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Mother: A Doppelganger Novella (Part 5)


Part 5

The long, hot summer was winding down and I haven’t seen my double, but I have heard her song often. I would be doing something like shopping, and I would hear the song on the speakers in the store. I would be sitting on the steps in front of my apartment and a car would pass on the street, her song blaring out of it. I tried to just ignore what I was hearing and concentrate on anything else. Maybe the song was making a come back or maybe people are rediscovering music from the 1930’s, I told myself whenever I heard it. Deep down, I knew that wasn't it.

It wasn’t till my birthday in October, that I saw her again. My birthday fell on a Friday that year. Tammy and Kathy from the office wanted to take me out to lunch at a sushi place near the office. We had just sat down and we ordered drinks right away. We finally decided on what to order and we called the waitress over.

The waitress took our orders and we made small talk as we sipped our drinks. Tammy smiled at me teasingly and said, “So, Lori, are you seeing anyone or have you sworn off relationships?”,
“No, I haven’t sworn off anything!”, I said.
“Then, what’s going on? You haven’t been trying to meet anyone!”, Kathy joined in.
“Well, if you know anyone that I would like, then tell me about him”, I answered.
“As a matter of fact, I do know someone and I already gave him your number!”, Tammy declared while cringing away from me, laughing.
“What???!!! Why would you do that?? I mean, you didn’t even ask me if it would be alright to give a stranger my number!”

I was not happy that Tammy gave away my number without asking, but I pretended that I was not really upset. These women were taking me out for my birthday and the least that I can do is to be gracious, and not allow the annoyance to show on my face.

“Lori, look, he’s a really nice guy. Do you think I would give your number to some psycho?”, Tammy asked
“No, I don’t think you would do that. Alright, spill it, who is this amazing man that will sweep me off my feet?”, I answered, playfully.
“His name is Sean, he is really sweet and really wants to meet someone special, so I thought of you.”, Tammy answered.
“Alright, I will speak to him, if he calls, he probably won’t.”, I said

Tammy was about to say something, but the waitress brought out our food. As we settled in to eat, Tammy spoke, “Look, just keep an open mind, are you gonna be one of those old women with like 20 cats and no man?”
“No! Fine, I will speak to what’s his name, again?”, I said, laughing.
“Sean, his name is Sean!”, Tammy and Kathy kept laughing and making jokes about old ladies with cats.
Then, I heard it, her song, coming over the speakers at the restaurant.

“Did you ever see a dream walking? Well, I did
Did you ever hear a dream talking? Well, I did
Did you ever have a dream thrill you with, "Will you be mine?"
Oh, it's so grand and it's too, too divine”

I suddenly felt a cold sweat break all over my body, I looked around me. This can’t be a coincidence, I thought. Why would I hear this song in a sushi restaurant? I looked at Tammy and Kathy, did they hear the song, too? I asked them if they heard the old song and they looked at me strangely.
“Lori, there is no music on, something must be wrong with their system.”, Kathy said. I laughed and said,"I must be really tired, I'm hearing things."

We were finished with lunch and waiting for the check when the waitress walked to our table and set a drink down in front of me. It was a Shirley Temple, I love Shirley Temples, but not many people know this about me. I stopped the waitress before she walked away, “Excuse me, I didn’t order this”, I said.
“Oh, I’m sorry, yes, a young lady ordered this for you. She said to tell you happy birthday.”, the waitress answered while pointing at a table in the back of the restaurant.

I looked to where the waitress pointed and saw her. A young woman in a long black dress. At first, I couldn’t see her face because was looking down into her open purse and then she looked up. She had long dark hair and big brown eyes. She smiled and waved at me while mouthing “happy birthday”. I was staring at my own face and the song played on.

I excused myself from the table and tried to make my way to the back of the restaurant. I wanted to speak to my double. She knew it was my birthday, and sent a drink for my birthday. What else does she know and who was she?, I thought. By the time I got to her table, she wasn’t there anymore. I asked the waitress if she had seen where the young woman may have gone. The waitress didn’t know, but she did ask me which one of us was older, she thought the young woman was my twin. I stood there for a moment. I was confused and a little scared. As I started back to my own table, I saw that Tammy and Kathy were getting ready to leave the restaurant. They paid the check and were waiting for me so we can all leave together.

Tammy, Kathy, and I went back to the office. I thanked them for taking me out to lunch and told them how much I enjoyed it. The young woman never left my mind and I was determined to find out who she was. There must an explanation for this. We couldn’t be twins that were separated at birth because I was sure that the young woman in the restaurant is the toddler at the park, the girl in the bathroom, and the girl in the subway. Although, I know that a human being can’t age this fast, I was sure that they were all one and the same.

That evening, Sean, the guy that Tammy gave my number to, called me. We talked for a little while. He was very polite and funny. I told him it was my birthday, he didn’t know it was that day, and he wished me a happy birthday. Sean lived in upstate New York, but he asked me if I would like to go out to dinner. He said that he sometimes came to the city to visit family and that it would be great if we got to know each other.

It’s been a very long while since I actually met anyone that I liked and Sean seemed like a gentleman on the phone. I told him that I would like to keep in touch and that I would love to meet for dinner when he came to the city. I was smiling to myself when my conversation with Sean ended. Maybe this was going to be a good thing and he took my mind off of my double. I got ready for bed, but I couldn't sleep for hours.

© 2021 Johanna Elattar

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