W hen I was young, my best friend had a magnet on her kitchen fridge that read:

You are unique, just like everyone else. Underneath those words was a picture of a line of penguins, indistinguishable from each other.

Obviously, I know that we’re all unique. The little things that make me “me” are things no one else shares, not even my twin. Like my secret desire to have only turquoise lighting at my wedding — a desire I never had the guts to share with my mother-in-law, who would have had to pay for it; my obsession with filling my small apartment with plant life, and my equal and opposite dislike of flowers, which die so quickly they just depress me. There’s my need to always wear heels because I’m slightly vertically challenged, my style of clothes… there are so many small things that are unique to me.

Or so I thought, until my brother got engaged.

“She’s fantastic,” he told me about his kallah, beaming, just before he proposed. “She’s just like you.”

“Why, thank you.” I graciously accepted the compliment. It was kind of him to say that — clearly, he didn’t mean it literally, because everyone’s unique, right?

That night, we dashed over to the kallah’s house for the l’chayim. A few moments later, the new couple swept into the room. “Mazel tov!” my mother cried, running over to greet her new daughter-in-law-to-be. “Mazel tov!” smiled Baila, in exactly the same voice I’d used to greet my new mother-in-law at my l’chayim.

For a few moments I was dumbstruck, because the funny thing was: She looked just like me. Same build, similar face, same hair, same voice, for goodness’ sake!

“Mazel tov!” we simpered in identical tones, hugging each other. Then Baila sped off to call her relatives before they found out about her engagement secondhand.

What was even more bizarre was the fact that many guests who arrived to share our simchah confused me for the kallah’s sister. So I wasn’t imagining it — we really were eerily alike.

Well, okay, I rationalized. They say people marry what they’re used to. It’s not a surprise that my brother chose someone who looks familiar. Baila and I may seem similar in some ways, but I’m sure we’re really very different.

A few weeks after the l’chayim, I was chatting to my mother on the phone. “And do you know what Baila’s just told me?” my mother shared. “She’s decided that she wants turquoise lighting at her wedding, of all things! What an idea! Turquoise lighting! Of course, I said yes, no problem, but what a weird idea!”

“Turquoise lighting?” I parroted faintly.

“Apparently it’s her favorite color,” my mother explained.

So what, I thought defensively as I hung up the phone. It’s not a big deal that both me and my sis-in-law-to-be adore all things turquoise. I’m sure there are many people in the world for whom turquoise makes their hearts beat faster.

And then we invited Baila and my brother for a meal. The things she said were so cute, things like, “I told your brother, when we get married we’re going to fill our apartment with plants! We’re going to have, like, trees everywhere! But no flowers, they—”

“—depress you when they die,” I finished her sentence.

“Right!” She laughed. My laugh. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 558)