Differentiation came first. Smells and textures. Mom was sandalwood and satin and soft sucky breasts. Dad was gin and tobacco tweed, scratchy and smelly. Darrow was hairy floppy barky. Cal was more difficult — she could not initially distinguish him from herself.
Cal was risk. Cal was a restless tester, a boundary bucking boychild who ran rings around the rules. And that part of her that was him was thrilled by this even as that part of her that was indisputably her (and surely the part that must prevail if she was to have a life) was frightened by it. And the two parts of her acting together, the him part and the her part, caused her to encourage her brother's impulsive enthusiasms even as she tried to constrain his boldest behavior.
Structure quickly followed. Almost from the moment she experienced the root division of the universe into self and other, her mind sought structure. And if structure was not readily apparent in what confronted her, she learned to create and impose an inner logic of her own with the willful omnipotence of the gifted child.
Her girl child world was connections, consequences, cause and effect. Finish the vegetables and you got dessert. Birthdays came with presents. Rain meant rubber coats.
Rules. Structure. How to live. She saw it as a huge interlocking code forever elusive in its totality lying just below the outer edge of her forward moving, expanding life. Requiring — demanding — constant assimilation and adjustment.
And she was a good child, oh yes! A good girl who learned the rules and did what was expected of her and pleased her parents and teachers.
But this good girlchild harbored within her a part that was her twin, who's separate existence made no sense and followed no rules because he was both her and other than her at the same time, something she accepted completely even as she sought some paradigm to reveal how this could possibly be so.
They were four years old, seated facing each other in a waist deep tub of slowly draining water, waiting for their mother to return from answering the phone to finish their baths. As the steaming water sank below their baby pink parts and gurgled down the drain, Cal leaned forward and placed his hand gently, palm up, between Corey's legs.
"We're different here."
Corey laughed and squirmed away.
"Yours looks like a frog, Cal."
"Yours looks like a cut."
"Why are we different?"
"It's about babies."
"What about babies?"
"I want my babies to be just like us."
"And I'm sure they will be, beautiful babies just like you," said their mother as she reentered the bathroom. "Cal, leave your sister alone.
"He's not hurting me," said Corey, laughing and throwing soapsuds at Cal.
"That's not the point, young lady."
"What's a point?"
"The point is, little boys and little girls don't touch each other there. Especially brothers and sisters. That's a rule."
"Oh," said Corey, and almost immediately began to create a mental framework, a place in her mind for a new set of strictures to be gleaned from the immense web of underlying laws, new rules to be learned about limits to behavior she could not even begin, at the age of four, to conceive of.