Maryann is my sister.
She is not my twin sister.
We don't even REALLY look alike .... really. But somehow, as we got older, people began mixing us up. People who don't know us very well, or older friends of the family who don't see us too often may say to me, "So Melissa, how's Ottawa?" (which is not where I live -- it is where Mary lives). Or someone at my sister's church will throw their arms around me enthusiastically.... then, upon close examination of my face, back away apologetically. I respond equally to her name as I do my name.
One day, she came to visit the school where I work, just for an afternoon. But in the span of those few hours, we were emphatically reminded how similar we are at least two dozen times. A fellow teacher saw us from afar and yelled BOOK ENDS!
I sometimes correct the confused person. But sometimes I do not.
Always, I am secretly pleased that other people think I am similar to my little sister. She is slimmer and more graceful and has always been my grandmother's favourite grandchild. This begs the question, why do people get us mixed up?
Well, we are alike in our mannerisms.
We tilt our heads to the same side for pictures. We throw our arms about our bodies enthusiastically when we're excited (which is often about something minute like fresh cherries or fireflies or Harry Belafonte). When we smile, our eyes disappear into tiny moon-shaped slits. We squeal when we talk on the phone to each other, as if volume has something to do with depth of sentiment. We have very little concept of world geography or history and we are shamefully terrible at Trivial Pursuit. We become extra "efficient" when there are many things to be done, making exhausting lists of tasks and sub-tasks, bustling around in a near-chaotic frenzy and ploughing down anyone unfortunate enough to be in our way. We sometimes like to do silly things like play squash (which neither of us are really certain how to play) and speak only french. We have ditsty and clumsy moments in which a hint more common sense could have saved us gallons of embarrassment.
All these quirks, my sister and I share. Every time someone calls me Maryann, I am reminded of these cute things she does that I love about her. And the cute things that I like about me too.