Back To Back Adventurers


“De knee bone’s connected to de – thigh bone…”

Consciousness stirs. I’m vaguely aware that I’m dreaming. I hear the music of an old plantation tune, something about the knee bone being connected to the thigh bone.

“There’s a monkey on my back!” says a butler running by with a monkey on his back.

“I’ve got your back,” someone says in my ear as my back is patted vigorously, startling and angering me.

Back off! – I wish…” I mysteriously say, turning around to see  -no one?

I turn again. No one? Again. No one?

“Hey! That hurts!” yells a real voice from outside my head. “Stop thrashing! Are you having a nightmare?”

I’m awake and there’s a woman lying behind me, back to back. I try to get up but something holds me down. “What the…?”

Across the room is the classic rock band Spinal Tap. They’re finishing up the old plantation song in blackface:

“De back bone’s connected to de back bone,

Now hear dey word of de Lawd!

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Now hear dey word of de Lawd.”

Now I really wake up. My God. It’s true. Like flood water filling a basin the memories of this brain fill my awareness allowing me a nearly instant understanding of my identity on this Earth…

My sister is Wey. My name here is Wen. Wey back Wen we were born conjoined twins. Our spines are completely intertwined.

Just when I decide to embrace my experience without reservation, abandoning all hope of a return to one “normal” life and recognizing that it’s my destiny to be the visitor of worlds, never the inhabitant – that’s when this happens?

I want to go home.

I have the intellectual part now but emotionally I’m almost feeling a panic.

“Why is your heart beating so fast?” Wey asks, concerned. She can feel it.

What is it like to live every moment of life joined together physically, inseparably, with another person – knowing that it can never be any other way if you are to survive?

What’s she doing?

“Hey!” she squeals. “Roll over! What’s the matter with you this morning?”

Of course. She and her brother have a physical language, a silent muscle nudge that tells me what her next intentions are. Only I haven’t gotten that far yet. What can sleeping like this be? We have to turn over in the night at some point. And we can never sleep on our stomachs or backs. Or get a back scratch.

Unusual compromises must be made with this other person. Compromises one would never consider with a mere partner walking around in her own body.

There is no privacy. Therefore I must trust this woman, my sister, with every secret except the thoughts I never speak. She must do the same. Thereby we must know every detail and facet of being male and female, high and low, ill or robust.

No one can take us by surprise. We have a 360 degree view at all times.

We have trained to react as one. That I remember. More is coming to me…

We have a special toilet at home, and a portable one for road trips. In the woods we use a squatting technique once we find the right spot.

We can roll, do cartwheels, do back flips – of course – and hop sideways faster than most people can run.

We have difficulty jumping and full-out running, which can only be done with Wey on my back. Therefore we do not run fast and we do not jump at all, unless it is to jump down. We have practiced our landings on various surfaces from various heights.

We are very fast in the water. We’re able to swim much longer than normal people because we take turns resting and gliding while the other strokes. We rotate in the water for breathing, but we’ve discovered that we can stay underwater for up to four minutes very comfortably. We have no idea what to attribute that to.

And all this physical stuff, it isn’t just to prove we’re as good as anyone else. We’re bounty hunters.

When one of us dies, the other will follow shortly.

A man rises up on the far side of my sister, obviously having spent the night lying beside her.

“I think she’s got to go potty pretty bad,” he says sheepishly.

Must embrace the experience. Must embrace…


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