Friday, 7 October 2016

Seeing double

I'm sitting in yet another coffee shop, measuring out my life in coffee spoons as it were, when I see the unmistakable back and posture of a dead friend.

She's a slim redhead, hair pulled back in a high ponytail, checked top, white trousers, sandalled feet, standing by a stroller.

Only, my friend died six months ago, mourned by her three university-aged sons.

I remember the first time this happened. I was a university student myself, running some sort of errand in downtown Victoria when another redhead strolled past me, and I thought: Oh, there's Pete. Then I started, my heart hammering against my ribcage. Pete had been dead for five years.

I see doppelgängers of the living, too. Last summer, I had to physically restrain myself from calling out a greeting to a curly-haired Bohemian with the flowing edges of her floral skirt dancing around her young ankles, because her double is now an elementary school principal, whose ankles are decidedly mature.

Change and loss. They are always with us, as are, it seems, our dead.

I gaze at the familiar back from my corner in the café, and find myself battling tears.

She can't see them.

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