What It Feels Like to Be Hansel and Gretel

By Andrew and Edward Tindell // As Told to Joseph Kestian and Alexander Riedel

He is my brother.

I am his brother.

Without each other we would be incomplete.

Instead of two, we are one.

Some like to think that there has to be something to dislike about your sibling. Yeah, we get annoyed with each other, but we wouldn’t trade our relationship for the world. Not many people can say that they’re best friends with their brother. As kids we always wore the same outfits, had the same friends and, at the end of the day, we always came home to the same house. There is no better feeling than knowing you have a right-hand-man at your side at all times.

Having a brother is something special we hold close to us, especially since we’re twins. There is always a shoulder to cry on, an extra helping hand, and a listening ear. There came a time in our lives when we only had each other. Our father is a veteran and he served in the military for most of our childhood. He would leave on his missions and be gone for weeks, months, and even years at a time. It was a separation that we couldn’t control and that was hard for us to accept. There were so many times when we questioned our father, wondering why he would leave us.

Are we not good enough?

What did we do wrong?

We had always been really close before, but it was during his absence that we grew closer than ever. Instead of having him as a shoulder to cry on, we had each other, and that is what really made the bond and dependence grow deeper.

Our father gave us a small pillow when we were young; it was his sentimental gift to us before he left. It was white with a picture of our family embroidered on it, and a small yellow ribbon wrapped around it. The pillow sat on our beds, awaiting our arrival everytime we got home. It was dad waiting for us to come say goodnight and then to say good morning when we woke. No matter what, dad was always with us, even when he was across the world.

One time, it had been a year since we saw dad last. Everyday began with waking up in hopes that he would be there and at night we would come home from games or practices wishing he would be in the living room waiting for us.

We sat in class one day, daydreaming as the teacher stood in front of us teaching history. The intercom went off, asking for the two boys by the names of Eddy and Andy. We looked at each other confused but our innocent minds had no idea what to think. We walked down the hallway towards the office with our teacher. As we walked in we saw a man standing there with a huge grin on his face.

Who is this man?

Why is he smiling at us?

The strange man said our names. We couldn’t believe our eyes. It was dad. We sprinted towards him with our hearts racing. He opened his arms and hugged us, making us squeeze against each other nearly suffocating us. Smiles came across our faces as the tears began to run down our cheeks.

Dad is home.

We were overcome with emotion. The man we had dreamed of everyday, the man we had missed so much was finally home with his family. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. He missed a whole year of our lives. He wasn’t there for our sports games, or to make us breakfast in the morning. When he came home, there were so many things he had to re-learn, and so many things we had to adapt to in our lives.

We can’t recall how long it took Dad to get back in to the rhythm of being home. We were so happy to have him back.

We are firm believers that everything happens for a reason. Dad left for a reason; he left to serve his country and to provide for his family. We didn’t comprehend the fact that he was helping us.

Having him gone for short to long periods of time taught us to appreciate every second we have with each other and our family. Since then our bond with one another is greater than ever before. We do so much with our dad and bond over just about everything.

That separation, though it was hard, brought us closer. Life isn’t easy when your household is split up like it was for us. Dad leaving for his mission wasn’t a bad thing, and we didn’t know that. We had moments where we would blame ourselves as individuals. As we went through this, we remembered that we were never alone. No matter what, we learned to support each other through everything. We helped each other. We spent time with one another. We told each other everything that was happening to us or what we were thinking at all times. As a result we found many similar passions and interests that we still bond over today.

Having a twin brother is a blessing for both of us. There are times when we want to rip each other’s heads off, but then those frustrations are followed by a bro hug that is more meaningful than it seems. We went through a time where we could have been separated. Our relationship could have been jeopardized. The thought of ever losing each other keeps us up at night. It’s absolutely horrifying.

That time in our lives taught us that each other’s presence is everything to us.

Instead of two, we became one.

We are brothers.