College, sex, seeing the world – so many things I never wanted to have all to myself.

Today's Story


Double Trouble

By Nichon Glerum

My little sister was born 14 minutes later than me, giving me an extra 840 seconds of life experience. I was extremely fond of holding this over her as a kid.

We used our matching physical appearance to our advantage; we would fool our teachers the classical way by switching position during classes and exams. That one’s kind of a classic. Family members other than our parents were also always good to fool.  But the most fun were the people who didn’t know there were two of us. I recall endless family holidays when we tried never to be seen together. We almost made our new foreign friends lose their minds when we played competitive games and turned out to be invincible. Hide and seek queens. Treasure hunting champions. We were one person in two bodies.

That was nearly fourty years ago. My little sister died in our early teens, as a result of a rare genetic decease. We have the same genes, I know, but somehow she inherited it. I didn’t. It appeared we weren’t as similar as we thought. My extra 14 minutes of life was really no big deal, but my extra 40 years of live have become a lifetime of excruciating precedence.  College, sex, seeing the world – so many things I never wanted to have all to myself.

The half of me that was left started to live two lives automatically. Instead of two acting like one, I now live the life of both of us. My parents thought it was a rebellious way to grieve at first, and they let me. But it never stopped. Sometimes I book a holiday in my sister’s name, or I show up at work asking for myself. And when I bump into somebody on the street I don’t feel like talking to, I excuse myself and say we’ve never met, you must be thinking of my sister.

There’s very few people left in my life who new her when she was alive, and yet everyone knows her. Through me. She’s the social one, the fun loving kind, less responsible. Maybe because she was the youngest. I on the other hand am the workaholic, the career woman. Our lives fit together like pieces of a puzzle. In this life there’s no room for a relationship, but that’s ok. I am never alone.


Nichon is a Dutch photographer with a design education, or a designer with a photographic eye, whatever suits the situation best.  Sometimes she writes.


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