A Birthday to Forget

My sister and I are twins. We're fraternal twins, not identical twins, but the number of people who ask if we are identical is beyond belief! The fact that we don't look identical should be a clue but no, people have to ask. Being twins, our birthday celebrations have always been a joint affair. Last year I suggested we go paint-balling and Sally thought it was a great idea. I invited two of my friends and she invited two of hers and all six of us donned the camouflage and took up arms before taking part in battles, skirmishes, campaigns and missions. The photograph was taken before the first battle. It didn't take long for our outfits to be covered in numerous splats of red, yellow, green and blue paint. We all had a great time and talked about it for weeks afterwards.

Back row: Jordan, Mark, Peter (me).
Front row: Kirsten, Sally (my sister), Mollie.
This year, I suggested we have another paint-ball party, but Sally wasn't keen for two reasons. One; doing the same thing again is boring and unimaginative. Two; it's her turn to think of something. Fair enough, I thought. Although she didn't have any firm ideas beyond going to the cinema or maybe the bowling alley. Sally finally decided that she wanted a 'traditional' party at home with a few friends, a birthday buffet and plenty of party games. I thought it sounded boring and unimaginative (and a little bit childish) but it's her turn to choose so... whatever!

May Day

It was a few weeks before Easter when the Cubs and Brownies began their rehearsals for the May Pole dance. It was definitely more of a girl thing than a boy thing; skipping around with garlands of flowers and long lengths of ribbon. It was also the time of year when the Brownies would be getting giddy about who would be chosen as this year’s May Queen. The only difference this year is the fact that Brown Owl had made a radical suggestion for updating the selection system and for the first year ever, both girls and boys could be nominated.

Initially we weren't worried because no boy would ever nominate himself nor be chosen over a girl. It was nothing more than an exercise in equality, balancing boy's rights with women's rights, my mother claimed. But during the May Pole dance class one Thursday evening, Brown Owl announced that the eight nominees for this year's May Queen had been chosen. “...and I'm delighted to inform you that we have five girls and three boys!”

We all gasped. The Cubs began nervously grumbling amongst themselves whilst the Brownies began whispering and giggling behind cupped hands. “I hope Roger Fletcher's one of them!” one of the Brownies giggled. Roger countered and suggested one of the younger Cubs. Other names were suggested until the Cub Scout Leader quietened us down. Once we were attentive, Brown Owl stepped forward and began to read a list of names. “Jane Cleaver, Brian Preston...”

A host of gasps and giggles erupted and somewhere in the background noise, one could just make out Brian meekly mutter “Oh no.”

Brown Owl continued. “Paula Baxter, Claire Woolford, Andrew Preston...” more giggles and sniggers erupted. I looked over at Andrew who hung his head. “Amanda Barton, Peter Jackson and Wendy Miles.”

It took a moment for it to sink in. Initially I thought I’d misheard but the sniggers and giggles and all the eyes glancing at me confirmed that I was on the list. “What!?” I blurted. “How can I be on the list? ...I didn't even nominate myself!”.