Ricky Turcios

First place, fiction, Heard/Arlington County Detention Center writing contest, August 2021

This is about a life of twins, not just any twins, conjoined twins. On the right, there was Ben and on the left there was Ken. In the womb, yes, they were twins with their own bodies but as they grew they tried to absorb one another. It was a constant battle between Ben and Ken even before birth.

But eventually nine months had passed but by then the twins were already fused to one another.  As they mother, Nataly pushed and pushed Ben was the first to come out or should we say the first half to come out. To everyone’s surprise, shortly after Ben arrived Ken came as well. No one, not the nurses, doctors, midwives or Derrick and Nataly the mother and father of the twins expected this to happen or be possible, since the doctor had not seen or said there was a chance of this being an outcome.

But to Derrick and Nataly it didn’t matter, they were going to love them as any parents expecting wins would. After a week in the hospital after the birth of the twins were ready and excited to be able to bring the boys home. Raising Ben and Ken was as normal as raising conjoined twins could be.

As the boys grew older, it was a constant battle of left vs right, right vs left, etc.  From which direction to walk, what to eat, what toys to play with, what color clothes they enjoyed wearing.  Even at a young age, Derrick and Nataly could see that Ben and Ken were their own persons linked only by sharing one body.

As Ben and Ken became older their intrests were different from one another. Ben enjoyed logic and reason with math and science, while Ken enjoyed emotions and being a free spirit with art and music. Their mother and father never played favorites and loved each the son the same.

But Derrick and Nataly slowly were becoming worried that the conflicts Ben and Ken were having. The boys were in high school by now and had different goals and ambitions.  Ben wanted to study math and science to make a career out of it, either an accountant or a scientist.  Ken wanted to further his studies in art and music to become either an artist or music producer.  The twins would argue about what subjects/activities to invest their time and energy into. Their parents did not take sides they just wanted them to be happy and successful. Derrick and Nataly soon wondered what the outcome would be and if there was any way the twins could agree to be one together.

Derick and Nataly soon found themselves talking to doctors and therapists to see if anything could be done to help them. Eventually Ben and Ken took matters into their own hands and found a surgery that could help them live their own lives and a doctor more than willing to do it.  It was simple, well easier said than done. The surgery would split the twins apart giving them their own bodies.  The survival rate was 50-50 meaning either twin could die from this. After showing their parents and week of talking and thinking and pleading, Nataly and Derrick decided to support it. It meant the world to their sons and [they] wanted them to be happy and live their own lives.

After countless appointments and discussions, Ben and Ken were ready to do the surgery.  Nataly and Derrick asked the boys if this is truly what they wanted and that this was their last chance to back out. For once in a long time, Ben and Ken agreed in unison that this is what they wanted. The twins were placed and prepped for the surgery, the doctor put the twins under and told them to count backwards from 10. Ben and Ken fell into a deep sleep. It had been 13 hours since the twins went into the operation room, and fear had taken over Derrick and Nataly.

Another two hours would pass before the doctor came out and told them it was done. When Ben woke up in his hospital room he saw his mother and father by his side with a mirror. Ben had the biggest grin on his face.

But as Ben looked around the room he felt an urgency, where was his brother Ken? Ben frantically looked left and right, right and left, but could not see his twin.  Ben quickly stood on his feet ready to bust out of the room to find his brother. He heard a flushing sound from the bathroom and out came his twin Ken in his own body. The brothers hugged and cried tears of joy that they both got what they wanted.

Nataly and Derrick teared up as they saw both their sons for the first time be their own. It took some adjusting but Ben and Ken came out strong. The twins graduated high school. Both applied colleges that interested them. Ben went off to Texas to study math and computer science, while Ken went off to New York to study fashion and music engineering.

Nataly and Derrick were proud of them both and happy to see them take off on their own and study what had interested them.  Even though thousands [of] miles apart, the twins could still feel one another and would always be spiritually attached.