THE END

JENILEE HEATHER EVANS & JILLIAN JOAN EVANS 1984 - 2005

Born 11 minutes apart, they always stuck together. ‘They were so different, but they were the same person.’

CATHY GULLI January 23 2006
THE END

JENILEE HEATHER EVANS & JILLIAN JOAN EVANS 1984 - 2005

Born 11 minutes apart, they always stuck together. ‘They were so different, but they were the same person.’

CATHY GULLI January 23 2006

JENILEE HEATHER EVANS & JILLIAN JOAN EVANS 1984 - 2005

THE END

Born 11 minutes apart, they always stuck together. ‘They were so different, but they were the same person.’

Jenilee Heather and Jillian Joan Evans were born 11 minutes apart on Sept. 13, 1984, at the Regina General Hospital in Saskatchewan. They weighed four pounds, four ounces each, but Jeni was longer, and remained taller as they grew. Jill had webbed toes like her maternal grandfather. Their parents, Brent, an electrician, and Bridget, an office clerk, also had a son, Jason, older than the fraternal twins by 10 years.

Jeni andjill were best friends and always together. As children, they dressed in opposite colours of the same outfit, and insisted their hair be pinned exactly the same way.

Often they had food fights with the Jell-0 jigglers their mother would make at lunch, but they were fair with each other. “Everything was turns,” remembers Bridget, from who’d get to sit in the front seat of the car to who would sleep in the top bunk.

When they were about 6, Jeni and Jill decided it was time they had their own bedrooms. But “it didn’t take long for them to come back together,” says Bridget. Every morning, she and Brent would find one asleep in the other’s single bed, each at opposite ends.

During high school, Jill demanded her own space again, but this time she moved in with a boyfriend. Jeni moved with their parents into a new condo across the creek from their old house.

Eventually, Jill found her way back to them, and asked for her own room.

“But she never used it,” laughs Brent.

She slept with Jeni, in a king bed.

Jeni, also called “Jenna,” was the motherly, level-headed one of the twins. School came easily to her, and growing up she correctedjill when she mixed up words, as with “limousine” and “tuxedo.” After high school, Jeni studied nursing for one year. She dropped out after realizing she would be too emotional to deal with patients, but planned to eventually continue post-secondary studies. Lately she worked at a call centre, and was fascinated by the Americans she talked with on the phone.

Jill (“Jillybean”) was the rebel. She didn’t finish high school as a teenager, but was now taking night classes to get her diploma. She loved running, and spent every morning outside or on the treadmill. She hoped to go to university next year, and kinesiology was one area she had in mind. During the day, Jill waitressed at locals pubs, and her co-workers and regular customers described her as a “sparkplug,” always smiling and energetic.

“They were so different, but they were the same person,” recalls Tabitha Worby, who was their closest friend since they were 7. Lately, every Friday night, the three of them went to the Lazy Owl, a Uni-

versity of Regina bar, and danced all night. Jill would wear one of her signature miniskirts, platform shoes and a sleek top, while Jeni would opt for a “mystical” outfit, inspired by the images of pixies she had in her bedroom, which to her symbolized womanly power. “They complemented each other so well,” says Tabitha. “And they would always look on the positive side. They taught people how to do that.”

At a house party on New Year’s Eve in 1999, Jeni and Jill met Chris Watson. He had just moved to Regina and was lonely and suicidal, though the twins didn’t know that. As he was leaving the party to go end his life, Jill caught up with Chris and asked if he would clean up Jeni, who had been sick. In a bathroom upstairs, Jeni and Chris talked about personal problems they were each dealing with. When Chris offered her encouragement, she began urging him to become a counsellor. “Before that I was going nowhere with my life,” says Chris, but “I started to strive for that, and Jeni kept pushing me.” Now in his last year of university for a counselling degree, Chris says, “I don’t think Jeni ever knew she saved my life. Those girls [were] angels.”

This summer,Jeni andjill planned a trip to Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana with their parents. Brent and Bridget would ride their motorcycle, and the twins would take the one Jeni had recently bought. They had been there years earlier on a family trip, and the majestic landscape led Jeni andjill to half-joke about having their ashes scattered there. Bridget said that they would have to find a Canadian location. Another motorcycle trip, to Marble Canyon in Radium, B.C., provided that.

Over the past year, Jeni andjill had grown into beautiful women, say Brent and Bridget. Their relationships with their boyfriends, Jon and Brad, were maturing. And the twins were making more time for their family, spending all of Christmas Day playing cards with their parents and brother. “That never happened before,” says Bridget.

On a typical Friday night last month Jeni picked up Jill from work. They had planned to meet Tabitha and her sister at the Owl for a night of dancing. At an intersection on the way, Jeni andjill waited to turn left when a pickup truck driven by a young man hit them. He allegedly had been drinking.

On Dec. 30,2005, Jenilee andjillian Evans, aged 21, died 10 minutes apart at the Regina General Hospital, both of heart failure. Hours later, their brother Jason said he could hear them: “Come on Jill, it’s time to go.” “Wait for me, Jeni, I’m coming.” Some of their ashes will be scattered at Marble Canyon this summer.

CATHY GULLI