“Zoe or Chloe?” Tia says.
That’s the million dollar question. Who am I? Am I my sister? Or am I me? We both sigh. We both laugh. We both sag our shoulders. How was I supposed to know that a few shared gestures will cause a conflict of telling the difference between two people?
I want to blame my mother for dressing us up alike as kids. I want to accuse my former self of letting it happen. I wish to blame the people who started the conflict. I blame myself for getting conflicted of who I am.
Zoe’s tall. I’m taller. I have hazel eyes. She has brown eyes. She’s a brown girl. I’m a light skin. I have lighter hair than her. I’m quiet. She’s outgoing. Zoe has her style. I have my own.
“I’m Chloe,” I reply. She expression shows defeat. I show an understanding. I feel disappointed.
For all my life I have to bear through the persistence of people thinking we are alike. We “look the same.” I should dismiss it off nor shouldn’t let it get to me. But that is being said about all black people. We all look alike. We’re black. Big lips. Everything. How am I supposed to ignore a stereotype? Why should I?
I always try to dress differently from my sister, even if I have to express contrastingly or to move from my comfort zone to be noticed. To not be put in the same category as her. My personality is different from her. Everything I do is to get away from the ignorance of people. I’m afraid I’ll be so consumed into standing out in the crowd, that I will lose the qualities that make me.
There are those few miracles that came to my life where we were separate people. They did not let the words of ignorance devour their ways of greeting. They were able to notice me. The person who I am.
Thursday evening or Sunday meeting, at the end of the meetings, Brother Carter always told us “It’s the Zoe and Chloe Show!” At a young age, I appreciated it. Loved to be part of my sister. Call me selfish, but I want my space; to be separated. I’ve gained my own electronics, school, and even my own room. It’s bad enough that we must share the suffering of ignorance from people.
When I was 10, I remember on a Sunday morning, there was a special meeting in my congregation. The circuit overseer was there. We were going over the Watchtower. I was going to raise my hand for the next question. He looked around the room until he met my eyes. I smiled. I was ready. At least for the Watchtower.
“Zoe please.” He said. I was confused. Zoe was home, sick. I didn’t register at the moment that he was talking about me. Another brother came with the microphone. I took the microphone and gave a deep breath.
“It’s Chloe,” I replied. He gave a look of shock. I felt my mother’s disappointment. I wasn’t sure then why there was such a reaction. I didn’t realize then the hardened gaze I gave nor the venom in my voice. It was little, but enough for it to be known.
Even to this day, I can’t get past the guilt. The fact that I let such emotions escape from the facilities of the mouth and my eyes. The truth many knows, but don’t wish to meet, was the anger I felt of someone who knew me for years to still mistake me for my sister. I took my time into getting to know people, and yet in return, I “influenced” the ongoing struggle to a separate individual. A slap in the face they say.
I sometimes wish I was the only girl, but I know I don’t want it. I love my sister. I just wish we weren’t forced to be tied to the hip bone. I do hope and know there are people that will take the time and see we are two different people. I do wish they find me. The ones of the constant persistence of merging us together. They can stay a distance from me. As long as I know who I am, I should be good.