We haven’t officially met. We probably never will. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know him.
Because I did know him, once upon a time. A time of lost boys and girls chasing what they thought were their dreams, listening to alcohol-infused lullabies, curled up with their pill-shaped blankets and promiscuity pillows.
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Jack came home late a few weeks ago ranting and raving about how he just had to stay for a few more drinks, because he had met himself. His former self. The person he was when I first met him, in someone else’s body. Ironically, the former him was in love with a former me, too. I imagine she was blonde and busty.
But Jack didn’t pay much attention to her. The only information he could give me on me-from-the-past-in-the-present was that she was busy getting drunk and spending all her time with other guys (and girls). Sounds about right.
So while doppelgänger-on-the-inside me was being a cold-hearted bitch, Jack was enthralled with trying to convince doppelgänger-on-the-inside him to not make obvious upcoming mistakes. (Like me. Gee, thanks.)
The stranger was 22 when Jack met him. When Jack was him, he was 18. Several years’ difference; the same life at different ages, through different people. I must have gotten to Jack sooner than doppelgänger me got to doppelgänger him.
Because that’s when everything changed for Jack. Maybe the stranger still had hope. And that’s why Jack had to stay out so late — to somehow make him realize. To save his past-self-doppelgänger from turning into his present self.
I don’t know this doppelgänger’s name. But I know Jack’s name (obviously) and imagine his past-self-in-the-present had another generic name. Like Mike or Dave. Or Gavin (because even though it’s so not common, face it — it is). Or Jacob!
I don’t know this boy’s physical features or his style, other than being short and skinny — knowledge passed on to me. But I do know what Jack looked like 6 years ago, when he had the same personality and mind of this stranger. (But is he a stranger, really?)
I met Jack through a mutual friend of a mutual friend. Both mutual friends were self-absorbed “cool kid” users/players/whatever-term-you-kids-use-today. Jack wasn’t. Both mutual friends haven’t changed much. Jack has.
He looked like he tried too hard. I suppose my group of friends took to the “hipster” look, but back then it was called “emo” (though we still rebelled against that particular stereotypical label). So he joined in with skinny jeans and band tees, dyed black hair with bangs swooping over his eyes, brand-name skate-couture sunglasses and watches and shoes, pea-coats and hoodies and beanies.
I’m not sure if he had the same style before he came to us. Probably to some extent, but I don’t think he cared about it as much until we ransacked his world in all of our shallow glory.
I imagine Jacob looked similar. Times have changed a bit, so maybe his hair was shorter and undyed and his clothes were thrift-store-chic instead of designer, and maybe he wore glasses instead of contacts, but no matter how a certain style changes over the decades, it’s still the same if you look hard enough. Know the signs.
Like the body language. And the eyes. The clothes are simply a distraction from the truth. But you’ll learn the truth if you study the body language. And the eyes.
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