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I am a twin. Not identical, not an exact copy, but intertwined with the soul of another person. We complete each other. I fall silent in crowds; She fills in my end of the conversation. She falls behind in her school work; I fill in her motivation. But we give and take with each other just as we did with our penny collection in third grade. For months we saved thousands of coins in an old coffee grind container, digging through the holes in our couches and the bottom of our laundry bins to find even just one more to add. Despite my determination to fill the container until pennies flowed from the brim, her impulsive nature compelled her to take every cent before I could reach my goal.

It is less of a symbiotic relationship than it would appear. Yes, we complete each other, but we each fill in the gaps the other wishes to keep empty.

She forces my introverted nature into social situations that flood my need for seclusion, leaving me drowning. In the seventh grade She would host hundreds of parties. On one particular occasion, I had been so overwhelmed that I hid in my bedroom—for a few minutes, the perfect getaway—until She brought the party into the room with me. In that moment, as I was shoulder-to-shoulder with two girls whose faces I could not recognize, I resented her.

I force her into acknowledging the responsibilities She would rather forget. For every book we were required to read in high school, I would lay next to her in bed and read to her—otherwise She would disregard the assignment. I was her personal audio book, supplying her with the stories of Romeo and Juliet, The Things They Carried, The Great Gatsby, and countless others. When I finally refused to be her storyteller, She lunged at me, grabbing a fistful of my hair and knotting it. She resented me.

She leeched off me, a parasite seeking only personal gain, but She was the missing part of me, and I of her.

In tenth grade her impulsive nature compelled her to leave home. The only goodbye She gave was the slamming of the front door as She ran out of the house in the middle of the night. I was broken. I began to long for her to suffocate me with social interactions, long to waste hours helping her with the schoolwork She dreaded. I began to long for everything we resented about each other—because it was what we were each missing.

I started to make my own friends, go to my own parties. Not all at once, but enough to fill in the gaps She had left. I had to learn how to complete myself. In eleventh grade I went to my first homecoming without her by my side. I danced with people I knew and people I didn’t. I was swept into the middle of an ocean of people, feeling the hot breath of everyone around me. I was simultaneously alone and surrounded by people. But I felt whole.

I am an individual. I find comfort within myself, despite where I am or where I am going. On the occasions when She decides to reappear in my life, I find myself falling into the cracks She has left empty, but I am learning to let her find the contentedness which I have found. She is still broken, but it is no longer my duty to fix her. I had taken the shards of myself She had left scattered on the floor the night She left and glued them back together, and with time the pieces finally stuck. I no longer let her take from me, and I give to better myself.

Erica Amdal

Augustana '22

My name is Erica Amdal. Aiming to major in Anthropology, I am intrigued by the values in societies and how humans are interconnected yet immensely diverse. I strive to immerse myself in different cultures to gain more insight on the colorful lives of other humans. Coinciding with my desire to study different cultures and their unique attributes, I am motivated and intrigued by the ability of people to interpret art in ways that adhere to their own lives, which influences my stylized approach in my own work.
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