Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

Like all gothic novels, my story wouldn't be complete or even half as interesting without my alter ego. My foil. The strange character that you never really quite figure out if they are real... or another manifestation of the protagonists mind... The Tyler Durden character.

I met mine when we were very young children. Our roles were established almost from day one. She was the risk taker and the extrovert. I covered for her and egged her on. We were the same age, same stature, same artistically dramatic flair. Many times over the years we successfully posed as sisters to the unknowing. We may decide to do it again sometime.

Our relationship was tumultuous from the beginning as our mothers were close friends. I was compared to her, she felt like she was competing with me.

The crux of this story happens during our teenage years. At some point between 9th and 10th grades we had a falling out. My interpretation is that our competitive natures and teenage girl hormones got the best of us. We stopped talking almost entirely which left a staggering void in my life. We had been nearly inseparable.

She was accepted into a High School of the Performing Arts in a Southern city I had never heard of and went to live there and finish out high school. I was frankly glad that she was gone. I imagine that most people don't know what it's like to live life with a living alter ego... the competition was brutal.

I continued a blissfully singular life on my own after that. I got reports through the Mother-vine that she was living the life she'd been dreaming about; performing and experimenting and partying.

I had an odd experience while sleeping one night. I "dreamed" that I woke up and was frozen in place, unable to move. At that time I didn't know much about lucid dreaming, but now I know that must have been the state I was in. I was firmly in my body, but unable to move. Standing at the foot of my bed was a large dark shadowy figure. Not moving or speaking; just standing. I could not see his features or what he was wearing. He was literally a shadow figure.

I wasn't afraid until I realized that I could not move. Then I panicked and "woke up".

It was around this time that I got a stereotypical sense of foreboding. Specifically about her. It was unnerving because I was very glad to be rid of her at the time. I talked to my Mom about the feeling and she encouraged me to write her a letter explaining that I was worrying about her...

I did indeed write that letter. It began "It's me. Don't be too surprised." I put it in the mail on a Friday afternoon.

On Monday I was coming home from school with my dear friend Sara who is endlessly silly and sweet. I mentioned that I had sent the letter and expressed some regret and worry that it wouldn't be well received on the other end. I walked into my house and into the dining room where I met my mother with an odd look on her face holding out an envelope.

It had come from her to me. Sent on the same day. The same opening line, written in her crazy handwriting... "Don't be too surprised it's me!!"

To be continued in The Stranger At the Foot of My Bed...

(photograph by Richard X. Thripp)

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