Chang and Eng shared a liver.
For eight years, they toured America and England performing
acrobatics (although denied entry to France: officials feared their malady would spread to pregnant
In America, they always appeared with the image of an eagle and the motto, Union and
Liberty, one and inseparable, now and forever. Like two states in a united nation. Like their
home state, North Carolina,
where they retired at 28, became farmers, married sisters, and between
them sired 21 children.
Emerson once wrote that life cannot be divided or doubled. Any invasion
of its unity would be chaos. The soul is not twin-born, but the only begotten...
I wonder how they
taught themselves that delicate dance: when to fuse, when to be separate, how to make their own
The newspapers wrote that Eng died of fright, waking next to his dead brother in the dark.
But really Chang died from a cerebral clot, and when blood pooled in his body, Eng bled to death.
The body is a mysterious housing: it brings us pleasure, fails us daily, encloses a fragile sense of self.
It is where we live. And when we die, our other half goes too.