In With the Bookends

When I see my friends post pictures of their young kids in matching outfits, I think it’s pretty adorable. I imagine one of the most fun parts about having kids is making them wear ridiculous things. Want to know what’s less fun? Being part of the sibling pair that has to wear a matching outfit. 

Sissy and I weren’t immune to this. Attending a wedding and wearing a dress that shared a flower pattern with my sister’s dress may be my earliest memory of my independence being under attack. 

As we got a little older and developed our individual style, we’d sometimes share clothes, but would never dream of getting ANYTHING that matched. “Don’t copy me!” with a “Don’t boss me!” retort were common mid-90s refrains – set to a Luscious Jackson soundtrack – that I can still hear in my head today.

Here’s the thing about matching with your biological sibling, even if you’re not wearing similar clothes, you’re wearing similar DNA. Whether you like it or not, you’re matching. You can’t get away from it. 

Anyone who has spent time with me and Sissy can attest we have matching qualities. However, I’ve seen this be very inconsistent. Some people are like, “What kinds of twins are you? Identical?” And others are like, “You’re sisters? Hmmm, I guess I can kinda see it?” 

A woman on the street said it best when she told us, “Well, you two are just a couple of bookends, aren’t ya!”

I’ve never heard it explained more perfectly. 

Without a doubt, we are similar, but as decades pass and life phases cycle, we’ve continued to establish very different paths. Nonetheless, we’re tethered by that famous ethereal sister bond that mirrors the mystery and power of witchcraft. 

These days it’s not unusual for us to text each other the same thing at the same time – likely about a shared food craving. When we’re in person, it’s only a matter of time before we begin to say the same things/laugh/clear our throat in unison. I bet we don’t even catch a fraction of them.

There’s a groove we fall into when we’re together. It’s like we’re teenagers, but with adult bank accounts and ability to buy beer. It could be 1991 or 2021. Who knows. I become a core, ageless, timeless version of myself. Maybe that’s the magic of being with your sibling? Their mere presence is like a gauzy portal into a time and place no one else has access to.

I’m pleased to report that 30ish years have softened and erased the trauma of those early matching outfits. In fact, today we’re matching in many departments. Not only do we have the same winter coat, toothbrush, black Gap hoodies and make-up palettes, but we also drive the same car. 

This is what it means to be bookends, I suppose. Seemingly matched but coming at life from different ends of the shelf. It’s like having exclusive access to a video of an alternative version of yourself. It’s fun to watch in awe of how someone so similar can see and approach the world in ways you never thought of. 

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