Causeless Fall

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The first time I ever spoke to my twin brother was eighteen months after I lost my leg. Took ages to track him down, especially since my biological mother was a dead end, literally, she died five years before. But this was the mission I needed to take my mind off the accident.

It wouldn’t happen these days but Mum had told me she always suspected it. Something about another couple being there when she and Dad picked me up and the adoption lady having “cagey” eyes. Mum used to get really worried speculating on the “what ifs”, the twin I might be missing out on. So I’d tell jokes like, ‘Mum, if a man speaks in the forest and no woman is there to hear him, is he still wrong?’ It doesn’t take much to crack Mum up and she’d laugh so much she couldn’t speak, and I’d be yelling, ‘C’mon Mum, there are only two possibilities: yes or no!’

Anyway, his name’s Jonathon and yes, we’re identical! Aside from the fact I’m short a limb, (which is something I didn’t tell him). It blew me away when we Skyped for the first time. He even talks like me!

Those first few calls were like drinking from a fire hose. Seventeen years to catch up on. We discovered soon enough that we’re both super-competitive so we started sharing old school reports. That was the first sign of anything weird. I was reading aloud the comments like, ‘Johnno sucks at PE’ (alright, I might have paraphrased that but you get the drift), so it was Johnno who noticed the pattern: whenever I got less than my usual B+ in English, Johnno’s English mark would go up exactly the same. What was it he said? Anti-correlation or something? I don’t know, I never liked science, especially physics.

Then the bizarreness kept coming. For example, on the same day as I broke up with Amanda, Johnno had his first kiss (and I mean didn’t he go on! Angelina Jolie lips, he says, like a “ripe plum” was the actual words he used which I had to give him credit for, from a literary perspective). Funny thing was though, he’d measured it, gave her a nine out of ten on his “sensation factor”. Then when I told him about Amanda he got all excited, jabbering on about “entangled states”, something about breaking a record. He said I should look it up. So I did. That’s how I know that at 1,428 kilometres apart (I live in Sydney and he’s in Mackay) we’ve broken the “quantum teleportation” record. Woohoo!

So anyway, we’ve Skyped every week for six months now. The laughs are first-class and in between telling me how great a kisser he is, he helps me with science assignments. It’s strange, because I didn’t know I was missing anything before, and I hate to admit this, but now it seems like Johnno kind of makes me whole.

Mum’s flying me up to Mackay to meet Johnno and his parents next month. So that’s why I had to tell him about the leg. It was awful. He was so shocked he started crying. I couldn’t bear it, seeing him so upset, so I tried a few laughs: ‘Bro’, it’s just a flesh wound,' I said, 'I’m growing it back, man… Hey ugly, the only permanent physical difference between us is that I’m better looking, ok.” It helped.

I never told him how it happened, just said he was the only person I knew who never referred to it, who I never had to discuss it with and how sweet it was to “just be me” rather than an amputee. My man Johnno, he got it straight away, didn’t mention it again.

Since I’m telling you this story though, I do have to let you in on the how. It’s strictly confidential, OK, and this must never get back to Johnno. So here it is: I did a rock climbing class. I made it to the top, was about to come down and the guy belaying accidentally lost his grip on the rope. I fell forty feet onto a boulder, shattered my leg into little pieces. The surgeons couldn’t save it and that was that.

And here’s why it’s confidential. Last week Johnno and I swapped stories about stupid things we’ve done. I told him how I’d filled Ms Jackson’s handbag with shaving cream. Johnno told me about an experiment he saw on YouTube — replicating moonwalking using cables with a TV as a counterweight to take the weight off, so you could bounce around, you know, like Neil Armstrong.

Anyways, about two years ago he and his science-nut friends decided to amp it up a notch with a heavier counterweight — bought a car engine from the wreckers, hauled her up the tree and let her rip with Johnno in the harness (do not try this at home people!). He went up like a rocket!

But here’s the thing, see: they set up a camera to measure Johnno’s distance and time as he flew up. Why anyone would want to measure that is beyond me. But it was the date that got me. Hit my chest like a freight train: two years ago. Had to be the same day, right?

I’ve done more reading on this physics stuff. Apparently quantum effects are causeless. Still, I haven’t told Johnno how I lost my leg and I never will. Sometimes I hate the universe, how random things happen, like entangled twins. But this time I’m taking charge. It might have been my damn leg that brought us together, but I’m making sure it’s not gonna tear us apart.

We’re gonna have fun, Johnno and me. I may put shaving cream on his toothbrush, maybe I’ll even pretend to be him once or twice, snog his plum-lip girlfriend or something. But after all these years apart, I’d rather lose both my legs than see Johnno cry.

About the Author: 
From selling robots around the world to a career in law (a profession that uses words to untangle some of the world's ugliest knots), Sarah now uses words to create stories that (hopefully) shed a different light on the world.