. . .
“You want me to stop being The Incredible Vanishing Man,” my brother asked, as if I had asked him to assume a false identity.
“Yes, and become known as, The Amazing Appearing Something.”
“Somewhat vague,” he said.
“Above the waist,” I said, “you are.”
“To me,” my brother said, “you are the one appearing before my eyes.”
“I guess we both are. It is magic that we are here at all.”
My brother thought for a moment then grinned, at least I think he did. “That’s it then,” he said.
“Our titles. The Amazing Appearing Twins!” He performed that magician gesture again with his arms.
“Who would pay to see me,” I asked. “I’m normal, unremarkable. I’m no different from someone in the crowd at one of your shows.”
“Nonsense. You’re my appearing twin, complete, fully formed, or at least further along in the process. I’m the broken one, the one still a work in progress. After all, you had Mother all to yourself.”
I let that last comment pass through me. “What you’re describing sounds like a 50-50 split of profits!”
“More like 60-40,” he said. “I am the show business expert. For this new life we’ve chosen together, you’re the one not quite all there.”
“So says, The No-Longer-Incredible Vanishing Man!”
My brother laughed then stood to leave for his evening performance.
“Do you think she loved me,” he asked. “Your mother I mean.”
“Our mother never got over giving you up. You are the one she always talked about, even to me. At times, I think I was the lesser brother, the one in the way.”
“I never knew her,” he said.
“Somehow she knew you. Mother was less of a person with one twin. We both were. Even as her only-child, sometimes when she looked at me, I felt her looking beyond or through me, as if I were the transparent one, not you.”
“Thank you for telling me. I always wondered. I assumed that you were her world.”
“Plenty of times I was solid enough so that Mother’s eyes stopped at me,” I said. “Still, inside she always longed for ‘the other,’ not for something she never had, but for something given then taken away. She longed for you.”
“It’s your fault, you know,” he said with a grin. “You took more than your share of me in the womb.”
“60-40 split of profits,” I said.
My twin surveyed my well-defined features. “You left me like this,” he said.
“You mean rich?”
He shook what head he had and laughed.
“And you left me like this,” I said. I turned my pockets inside out.
“You mean ugly?”
“Goodbye. See you soon.”
“Yes, see you soon.”
We hugged as best we could.
– . – . –