As seen in UNDO Magazine Issue #5, as “Folie Á Deux”

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It was 2005 and the morning of the first ultrasound appointment he couldn’t make it to.. Rahsan-Rahsan Lindsay was in his office when his wife called. She asked if he was sitting down. There was a cheerful tone in her voice. “You’re not going to tell me we’re having twins, are you?” he asked.

“What’s an ultrasound?” 10-year-old Dell interrupts, as Lindsay, an actor and Senior Vice President of Marketing at TV One, tells me the story over FaceTime. Dell’s identical twin brother Nelson is on the other side of their father. The boys melt into Lindsay’s shoulders as they squeeze together on the couch of their Brooklyn home to fit into the iPhone’s frame. By their appearance, it is obvious the three are related. They share a pair of deep brown eyes, broad noses, and clean cropped hair.

“We’ll talk about it later,” Lindsay laughs.

Ask the boys about what it’s like to have a doppelgänger, and to a twin-less person like myself, it seems like magic. When a song springs into one brother’s head, the other sings it seconds later. “It’s kind of crazy, it happens a lot,” Nelson admits. “We sometimes finish each other’s sentences.”

The unusual link between the two started at an early age, Lindsay says. He remembers when the brothers were in separate cribs and spoke to each other in a made-up language that only they understood. Just 40 percent of twins like Dell and Nelson communicate in a similar way, according to the Institute of General Linguistics.

Studies show identical twins have a deeper bond with each other than any other pairs of people do, including fraternal twins. This strong attachment can sometimes present challenges. Dell and Nelson, for example, rarely leave one another when they’re in the same room. “They’ll sit on the couch, and there will be plenty of space for two people between them, but they’ll be touching,” Lindsay says.

Lindsay worries that the brothers’ tendency to stick together will limit their ability to grow into independent adults. It’s why he’s put them in different classes since they started school. If Dell and Nelson get the same outfits, Lindsay makes sure they’re worn at different times. When the twins refer to themselves collectively as “we” instead of “I,” he reminds them that they’re not the same person.

But parents of identical twins like Lindsay have to be cautious, says Nancy Segal, a psychologist and director of the Twin Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton. “Parents want to strike a good balance between individuality, social closeness, and interdependence,” she says, noting that some twins don’t adjust well to school when they’re separated too early. Letting identicals dress alike occasionally lets them celebrate their unique relationship, she adds.

As Dell and Nelson clamor for space on my screen, I notice their outfits. One is wearing a light gray shirt and dark gray sweats, the other is sporting a dark gray shirt and light gray sweats. Though they’ve technically followed their father’s dress code, I rely on my notes to track who’s who. Luckily, some differences are notable. Dell has a scar on his right eyebrow from face-planting into a wall. Nelson has scars on his left elbow after slipping from monkey bars. Dell has a rounder face, while Nelson speaks in a raspier voice.

As we discuss the boys’ connected behavior, Lindsay leaves the couch to show me their bedroom. There’s a Joe Johnson bobble-head, twin white piggy banks with their names in red, and their initials over matching striped beds. He’s only gone for a minute when he comes back, and Nelson is found hugging Dell on the couch. The two are singing “Blue Gangsta” by Michael Jackson. I laugh as Lindsay questions whether it’s actually a real track (I later find out that it is).

In a decade, when the twins live independent lives, the two will remember the times they’ve shared and reflect not on being identical, but the awesomeness of spending their childhoods together. Their twin-ship may seem like magic to someone like me, but to these two, it’s as natural as knowing the lyrics to a Jackson song.