turned the news on and ate breakfast at a leisurely pace. Our movements were completely familiar to each other, along with the sounds we made. If one of us happened to belch, the other sometimes forgot and said, “Excuse me.” The one who had belched laughed. We rolled back on the bed to caress our bodies and watch the sunblades sharpen themselves into oblivion.

It was a beautiful time to be us on a Saturday morning. If action became necessary, we headed to the grocery store and held out items for the other’s inspection before dropping them in the cart.

Lunch might take place in a café.

“I like this café very much,” one of us would say. The other would agree.

Or one would say, “I’m not so impressed with this café anymore.”

“Oh, really,” the other would say. “What has turned you off?”

“It’s the egg salad, I think. All I ever smell here, no matter what I order, is the egg salad.” And the other would agree. The constant smell of egg salad could get on one’s nerves.

It’s hard to remember from those days an instance in which we disagreed. Why had we been born in separate skins? We would have been in complete accord if we had been Siamese twins. Sometimes we put our arms over each other’s shoulders, our hips touching, and walked very quickly, our steps in perfect unison, like two soldiers. We first did it out of silliness, but we found that it was a perfectly comfortable way to walk and after a while preferred it. Friends stopped us in our progress and laughed. It took us a moment to figure out what they were laughing about.

Such accord, such full body-and-soul agreement could not last. I don’t know if we expected it to last or not. In the autumn of that year we realized that we were bored, bored out of our skulls. The realization first struck when we were sitting around one evening wondering what friend we could phone up who might be willing to spend some time with us.

“I’m lonely,” said one.

“Yes, we are,” said the other.

As fall turned to winter, a shadowy black line appeared between us and darkened itself. We became again a man and a woman, one of which, when they walked, veered to the right, the other to the left.

[This story was originally published in an online zine called Axe, which I and a fellow web developer edited in 1997. Of course it only exists now as a ghost in the Wayback Machine.]

Published by David Hammond

David Hammond lives and dreams in Virginia with his wife, two daughters, one dog, three rats, and a multitude of insects. During the day, he makes websites. More of his writing can be found at oldshoepress.com.

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