I’m serious about this.
You know the legend of the Doppelgänger, right? A mysterious double of you, and when you meet it, you die. But what happens to the Doppelgänger after the original human dies?
I’m concerned about this, because I think I’m the duplicate, not the original.
Let me back up a minute, here. For years, I’ve said I have a Doppelgänger around here somewhere, because I’ve often been mistaken for someone else, particularly in stores. One time I went into a hardware store with my brother, and a salesman came up asking how the fridge he sold me had worked out. I told him I’d never bought a fridge from him, and he insisted that I had, a mini-fridge for the teacher’s lounge at a local high school. I assured him he was mistaken, but my brother and I were both freaked out by it, because it was the high school my brother had attended.
Now, that was years ago.
And since I started wearing braids in my hair, the incidences of people mistaking her for me began to taper off.
Then I went swimming on Monday at the Y. It was an unusual time for me to be there, and I was stupidly trying to swim laps in the open swim lane (forgot there was one of those at the time) and this guy who was just hanging out in the open lane suddenly started talking to me as if to an acquaintance, and while I was standing there being confused, he said “You don’t remember me, do you?”
Well, I honestly answered that without my glasses on, I couldn’t see a thing. I literally wouldn’t have recognized him even if I did know him. (Seriously, all I saw was a human-shaped blob.) And since he hadn’t made it clear where he thought he knew me from, there was always the possibility I’d taken a class with him, y’know?
But no, he thought I was the person who had taught him how to swim. I barely even remember how to do the various strokes anymore (I keep meaning to take some refresher lessons), and I certainly never taught them to anyone else. After explaining that I wasn’t who he thought I was, I did comment that I have a Doppelgänger around here, and how people are always mistaking me for her.
And in laughing about that…he mentioned her name.
And it’s the same as mine.
She and I not only have the same face, but we also have the same first name.
Admittedly, I just looked it up, and my name was pretty popular all through the ’70s. (In the Top 30 most years.) So it’s not at all weird that there are other women about my age with my name. But for them to also have my face? And considering I’ve sometimes talked to these people at some length without them realizing their mistake, she must also have a voice very similar to mine.
Therefore, one of us must be a Doppelgänger of the other.
And she’s a teacher, someone who touches a lot of lives. (Though it sounds like she’s no longer at my brother’s alma mater.) Meanwhile, I’m a near-hermit who avoids other people like the plague. So if one of us isn’t real, it’s obviously me.
But if I just met someone at the Y who learned to swim from her, then she might be a member at the same Y. And even if she isn’t, the encounter being so extended surely indicates that she and I are getting close to meeting.
So what’s going to happen to me after I fulfill my purpose as a Doppelgänger and my appearance before her eyes heralds her end? Am I just going to wink out of existence?
And am I supposed to be okay with that? The idea that it’s okay I’ll be causing her death, ’cause I’ll cause my own at the same time in a supernaturally imposed death penalty?
Because I am totally not.
I don’t want to disappear, and I sure don’t want to cause anyone else’s death, either.
But if I’m a Doppelgänger, do I even have a choice?
I’m seriously freaked out about this.