By: Lynnette Hager Bohman
I grew up in an open family; we talked about everything. So when my parents passed away and I was left to handle their estate I really didn’t think anything would catch me by surprise. I spent days in their photo albums simply reminiscing. One baby picture stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a hospital picture of me but there were two babies. I stared at the picture studying every corner. The babies were identical! Maybe mom had a friend who gave birth at the same time. After all, don’t all newborns sort of look the same?
Weeks went by after the closing and I couldn’t shake the image of the baby picture from my mind. My husband had a friend who dabbled in private investigation so I asked him to do a little digging. I gave him what little information I had and wished him luck whilst secretly hoping he would find nothing.
Days turned to weeks and I found myself staring at my phone waiting for some sort of news as to what he found. Just tell me it was nothing at least. The silence was deafening. I felt like a teenager waiting for that late night phone call. Then it came. I recognized his number on my caller id and my heart began to race. One ring…what did he find? Two rings…what did my parents keep from me? Three rings…do I really want to hear the truth? Four rings…
“Hello?” I nervously answered.
“Sandra? Are you sitting down?” Bob asked me.
“Do I really need to be? Is it that bad?” I asked.
“Listen, you have a sister. She is your twin sister and she wants to meet you.” Bob said calmly.
I tried to breathe as I felt the walls closing in. Blackness was covering my eyes on all sides. I tried desperately to find my kitchen stool behind me so I could sit down.
“Did you say a twin? I have a twin sister? I am 55. I can’t have a twin. Why didn’t they tell me?” I blurted out.
So many questions raced through my head but none that Bob could answer. He did say that she seemed very nice over the phone. She was also very involved in reuniting lost families. She had arranged a flight for me to leave next Tuesday if I was able and there was absolutely no pressure. If all was ok she would meet me in Chicago.
After I calmed down, Bob and I discussed all the details and said our goodbyes as I hung up the phone with more questions than I began the conversation with. Either way Tuesday I was going to meet my twin sister. Saying that seems so strange. I have a twin!
Tuesday arrived quicker than I expected. As I boarded the plane and found my seat, I sat staring out the window wondering what the next few hours would bring. A flight attendant politely asked me to tuck my purse under my seat. As the plane began to take off I realized I forgot my ear plugs. I reached under my seat for my purse and as I pulled it out I found a note attached to it. “Ask for a gluten-free snack”. Um ok? That is such a strange thing to find. I do not eat gluten-free and I am not even sure this is for me but after the last few months I wouldn’t be surprised by much. When the attendant came around with the trolley cart I politely asked for a diet coke and a gluten-free snack. As she handed me my drink she said “let me finish with the other passengers and I will come back for you”.
I waited with my diet coke and slowly found myself watching aisles for the attendant. Where did she go? She finished forever ago. She probably forgot about me. I knew that note was a joke. I probably looked like an idiot asking for a gluten-free snack on an airplane. As I gazed out the window I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. As I turned my head a sweet smile met my eyes and said “follow me”.
I walked behind her and quickly noticed we were going to the very front of the airplane.
“All this for a snack” I asked.
“You’ll see” she said and then smiled as she knocked on the cockpit door. “I need a gluten-free snack from Debra”
The door unlocked and there was my face standing before me. It was me but it wasn’t me. It was my twin.
“Come in Sandra. I know you are confused but I have a few answers.” Debra said.
Debra began to tell me how as a teenager she found out about me. My mother asked her to wait until she had passed to find me but I guess I had beaten her to the punch. The plane and all the other stuff…well, Debra of course became a pilot. She then began a non-profit for the sole purpose of reuniting lost loved ones. Many of the people on the plane were traveling to be reuniting with families in Chicago. As far as the gluten-free snack, well, she just couldn’t wait any longer to meet me.
When we landed in Chicago we spent the next week catching up on a lifetime. We had missed so much we truly felt connected in a way only sisters can be. She was my sister, my friend, my blood, my twin.