Written by Anna Okon
Maryjane and Annette were two peas in a pod. The twins were identical in every way. Aside from their mother, it was very difficult for other people, including friends, to identify one from the other.
Maryjane and Annette took advantage of this feature and got away with numerous pranks. Their mother, Arden, had enrolled them in the same secondary school but an incident made her separate them. One day, Annette was caught when she tried to impersonate and write an impromptu test for Maryjane! Her sister had broken the hostel rules and gone for a friend's birthday party in a neighbouring city. Unknown to her, the mathematics teacher organised an impromptu test at the end of the class. When she got wind of the test, Annette quickly sneaked into the class when she taught the teacher was not watching. At the end of the exercise, the teacher informed her that he was aware of what she had done.
The matter was brought to the notice of the principal, who immediately summoned their mother. The principal threatened to expel Annette and gave their mother an ultimatum- she either withdrew Annette from the school or have the twins expelled. As a result, the girls were separated from each other for the first time since birth.
Maryjane could not face being separated from Annette. She wept bitterly and fell ill. Annette assured her that they would always visit each other in school. Their mother ensured that Annette was enrolled in a nearby school.
The incident sobered Maryjane and she became more serious with her studies. She never played pranks in school again. Her sister visited her whenever she had time between classes and they hung out at the school cafeteria together. At the end of the school year, Maryjane emerged top of her class. Annette also took top position in her class.
That year, their mother took them on a summer vacation abroad. Although she had raised them as a single mother, Arden took great pride in the way her twins turned out. She was not ashamed of the fact that they were a product of a casual fling with a visiting diplomat from the Caribbean Island.
The man, Peter Thompson, was married and Elizabeth did not think it would be proper to break another woman's home since he only spent one month in Nigeria on official duty.
When the children sought to know about their father, she came up with this explanation: "Your father was a visiting sailor. Unfortunately, by the time you were born, I lost touch with him.'' Since then, however, Maryjane and Annette had secretly tried to locate their father. They gathered data, asked questions and looked up every Peter Thompson in phone books and other records. Their mother had no idea that they were looking for their father.
One day, they were able to locate a man by that name on the yellow pages but the man was listed as a diplomat from the Caribbean Island and not a sailor as their mother made them to believe. They eventually gave up the search and continued with their lives.
Arden worked in an advertising and public relations agency. As one of the top managers, she was entitled to a lot of privileges including foreign trips once a year. The company also made provision for scholarship scheme for children of senior staff. After their secondary education, Maryjane and Annette were placed on the company's list of beneficiaries. Both had wanted to study law but their mother kicked against the idea. "Both of you cannot be in the same discipline. You have to be separated at a certain point in your life, no matter how dreadful that sounds. That is the only way you can grow up as independent women,'' she advised them.
So, while Maryjane chose medicine, Annette settled for law in different universities.
"One thing I would not have you do is board the same flight home whenever you are on holidays. When we travel out of the country we can afford to board the same flight. When you are on vacation, don't wait for each other. I am not saying something bad would happen but it is better to take precautions," their mother also advised.
But the two tried as much as possible to stay close. They went to each other's school whenever they could get away. In her third year in school, Annette met and fell in love with George, a 400 level medical student. George was from the Niger Delta region and his family was very influential. He was head over heels in love with Annette and always said he could not wait for the semester to end in order to take her home and introduce her to his parents.
The semester finally ended and Annette and George started making preparations to travel to Delta State to visit his parents. George knew Annette had a twin sister but he had not met her. Each time Maryjane came around, George was either busy or out of campus.
Annette had insisted, however, that for the trip to Delta State, Maryjane would have to accompany them. George was excited at the prospect. He would finally get to meet Annette's twin. They fixed the trip for the Christmas holidays.
Arden knew about the whole arrangement because her daughter had told her so much about the young man. She had also spoken to him several times on phone and he sounded like a responsible man. She was the one who suggested that Maryjane accompany her sister to Delta State. The idea was for them to look after each other.
They travelled a week after their semester exams and Maryjane came to school to join them. George saw her for the first time and to him the resemblance was uncanny. "I would never be able to tell them apart in a million years," he told himself.
They boarded the morning flight and in 30 minutes, they arrived in Delta State. The parents and relations of George were awed by the twins and could not stop fussing over them.
Maryjane and Annette spent three days in Delta State. They were to spend one week and then leave for Lagos to see their mother. But things went horribly wrong.
Maryjane and Annette are twins. Annette's love relationship blossomed and George, her fiancé, decided introducing her to his parents. Maryjane also joined them on the visit….
The twins' stay with George's people was short-lived. Annette was surprised when George announced that they had to leave on the morning of the fourth day. When pressed by Annette, he told her that he had some urgent errands to run for one of his lecturers in Lagos.
Maryjane on the other hand, said nothing when Annette complained of the sudden decision to cut short their stay. "I have never known him to be an impulsive person," she told Maryjane. But her sister kept quiet.
"What is the problem with you Maryjane? You have been quiet since morning. Are you the one who suggested to George that we should leave?''
"No, I could not have suggested that to him. I am not his beloved girlfriend," she replied.
The three took the flight by noon to Port Harcourt. The twins went to their mother, who was very pleased to see them. "You are welcome George. Finally, we meet and you are much more handsome than my daughter described you," their mother said.
In Port Harcourt, they had a lot of fun as their mother feted them but Annette noticed that George had developed this closeness towards her. He stuck to her as if his life depended on it. It was strange because she knew George was always a very confident man. Meanwhile, Maryjane tried several times to bond with her sister and her fiancé but George showed no desire to associate with her.
George left for Lagos the day after arriving in Port Harcourt, much to the dismay of the girls' mother who had planned to show off the handsome medical doctor to her close friends. But he promised to be back and stay for a longer period of time.
After the Christmas holidays, they all returned to school and George told Annette that he would not be returning that week. He had to run some errands for his uncle who just came in from the United States of America.
Meanwhile, Maryjane also became very distant and Annette was coming to her school more often than she was going to hers. Her twin could not place a finger on what her sister's strange behaviour was all about.
Two months into the semester, Annette went to visit Maryjane. Her twin had not visited her for more than one month! It was a very strange attitude because Maryjane never missed coming to see her. She was afraid that something must have happened to her sister.
When she got to the campus, her sister was not available and the roommates told her that Maryjane was on the main campus. Annette went there and saw her sister just coming out of the school's clinic.
"My sister is ill," she told herself as fear gripped her heart. "Maryjane, are you ill?" But there were no answers from Maryjane, who simply moved ahead as if she did not hear what her sister was saying.
Annette noticed that her sister's complexion had turned sallow and she was also looking very dull. Immediately, she made up her mind to call their mother.
"Why are you calling mom?" her sister asked.
"You are not well and she ought to know,'' Annette said.
"Who told you that I am not well? Are you a doctor?'' she asked her sister.
"I am not a doctor but you cannot deny that I saw you coming out of the clinic. Besides, you look very pale," Annette insisted.
"I am not ill. By the way, how is George? Is he in town? Maryjane asked.
"Yes, he is in school."
"Has he been asking of me?'' Maryjane asked.
"No, he has never bothered to ask after you since we came back from the Christmas holidays,'' her sister replied.
Again, after two months and not hearing from her twin, Annette went on a visit. This time, she saw Maryjane looking very big.
"Maryjane, what has been happening to you? You look like an overfed cow. What have you been eating?" Annette said humorously.
It was Maryjane's friend, who replied Annette. "You mean you don't know? Didn't your sister tell you that she is pregnant?''
Annette was shocked. Maryjane was pregnant? How? But she had no steady boyfriend. Immediately, she called their mother before Maryjane could stop her.
Their mother came to school and put pressure on her daughter. She kept asking her who was responsible.
"It is George," Maryjane said.
Annette did not believe her sister. "George, my fiancé? That is a lie! Mom, ask her to tell you who is responsible," Annette said. But Maryjane insisted and Annette confronted George, who also denied.
Elizabeth insisted on a DNA test and George was confirmed to be the father of Maryjane's baby!
"How did this happen?'' a devastated Annette wondered. George then confessed: "It was during last Christmas holiday. Maryjane had entered my room wearing your night dress. I thought you were the one but got to know after the damage was done. I am sorry Annette. You do know that this situation will change our relationship and I may have to marry your sister since she is having my child. My family would never forgive me if I abandon the mother of my first child," George said.
*All names and events are fictitious.