He moves about with ease and confidence, talking to the people I talk to, doing the things I do. The likeness is beyond uncanny. It’s like we’re twins, except I know for a fact that I am the only child in my family. Everyone swarms around him, for he is the life of the party, laughing merrily, chatting endlessly. They look at his mirthful eyes, bask in his carefree aura.
No one looks at me. No one acknowledges my existence. No one wants to.
Over the past few years, he has studied me carefully. He has taken notes, he has done his homework. He knows how to move like me, how to speak like me, how to laugh like me. He has become me.
‘Look at me!’ I yell, but my words are lost in the silence of nothingness. An endless scream, a figure trying to swim upwards, drowning further with each passing second.
They love him, they adore him. ‘No!’ I scream. ‘He’s stolen my identity! I’m me! He’s not me!’ The screams fall on deaf ears. He’s got them in a spell, they can’t think straight. They see him, and not me.
Finally, I gather up all my courage and walk up to them. I look him in the eye and punch him across the face. The laughter stops for a second. For just a second, everyone looks at me. They see me. Not him.
And then he starts speaking again, and the laughter begins again. One by one, everyone turns back to him, until no one is looking at me.
Heartbroken, dejected, I go back home, to where I know he will return at the end of the day. The hours go by in silence, rage suppressed by sadness.
Finally, the door opens and in he walks. We look at each other for the longest time, and then I close my eyes and let the tears flow down my cheeks. When I open my eyes again, he’s gone. There’s only me. The one no one sees. As I stare into the mirror, into my tired, melancholy eyes, I am reminded once again of the simple truth I realized a long time ago.
We are our own doppelgängers.