Miniature Twins | Omer Friedlander | Granta

Miniature Twins

Omer Friedlander

My twin brother Elam and I were born prematurely in Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital in Jerusalem. I weighed 800 grams, while my brother was a bit bigger at 1.2 kilos. Our parents named us Omer and Elam. In Hebrew, our names share the same first letter, ayin – ע – which also means eye. We were so small, palm-sized, that our parents went to a doll shop in Jerusalem to find clothes that would fit us.

The Torah passage we recited on our bar mitzvah, assigned by date of birth, was the shortest of the entire year – and we split it in half, like we did with the rest of the world. My brother’s half of the world was centered on music, his love for classical and jazz. He drifted from piano to cello and finally settled on double bass – the largest stringed instrument in the entire orchestra. When he moved to New York City, he took the double bass from gig to gig, lugging it to Harlem, Jersey City, Bed-Stuy and the West Village, in snowstorms, under the glare of the summer sun, when leaves fell from the trees and carpeted the sidewalks, in the piss and chaos of subway stations. He carried the double bass around like a second person, another half.

Omer Friedlander

Omer Friedlander is the author of the short story collection The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land. He has an MFA from Boston University, where he was supported by the Saul Bellow Fellowship, and is now a Starworks Fellow in Fiction at New York University. His stories have won multiple awards, and his writing has been supported by the Bread Loaf Work-Study Scholarship and Vermont Studio Center Fellowship.

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