Amazing Kids! Magazine

Ours

By Allison Stein, Contributing Writer

 

Most people were ecstatic about their birthdays, so I should have been psyched about turning 15. But I dreaded my birthday, which I would have to share. I’d never had a birthday that was “mine,” only birthdays that were “ours.” “I must be the most unlucky person in the world,” I said as I got out of bed on Monday morning.

As Mom would say, it was “one of those days.” I woke up to my alarm clock ringing and was depressed after lying awake and thinking about our birthday the night before. On top of that, I had a bad-hair day and a difficult science test first hour. Worst of all, when I walked out to the kitchen, I saw the banner Mom had made for our birthday. In beautiful calligraphy, she had written, “Happy 15th birthday, Madison and Kevin!” I sighed and scowled at my twin brother’s name. When Mom came into the room, she smiled and said, “Do you like it, Madison?”

“I love it,” I lied. Before Mom could say anything, I quickly excused myself and hurried outside to wait for the bus.

I walked to the end of the driveway, where Kevin was already standing. “Hi, Madison,” he said. “Our birthday is only two days away!”

“Cool,” I said unenthusiastically.

“Why aren’t you ex…?” he started. The bus pulled up to our driveway before he could say “excited.”

When we got to homeroom, Christina, my best friend, sat next to me, and Kevin sat one row behind us with William, one of his friends. I heard William make a joke about twins and heard Kevin laugh. Our classmates sometimes teased Kevin and me about being twins, and I could never laugh it off like Kevin.

Christina saw my unhappiness and embarrassment and tried to comfort me. When she realized that that wasn’t working, she changed the subject by asking, “Can I come over after school?”

I was excited until I remembered that Kevin would probably invite friends over, which he did most nights. “No,” I said sadly.

“Oh,” said Christina. I could tell that she wondered why but didn’t want to ask because I was so moody.

When I got home from school, I saw that Kevin had invited five friends over and locked myself in my bedroom. I sat down on my bed and got out my math book, but I wasn’t thinking about inequalities. By the time Kevin’s friends left, it would be suppertime.

Supper wouldn’t be any more enjoyable than any other part of the day. Mom and Dad would compare Kevin and me the whole meal; Kevin was their favorite. The thought exasperated me. I had been compared to someone my whole life. As I graphed an inequality, I thought again about how unlucky I was.

By the time Kevin’s friends left, I had finished my math homework, which had taken me a long time to do because of my lack of focus. The suppertime discussion revolved around the science test, which Kevin had gotten a higher score on.

After supper, Kevin and I went outside to go on our evening walk. I would have rather gone for a walk alone, but Dad said he wanted us to go together, not because we weren’t responsible enough to walk by ourselves but because “twins should spend time with each other.” Kevin never argued with Dad about our walks like I did and evidently didn’t mind them, but I was easily bored with our usual route of walking down the road and turning around after one mile.

“Can’t we explore the woods?” I asked Kevin for the seventh time that week.

“No,” Kevin said. “Walking through the woods is too dangerous; it’s full of ash trees that are liable to fall because of the ash borer. I’ve heard that five of the trees in the woods have fallen in the last two weeks.”

When I sat on my bed after our walk, Kevin knocked on the door. He always said goodnight to me before bed, which was annoying and made me feel like a little girl. I had no choice but to say, “Come in.”

“Good night, Madison,” Kevin said.

“Good night,” I said in a tone that reflected my annoyance.

“Are you okay?” He took my silence as a “no” and asked, “What’s wrong?”

I reluctantly asked Kevin to go to his friends’ houses instead of bringing them to ours; after he nodded, I, hesitating even more, asked him not to come in my room to say goodnight anymore.

Kevin didn’t even ask why. “Okay,” he said. I was too tired to notice the frown on his face as he walked out.

I woke up in a better mood the next day. When I walked into the kitchen, Kevin was asking Mom, “Can I go to William’s house tonight?”

Mom looked surprised but nodded. “How long?” she asked.

“I’ll go there right after school and be back at eight o’clock,” Kevin said. When Mom agreed, I tried to hide my grin.

That morning, I walked into homeroom, sat down next to Christina, and excitedly invited her over. “Oh, Madison,” Christina said apologetically, “I would love to come over, but I have an appointment tonight.”

Still, I refused to give up my happiness. When I got home, I had the luxury of doing my homework in the living room. However, when Dad turned on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on history and had to retreat to my bedroom. But I wasn’t discouraged. After eating some leftovers, I asked Dad if I could go for a walk, and he said yes.

The walk wasn’t as good as it should have been. I was lonely and maybe even a little scared without Kevin. But I brightened up when I remembered the woods I had never gotten to explore before.

The next thing I knew, I was lying in bed with both of my parents next to me. I didn’t know what had happened. According to my alarm clock, it was nine o’clock; Kevin must have been home. “What’s going on?” I asked. My parents looked relieved that I had spoken and put an ice pack on my forehead.

“Madison,” Mom said, “an ash tree fell on you and hit your head. We were so lucky that it was only a big branch and not the trunk! We thought you had a concussion, but you’re talking so quickly and so clearly that I don’t think so anymore.” She turned to Dad, who nodded.

“But how did you find me?” I asked. How had they thought to look in the woods?

“You were gone for an hour when Kevin came back, and we were starting to get worried,” Dad explained. “But somehow your brother knew just where you’d be.”

“Where’s Kevin?” I asked.

“In bed,” said Mom.

Forgetting my request to Kevin the night before, I asked, “Isn’t he coming in to say goodnight?”

Mom and Dad shrugged, made sure that I was okay, and said goodnight. It was hard to get to sleep without having heard Kevin’s voice.

I knocked on my brother’s door the next morning. “Happy birthday, Kevin,” I said.

Kevin flung open the door. “Madison! Are you okay?”

“Yes,” I said. After I brief pause, I added, “Please say goodnight again.” To my relief, my twin nodded. “Oh, Kevin, I’m so excited for our birthday!”

I smiled as I said “our” and knew that I was the luckiest person in the world.