Search This Blog

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Doppelganger

 Today I saw a face from my past, and I ran. Not immediately, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, but as soon as I could, I ran. Everything about him was so horrifically familiar: the long, lank hair, the greasy face with dark, mocking blackheads, the beak-nose. And still he sniffled. Oh how it sets my nerves on edge. It was the sniffling which did it: the long, snotty gasps to keep the infested scum within the hollow, addled skull; each one a reminder of the snorted powder presently decaying the Emmental brain, the skull and the blackened teeth.  clothes didn’t help either. I mean, no good student dresses like that. ‘That’ being the oversized brown leather jacket, hanging limp from underfed shoulders. He pulled an outdated, equally oversized laptop, from a bag which no student would carry, not even ten years ago. And he sat in my library, in my university, as brazen as you like typing away without a care in the world, sniffling, snorting and tapping those keys like the uneducated, half-wit he will always be. I should say, the dangerous, sociopathic, uneducated, half-wit that he is.


My head told me to hang tight, not to panic, that this was not what it appeared to be. I could feel the crushing pressure on my ribcage as my heart threatened to explode. Every muscle tensed, I breathed calmly as I attempted to sneakingly steal glances as this monstrous intrusion into my now calm, relaxed and peaceful life. I continued to seek the answers to the many forms of the Latin subjunctive, as I meditated on how best to deal with this terrifying spasm in my otherwise contentful day. I went out to the toilet, his hair was thicker than I had expected it to be, even ten years ago he was thinner on top than that, but I couldn’t get a proper full frontal look at him. Ten years is long time, but surely hair does not thicken, although the intelligence can.

I have come a long way in those ten years. In the beginning I shook with fear, but I employed that same shaking to shake my life up and create a new world for myself and my baby son. I found us a safe haven to live in, I found him a great playschool, we were soon surrounded by some wonderful people who made our lives so much more enriched. As he began school, I began my long journey into the academic world, thanks only to one person, my good friend Emma, who insisted that I do a course with her in the local tech. I hated the idea of spending a year doing Childcare, for me there is no greater horror than being lumped with  a room full of unruly toddlers, but nonetheless she insisted and so I began. As the year I have come a long way in those ten years. In the beginning I shook with fear, but I employed that same shaking to shake my life up and create a new world for myself and my baby son. I found us a safe haven to live in, I found him a great playschool, we were soon surrounded by some wonderful people who made our lives so much more enriched. As he began school, I began my long journey into the academic world, thanks only to one person, my good friend Emma, who insisted that I do a course with her in the local tech. I hated the idea of spending a year doing Childcare, for me there is no greater horror than being lumped with  a room full of unruly toddlers, but nonetheless she insisted and so I began. As the year progressed I began to realise that it wasn’t so bad to be in school again and we settled into a new routine. We have always had a wonderful momentum, my son and I. We work well as a team, and it all began back then.As time progressed I did more and more PLC courses, until the course coordinators began to question why I had not moved on up to higher academia. I was tested in that time and told that my IQ put me in the top 3% in the country – and since only 4% have PhD’s, I was told, there was no reason why I too could not have one quite easily. I bit the bullet. I moved from my safe zone, where I knew I’d never be found, right into the heart of the most calm and cultured city in Ireland, and I loved it. I also got into university there and so began a whole new chapter in my life. We loved it, my son would come to lectures in the afternoon and soon knew all the lecturers and tutors by name – they knew his name before they knew mine! My campus became my playzone; I came here to live, to love and to learn.progressed I began to realise that it wasn’t so bad to be in school again and we settled into a new routine. We have always had a wonderful momentum, my son and I. We work well as a team, and it all began back then.As time progressed I did more and more PLC courses, until the course coordinators began to question why I had not moved on up to higher academia. I was tested in that time and told that my IQ put me in the top 3% in the country – and since only 4% have PhD’s, I was told, there was no reason why I too could not have one quite easily. I bit the bullet. I moved from my safe zone, where I knew I’d never be found, right into the heart of the most calm and cultured city in Ireland, and I loved it. I also got into university there and so began a whole new chapter in my life. We loved it, my son would come to lectures in the afternoon and soon knew all the lecturers and tutors by name – they knew his name before they knew mine! My campus became my playzone; I came here to live, to love and to learn.

And then he walked in.

My world crashed and crumbled and I could not breath. My son was not old enough yet. If he forced access on him, we would have no choice but to comply. The thought of it set my nerves on edge, my son had spent years begging for a new daddy and I’d failed him, my failure meant he had no protection which a marriage and adoption would have provided. I couldn’t get a good look at him, but he was so horrendously familiar in his unfamiliarity that I could not escape my absent heartbeat. And yet I remained deathly calm throughout. My breathing remained even, as my brain screeched a marathon around the loud echoes of my skull. I needed to leave, but I needed it to look natural, so I waited, and waited. I would not look directly at him, I would not acknowledge he was there. After forty minutes dangling my feet over the precipice I finally, calmly, packed my books and laptop, I put on my coat and hid my keys in my pocket – just in case! Slowly I exited the room, first stopping into the assistants office to ask her to check the chap’s identity, and then I left. I walked calmly from the library, down the inner stairs, pass the book shop, the copier room and the reading room. Each step was measured precisely, I would not stumble. If he was behind me, he would not see me stumble, he would never see my fear, I would kill him with my bare hands first.

The sunlight struck me as I exited the building, reminding me that life was in fact beautiful out there, but it tasted like vinegar. Calmly I sucked in the crisp spring air as I darkly realised that I would kill him. It was a fact which I had realised before I’d dumped him all those years ago. It was that reason I had done so, not for love of him, but for love of my son who needed me.  It was a feeling I thought I’d put to bed many moons ago. Yet here I was, walking in the bright December sunshine, contemplating the overarching strength of a mother’s protection. I would kill him. It was a fact. I would not stop until he was dead. The resolve sat like unchewed food in my gullet. I knew that it would never be removed, no law of God or man would change it. I would kill him. With my bare hands, I would take him down and I would kill him. My son was old enough to remember me, he was old enough to understand. I needed to protect him no matter what and hiding him had not worked. I had failed to protect him as completely as he needed, I had not given him the security of a proper family, with a real dad and siblings, but in this I would not fail him. I would protect him in the most ultimate way, I would terminate the threat.

I climbed into my car, locked the doors and finally took a long, measured look around to see if he had followed me. He hadn’t. So I gunned the engine, and in the words of Meatloaf, I got out of there ‘like a bat out of hell!’ And that is when I lost it. I could not hold it in any longer. As I drove past the cathedral I found myself screeching the most silent tears that have ever burned my cheeks. A torrential fire rose up and spewed violently from my mouth, I could not contain it. The fear had been doused in the petrol of my tears and like an untamed spark, my anger combusted and ripped through me like an inferno. He had left me with no choice but to rip my own life apart and I was taking him with me!
It was by the grace of God that I arrived home, too early, in one piece. He had fecked up my study pattern and for that alone he would pay a severe price. No one and nothing was permitted to disrupt my education, no one of course apart from my son, but then he is part of me and I him, so he will always be a someone to me. The cramps riddled my body as I writhed in an auric pain which seized me, ripping my entrails from my pelvis and thrashing my peace to smithereens. I was possessed, and I was the demon possessing me. My parents spent hours consoling, cajoling and listening as I screeched and ranted on the phone, until eventually I had to collect my son from school. As suddenly as my mask had disintegrated, it reappeared on my face, my heart, my fear, my anger and my life as I left the house to wrap my son in the reassurance that his life was as perfect and untouched as it had always been. He does not remember the fear and I will never have him do so.  I thrusted it into my Pandora’s box to once again store it in the dank, forgotten cave deep within, extinguishing the infernal fire. In the furore and the aching aftermath I did not notice that Hope had escaped the lid when I shut that jar. She followed silently as I began to pick up the saturated fragments which I had strewn around my idyll.


I have not seen him since. Touch wood.

1 comment:

  1. he will get his comeuppance pretty soon!!!! yay! and i will be there to see it! loving it!
    xxx

    ReplyDelete