The short story “Same Same but Different” by Anne Hayden follows a female narrator who is struggling to accept her twin sister’s death and find her own identity.
The short story begins in media res, in the middle of a date between the narrator and an Australian man: “I’m sitting in a cafe in Melbourne when that song comes on, ‘When Will I Be Famous?’. There I am sipping a flat white, they love their flat whites over here, and listening to this Aussie lad…” (ll. 1-3)
The middle of the story explores the way present events make the narrator remember her dead sister.
The discussion with Luke in the café reminds her of the summer she spent in New York with Molly and the differences between her and her sister. The narrator’s conflict with her sister’s death is suggested by the fact that she does not want to talk about her: “It wasn’t my friend, actually, it was Molly who was the culprit, but I don’t mention that because then he’d say something like ‘oh, you have a twin sister’ and I’d have to either lie or explain things.” (ll. 22-24)
Inventing an excuse and leaving her date with Luke, the narrator strolls on the streets of Melbourne, and keeps thinking about Molly and having flashbacks from the past.
In this way, we find out that the narrator left Dublin to be away from her sister’s memory: “I moved to Australia a few months ago because I was tired of everyone’s pity and morbid curiosity at home.” (ll. 39-40); “The recession was my official excuse for leaving but mostly I was trying to get away from my parents. I couldn’t stand their sadness anymore...” (ll. 47-48)
The ending of the story presents the narrator starting to be more reconciled to her sister’s death. Realising that she cannot escape Molly’s death and memory, she decides to return to her original look: