The Affectionate Twins

“Whether you’re shuffling a deck of cards or holding your breath, magic is pretty simple: It comes down to training, practice, and experimentation, followed up by ridiculous pursuit and relentless perseverance.” – David Blaine

I was never into yoga. But with your insistence, here we are with our mats rolled out. I glance your way as the instructor announces, “We start with Balasana today!”

Under pressure to offload weight pressing heavily on my shoulders, I welcome the suggestion even though I know your aim is to feign innocence. Curled up into a fetal position, my big thighs shielding me from your wordless rage, I breathe for the first time in months.

The old bray in my heart turns into vapour; a fog that clears as I let go of confusion, suspicion and anger. I welcome understanding. Because I’ve been meditating for months on how to leave space and let love breathe.

But after a three-minute count, curiosity gets the better of me. I lift up my head to see how you’re faring, only to find you elegantly holding the power pose. I bite my lip.

Ace of Hearts

note: I never knew there’s such a fear, syngenesophobia. I came across this word as I pondered the prompt for Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: a Pantry of Prose. I had fun blurring the line between fact and fiction in this story developed from the poem, A Feigned Pose, I wrote a few years ago.

Khaya Ronkainen

32 Comments

  1. I enjoy yoga but I’m not so good with groups of people and crowds just freak me out, so I didn’t last long at our local yoga group because it got too big for me. The following paragraph resonates:
    ‘The old bray in my heart turns into vapour; a fog that clears as I let go of confusion, suspicion and anger. I welcome understanding. Because I’ve been meditating for months on how to leave space and let love breathe.’

  2. Yoga is amazing. However there are plenty of times I have gone through the practice and my mind it worrying about stuff. When I can shut the brain off, it is a perfect break. Syngenesophobia is a new term for me too. I know people with this fear!

  3. I liked the idea of leaving space and letting love breathe. It sounds like a phenomenal experience if one can achieve it. As for yoga….it sounds like it was not a chosen experience, but insisted on by someone who was good at the ‘power pose.’ Ugh!!

  4. All the clues come at once: ‘your aim is to feign innocence’, ‘your wordless rage’, ‘I breathe for the first time in months’. Nice ending, literal and symbolic at the same time.

  5. I did power yoga for a few months once .. but was unfortunately intimidated by the graceful poses of others when I would be falling flat on my face 🙂 Syngenesophobia is a new term for me too. ❤️

  6. There is so much in here. This is one of those stories, I would pick to read with my students, and giggle with expectation as they look at me with expressions, that say, “Yep, Ms. M is excited about something again. I bet she will burst out the Spanish.”

    Let me start with how well the tone and structure work with the topic. The sentences and ideas seem to stretch as if also doing yoga. We see how the narrator sees her body, how she works it so that it will work for her–how she practices, while at the same time noticing what practice has done for another.

    I love the little glimpse into The Bell Jar, that “old bray in my heart”. Perfect words to add to the mood. And the ending, the ending tells a story all by itself. The other character’s power pose, in such a natural way, and the narrator’s closing bite of understanding. The whole thing left me releasing a breath that suggests I was there with her the entire time.

  7. “How to leave space and let love breathe….” such a wonderful line, and so wise. I can see her companion, elegantly holding the power pose. A wonderful read!

  8. I did yoga way back, and realized that it would just take up more and more of time so I quit… to feel intimidated by others was never a problem. As a man I would always be strange anyway.

  9. They say the only person you should be competing with when doing yoga is yourself. LOL, that’s not always an easy position for me to pull off either. But coupled with the baggage that comes from a sibling relationship, I imagine is far more challenging.

  10. I have no siblings but I think we can all relate to family rivalries and the subtle hostilities that take place. I love the last line here. It is so real and human.

  11. Thanks Sumana. I guess like the narrator I’ve learned to welcome understanding even though I’m often curious about the reasons behind.

  12. Glad you enjoy yoga, Kim. Pity the group got too big for you. I, on the other hand, don’t practice yoga at all. It’s something I never gravitated to, perhaps it’s the group thing that doesn’t appeal to me as well. But I’m super pleased some part of the story resonated with you.

  13. Yoga seems popular, and a lot of people sing its praises. Syngenesophobia is a new term for me too. It’s hard to imagine someone afraid of own relatives. I’d love to know how this fear manifests; it’s the strangest thing I’ve heard.

  14. Ha…ha! Mary, the “power pose” can be irritating, indeed. I’ve seen it manifests in a number of strange ways, and yoga was a suitable vehicle in trying to depict this kind of subtle show off or superiority. And, in reality think leaving space and letting love breathe is difficult to achieve than it’s made to sound in the story.

  15. You made me laugh Sanaa, with falling flat on your face while attempting power pose. I guess that’s why people who can master it, seem like they are showing off. That gracefulness can be intimidating. 🙂

  16. Yay, Ms. M bursting out the Spanish is the loveliest compliment! And to journey with the narrator the entire time until release, is a bonus. But I’m also happy you managed to see the narrator take advantage of and benefiting from this situation they found themselves in, even if the benefit is short-lived. Last, the nostalgic mood I borrowed from The Bell Jar, indeed, and I’m glad it worked.

  17. Thanks Sherry, I wish I was as wise as the narrator. Leaving space and letting love breathe is not as easy as it’s made to sound in the story. But I’m pleased to hear you enjoyed the story!

  18. Pity it took much of your time, Björn. Because isn’t the slowing down the basis of yoga, in any case! I wouldn’t know this of course, I don’t practice yoga. I’m outdoorsy kind of girl. As for being strange, I’m not sure. I’ve heard some of my friends sing praise of male yogis!

  19. That’s why I hike, Rommy. To compete with myself, among other things…LOL! And baggage has no room, when I venture out for a good hike. Because I have to carry my luggage instead, in order to survive weeks in the wilderness. But, I agree doing yoga with that kind of relationship baggage might be more challenging, at least for me. But the narrator makes it look achievable.

  20. I’m glad you can relate Myrna, even though you don’t have siblings. Families are made up of other members too, some immediate and others extended. And you bet, subtle hostilities do take place!

  21. “letting love breathe”….a beautiful and wise line. I think there are many who could in some way relate to this phobia. Sometimes getting together for reunions and holidays can bring a whole new set of stresses to life.

  22. I do guided meditation, but have never tried yoga. Oh, there is nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to get the blood flowing. Love this story.

  23. I enjoy and comfortable with guided meditation too, Susie. I tried yoga long time ago, and it just didn’t do it for me. Yes, sibling rivalry does get the blood flowing. Thanks Susie for reading.

  24. It’s comforting to hear I’m the only one who has difficulties with yoga. 🙂 But yes, we need to look after healthy in ways that are comfortable and enjoyable to us. All the best with getting back to exercising.

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