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dear ladan

December 4, 2003

dear ladan bijani,
i've never met you in person but we could have been sisters
you were born twenty-nine years ago; i twenty-seven
you were born in the crowded city of tehran, iran; i tokyo, japan
they hated you the minute you were born
the air froze in the room
quivering silence
the mother, your mother,
asking frantically who what where when why
and how
they glanced away but couldn't stop staring at
the freak of nature
i think i can relate

dear ladan, how did it feel
that all the while you were treated like a monster
you always had your twin sister?
what did you say to her?
i was all alone
until the day my mother introduced me to that boy
the boy who spent more time in hospital than i did
the boy all other kids made fun of
the boy i was most afraid of
the boy who shared my unmentionable secret
we just knew, it was too obvious
were you afraid of your sister too?
afraid that she might one day mention the obvious?

dear ladan, don't think that i don't support your decision
don't think that i don't understand your quest for normalcy
because i do
but i refuse to see you as a victim of your own desperation
i refuse to accept that you chose death
i refuse to accept that you chose anything less than life
but you are now gone
newspapers proclaimed
"at death, twins are finally separated"
they removed the vein out of your brain
sacrificed your life to save your sister
dear ladan, who called the shots?
who decided that it was more important to
be normal than to be alive?

i guess i was the successful case
and it was to my advantage that no newspaper bothered to celebrate
the outcome of my little destruction
they removed different set of tissues from me
sacrificed part of who i was to save my mother grief
and yet i survived to tell the stories of my wounds
and i am haunted by the survivor's guilt