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  • Light and dark, earth and sky, rain-drenched rich and parched, bone-dry. But these are opposites, with surrounding fields of energy and conjured images and the twins are nothing like that.

    Rather think of a new shiny quarter, spinning deftly on its incised edge, transforming from two-sided flattened disc into vibrating sphere before your eyes. Now as if by magic, the single coin has become two and then five and then seven, singing swelling harmonies in major chords, chiming to a stained glass gospel climax and finishing hushed, a diminished third. This simple coin with two sides, now lying flat and still against the pavement where it worked itself through an exuberant 17-year old's holey pocket, down a slender, muscled leg and plopped where we find it. Heads or tails? And does it matter?

    For Coley and Tannah, there was always the music. It was the binding tie to survive (and thrive) the unnecessary encumbrances children often carry. A family move, a parental split, a shocking discovery of another sibling. But there were a grandmother's gospel melodies in the early mornings and by drinking deeply at that well, the emotional turmoil from yesterday could be dismissed, if you just believe.

    And Tannah does believe. Focused, disciplined and adaptable, she is the stuff that leaders are made of. Her twin brother, Coley, questions. He knows how to control his heart rate, to be present in the moment and draw in a roomful of expectant listeners with his performance. He controls the beat and he is a visionary.

    Their voices are akin to their aspirations in timbre and pitch. Shall I be a teacher? Shall I be a performer? Questions of traveling and making music, of church and college, of the wide world of friends beyond the parochial compartments of New Jersey. And still the glue is the music, the music and the unsung director behind the scenes, their mother.

    The twins spoke the language of music and shared rhythm without words long before the days of toddling and crawling on soft rugs and all throughout the early white-faced days of self restraint in school and self consciousness, thanking silently some probable unseen intelligence that they were not alone, that the world was finally beautiful and large and they were two and that two could stand as one.

    By Karen Joyce Williams

    Want to open the story further? Hear their step father tell his story on NPR's Snap Judgement
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